According to a study of graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University men are eight times more likely to negotiate compensation than women.
Failing to negotiate as little as $5000 more in initial salary can have far-reaching consequences.
It might not seem like much, but when you consider that every 3 percent raise is built on your previous salary, you can see how quickly this little oversight costs you money. Big money over the course of a 30-year career!
In an example from Linda Babcock’s book, “Ask For It,” a 22-year-old woman graduating college who fails to negotiate a one-time increase of $5000 in starting salary stands to earn nearly $800,000 less by the time she retires at 65 than her male colleague who took the plunge and negotiated.
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The truth is, if you don’t ask, you won’t get.
When I suggest that a client negotiate, the first question is often, “What is they rescind the offer?” Highly unlikely; employers expect to negotiate compensation at every level with the possible exception of entry-level positions. If you don’t negotiate the employer may believe he is over paying you.
Here are some tips for negotiating.
Get out of your own way. Don’t second-guess your experience or talk yourself out of negotiating. Negotiating compensation is not confined to asking for more money. You can negotiate benefits, perks, an office rather than a cubicle, additional time off. The list is nearly endless. Having said that, you can’t expect to negotiate everything every time.
It is impossible to negotiate if you are clueless about the market value for your skills and experience. Do your homework; many professional associations conduct biannual salary surveys and make them available to members. Talk to colleagues and check online salary surveys.
Develop your rationale for the higher salary, unusual perks or additional time off.
You can only negotiate on the basis of worth. An employer doesn’t care what you “need” to make; that is not his problem. I recommend sharing with the hiring manager a list ways you add value to the organization beyond the general position requirements. You must demonstrate what’s in it for the employer or plan on having a very short negotiating conversation.
With the facts in hand, define your negotiating strategy and identify your must-have’s, nice-to-have’s and walkaway point. Develop multiple approaches for getting what you are worth. It could be an hourly or annual salary increase; a sign-on bonus, early performance and salary review, extra time off or paid attendance at a professional development conference. Be creative!
Set your goal
Once again, women tend to set the bar low — get out of your comfort zone. Ask for more; after all you can always negotiate downward. Expect some pushback; if the answer is a quick yes, you didn’t ask for enough!
What you ask for is important, but so is when and how you ask. Consider how to introduce your request and practice aloud in advance. Consider roleplaying with a trusted colleague or video taping yourself. Very few of us are skilled enough to simply “wing” something as important as negotiating salary.
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© 2015 Mary Jeanne Vincent. All rights reserved.