Women often tell me they are reluctant to negotiate in workplace situations if they do they normally ask for less or are likely to accept the first offer that comes their way.
Most often they lack confidence, they don’t want to come across as pushy or aggressive and they don’t want to get a bad name. They don’t want to be seen as the person who pushes back on a salary offer or asked for more money.
In this Quick Career Boost, I am going to show you the what and how of being confident and assertive about negotiation.
Being assertive means approaching the conversation as a win-win. This is one of the most important things I learned during my career in sales. For every negotiation with a customer, we wanted to come out with a win-win outcome.
When negotiating salary with your manager, a recruiter or an HR manager, you want to be assertive and get to a win-win outcome.
If you want to talk with me about how you can increase your salary and accelerate your career progress, book in for a 10-minute Power Coaching Call™ today. Click here to book a time directly in my calendar.
A client shared with me recently that self promotion feels really unnatural for her. She missed out on an opportunity that she had interviewed for. The recruiter provided her feedback saying that she didn’t have some of the skills or experience for the role she was going for. She felt really deflated when we caught up for a coaching session post this interview.
When I asked why she felt so down she explained to me that she did actually have those skills, what had let her down in the interview was that during the process she felt really awkward talking about her skills. She wasn’t able to talk about them in a way that the Hiring Leader and Recruiter really valued. She hadn’t been able to confidently market herself in the interview. The Recruiter didn’t think she had the skills and experience for the role because she wasn’t able to confidently market herself.
During a recent coaching conversation my client shared with me her frustration about some recent appointments in her organisation. She felt that three of the people who were recently appointed to senior roles were supported by people in executive positions. She found that unfair because she wasn’t experiencing the same executive support. I asked her what she was actively doing to gain her own executive sponsorship at which time she looked at me confused. She challenged me as to whether this should be her responsibility. I responded to her ‘If you want to accelerate your career progress, you need to take charge and gain the support of executive sponsors.’
One of the ways to connect with executive sponsors and gain their support is through networking. Various research tells us that 80% of roles are filled through networking, and much of that is through sponsorship. This means ensuring there are people who will sponsor you and tell someone else that you are the right person for a role. Sponsorship is invaluable to self promotion and career progression.
Women remain under-represented in senior roles and are often subject to a gender pay gap. Whilst some initiatives are being implemented on a national scale to reduce this imbalance, aspiring women must develop their foundational skills to ensure escalated career progression and salary acceleration.
In order to position themselves for promotion and increase their salary, women require more than just a wealth of experience in their field. They must also have the ability to negotiate their remuneration and work conditions; ask for development to achieve their career goals, and communicate on these areas assertively. During my corporate career I was able to confidently do this as I transferred the skills that I had learnt in sales negotiation, to negotiate for career advancement. I realised that negotiating wasn’t that difficult and it was made even more easy with effective planning.
Throughout my career in sales, before entering into a negotiation with a customer the sales negotiation team spent a number of hours pre-planning. This would involve sitting down as a negotiation team to talk about the outcomes that we wanted to achieve, what our hooks and leavers were, what was our plan for negotiation, how we would get to an agreement and more. A negotiation was approached with the aim of a win-win outcome. This meant approaching the negotiation conversation understanding what we wanted as an outcome and what the other party wanted as an outcome.
During a recent coaching conversation, a client was sharing with me that she had accidentally been sent the salary package details of a male colleague. He held an equivalent role to her, had similar years of experience and level of skill. She was horrified to learn that her salary was about $60,000 less than his salary.
During our coaching we were able to determine that throughout her 20-year career she had never negotiated her salary, she had always accepted the first offer when it was given to her and she didn’t really know what her salary should be.
Her story is not unique. Does it sound familiar to you? There are many questions that need to be answered here such as, how did her company allow this obvious pay gap to exist? Why wasn’t she offered the same salary to her male colleague if she was in an equivalent role with the same years of experience and level of skill?
After watching the film Suffragette, my teenage son asked me what it was about. When I shared some of the points of the story, he was shocked that women didn’t have a right to vote and that they were paid less than men, in the 1900’s. His jaw dropped when I told him that still to this day “on average full time working women are paid almost 18% less than full time working men” (1). He said, “That’s unfair!”. Those words were echoing in my ears long after the conversation with him. “Fair! Fair. Fair?” This situation is so obviously unfair.
The Suffragette Film was confronting in many ways. To see how women in the 1900’s were ignored, brushed-off, touched-up, victimised, used and segregated. Yet ordinary women, not necessarily heads of Government or CEOs, yes ordinary women, just like you and me could see that women could have a better life, that women could dream a new reality, they could be and feel happy. These women were courageous and brave. They realised that politicians and heads of corporations were not going to stand-up for them. They needed to stand-up for themselves. They banded together with strength and bravery for a common cause – that women deserved the right to vote.
At one stage in my corporate career I worked in the supply chain function of an FMCG company. This role taught me a lot about how to change expectations and behaviour for the long term. During this change the people had the same meaningful mantra as our 2016 Australian of the Year, David Morrison AO – “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept”.
In order to make change we all need to notice the standards we are walking past and accepting, as these are the standards that will become the norm. If we notice standards which are not acceptable, we need to have the courage to stop and voice our opinion about those standards, and what needs to change.
Are you aware of the staggering statistic that shows only 7% of women negotiate their salaries, versus 57% of men? This is a behaviour learnt early in life!
At home we have set up a system for our three children to earn weekly pocket money in exchange for completing a list of jobs. Of course, there’s a catch! Their jobs need to be completed without complaining, and without me or Peter nagging them to do their jobs.
Recently I read an article about the statistics relating to the gender pay gap. I felt the muscles in my neck tense, my breath tighten and a terrible sinking feeling – a knot in the pit of my stomach.
This is what I read, “On average, full time working women’s earnings are 17.1% less per week than full time working men’s earnings (a difference that equates to $262.50 per week)” (1). That’s $13,650 per year, which is about $600,000 less over a woman’s career!