QDo you have any advice for women negotiating their salaries upon entering or once they have entered the work force?

answered February 25th, 2013 by Patti Croft

When I took my first job, I happily accepted whatever salary I was offered, thrilled to be receiving a regular paycheck! Ideally, it would help to know what the industry standard or benchmark salary for the position is. But I don’t think this information is readily accessible unless you know someone who works in human resources and is willing to share, and often times the figure may not be truly representative. But you certainly should do some research to try and discern what a reasonable expectation for your starting salary would be. Often times, there is a range set out for a starting salary. My experience has been that smaller companies are more flexible while larger organizations are quiet rigid in adhering to salary guidelines. Be sure and inquire about total compensation – are you eligible for a bonus, profit sharing or benefits such as subsidized fitness memberships, education or other perks that may help augment the base salary.


I would also urge people to not be afraid to negotiate, to aim high but to be flexible. I often just accepted what I was offered but quickly learned this is a two way conversation – don’t be afraid to ask but do be prepared to back up your request with facts and figures as to why you should be paid the amount in question. If you have a figure in mind and are committed to it, you must be prepared to walk away if the offer is less than you hope for.


Once you are in the work force, be sure that you have a performance and compensation review with your supervisor at least once a year. If you are seeking an increase in your level of compensation, ask your supervisor to outline what would be required for you to receive additional monies – don’t allow them to be vague. This will allow you to come back to these requirements at review time,  armed with ammunition to ask for a raise.


One piece of advice – do not share your salary/bonus information with your colleagues. People do this all the time but I think it does much more harm than good. It is human nature to compare ourselves to others but there will always be inequalities in pay in the workplace – it is up to management to deal with these over time. Don’t worry about how much so and so is making – focus on your own performance criteria to secure an increase in salary going forward.


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