By Kelley Holland
Do you quail at the thought of asking for a raise? Feel daunted by heading back into the job market and having to negotiate your pay? You’ve got a LOT of company.
Negotiating Your Salary
Women have high levels of anxiety when it comes to salary negotiations, and they shy away from negotiating much more than men. A survey by Glassdoor found that 68 percent of women took the salary they were offered with a new job, compared to 52 percent of men – a 16-point difference.
Not only that, when women do ask for more money, they are less likely than men to get what they ask for. One study of MBA graduates in the 1990s found that women who negotiated got 2.7 percent more, compared to 4.3 percent for men.
That said, negotiating your salary upward, especially at the beginning of your career, can make a massive difference in your lifetime earnings. Patricia Gallagher, a professor at Drexel University, calculated that if women negotiate ONCE at the beginning of a 50-year career in which their starting salary is $50,000 and negotiate 2.7% more than they would have been paid otherwise, they could earn an extra million dollars. Yes, seven figures.
Developing Your Negotiating Skills
With that in mind, it’s excellent news that the American Association of University Women will this summer unveil a salary-negotiation online workshop to help women close the gender pay gap. A briefer skill-building exercise called “It’s Negotiable: Salary Skill Builder” is already available online – and if you don’t need it yourself, consider sharing it with the high school and college women you know who are looking for summer jobs.
The Skill Builder will help you focus on your accomplishments and enable you to specify your value to your employer. It also includes tips for deflecting questions about your last salary – questions that can really trip up women who have been underpaid in the past. (Employers are not supposed to ask these questions, but we’re talking real world here.)
So go ahead, pull up the Skill Builder, and start tallying your worth. Even if you’re not in salary negotiationis it may make you stand a little taller and feel a bit more confident. And whether or or not we’re discussing our pay, a dose of chutzpah never hurt anybody.