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Conquering the Wage Gap

Violaine Galland
© Scotwork NA

Equal Pay Day, a time of the year when women in the workforce should set their sights on obtaining, by December 31, the same annual salary as their male counterparts. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it might seem. According to ACS census data, for every dollar a man earns, a woman earns just 80 cents. Why might this be so? A study conducted by the Levo Institute reveals that 63% of women are uncomfortable negotiating their salary; in fact, 58% of the same group would rather not negotiate on their own for fear of being perceived as “too authoritarian” or “too aggressive.”

With that in mind, how should women go about correcting — or, rather, conquering — the large wage gap that separates the sexes? If you see yourself reflected in one of these statistics, here are three tips to boost your confidence at the negotiating table:

  1. Be proactive. You’re entering into one of the most important meetings of your career with a specific goal in mind, so you’ll want to be as prepared as possible. “I spend more time preparing a presentation for a client than thinking about what I’ll say during my annual review with my boss,” one of my clients shared during a coaching session. Your first order of business is to organize your thoughts and clearly state what you want. Be precise, propose a number, then give your supervisor two or three reasons that help to justify your desired compensation increase. Finally, ask your supervisor for their opinion and let them respond.
  1. Be determined. If your proposal is refused — and it very well might be — stay focused, be determined. Prepare key questions and listen carefully to the answers. Ask them why it was denied and what you would need to do to get the raise you want. Can they define clear objectives? Above all, leave the door open for a follow-up conversation — preferably in the coming six to 12 months. You may not get what you want the first time, but that doesn’t mean the decision is final. Hearing ‘no’ does not necessarily mean the end of the conversation but rather the beginning of a conversation.
  1. Be courageous. Regardless of the outcome, negotiating your salary took courage. Even if you didn’t get everything you wanted, people will remember that you fought for yourself. They’ll have formed a positive opinion about you, which will place you at the top of the list once the budget loosens up in the next round of negotiation.

Ultimately, be kind to yourself. After this difficult meeting, give yourself a little treat, something to make you happy: ice cream, a visit to the spa  — a way of congratulating yourself for having been bold enough to do what 58% of your counterparts wouldn’t dare do!

Need support negotiating your next raise?  Contact us today or request a callback to speak with one of our consultants.

Violaine Galland
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