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

answered March 11th, 2013 by Dr.Nancy McInerney-Lacombe

Upon entering the workforce – be prepared, be prepared, be prepared. Talk to as many people as you can in similar roles with similar education and experience about salary ranges. My strategy was always to have a second offer in my pocket but job markets are tighter now. Twice I took the lower offer but very gently was upfront that while I had another offer at a higher salary with similar benefits, I really wanted to work for this company – which was true. In both cases, they upped their offer to not quite as high as the alternative offer but very close. I think they were testing my sincerity. Yes, both companies did ask what the higher offer was and from which company. In both cases, the offers were from major competitors. Remember; don’t just look at the entry salary. Ask about opportunities for promotions, salary increases, options, share plans, insurance and pension. It all matters. Compensation packages can be very different. Do your homework and ask questions regarding those issues that are important to you.


When already in the workforce – understand the salary ranges; where you are placed in the range; how long it should take to reach the upper limit. This will tell you roughly what the raises should be. Remember your boss has a pool of money for salary increases and has to juggle between you and your colleagues – you want to make sure you get your fair share – no more, no less. Normally I was totally satisfied with salary increases. I had one problem situation where my boss had a number of new hot shots on the team that he wanted to impress with a good raise. I had returned from maternity leave in the past year to a great job and I think he felt that he could short change me because we had worked together before, we trusted each other and after all, I should be grateful I was on his team again. HE WAS WRONG. When he showed me the number, I started to laugh. Remember, I knew this guy well. I said (nicely); let’s book a new meeting for tomorrow morning at say 7 am. He hated early mornings. Now, he laughed. By the next morning, I had every deal listed, the pricing on each deal and had calculated what I had earned for the team. I simply said very calmly, if anyone on this team can beat these numbers, I would be very surprised. I got a fabulous raise and an apology – he had forgotten this and this deal and that and that pricing. The reality was he was busted but I just thanked him and said absolutely no problem. The message here is know your contribution and be able to defend it. More importantly, know your competition’s contribution even better.




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