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Five strategies for negotiating a fair salary

The gender pay gap is a pressing issue. For years it has impacted women's financial well-being and career advancement. In the UK, women earn approximately 15.5% less than men on average. The gap is even wider for older women and those in senior roles. Yes, the gender pay gap decreased to 14.9%, from 15.1% in 2021 but this progress is too slow for our liking.

It won't change overnight but women are not powerless in the face of this disparity. By equipping ourselves with effective negotiation strategies and talking to each other about salaries, we can take steps toward closing the gender pay gap and securing fair compensation for our work. After all, men have no problem doing it, do they?

Negotiation is a powerful tool to address the gender pay gap. Studies have shown that men are more likely to negotiate their initial job offers and subsequent raises compared to women. Which is why we are here to teach you the art of negotiating.

Let’s meet Emma. Emma, a marketing manager in London, was passionate about her work but felt underpaid compared to her male counterparts. She decided to take action by researching industry standards and preparing a compelling case for a raise. She organised a meeting to discuss her employment and during the meeting, she emphasised a series of successful campaigns she had led, which had significantly boosted the company's revenue. Her diligence paid off, and she secured a 15% salary increase, narrowing the gender pay gap in her workplace and advantaging her financially.

How do we become more like Emma?

  • Build a Support Network (and talk to them)

Connect with other women in your industry and share your experiences. You may think you are getting a good deal...until you speak to someone else. A supportive network that is transparent can help you understand how you get paid compared your peers, provide you with valuable insights and encouragement to get the cheque you deserve.

  • Know Your Value.

The famous phrase 'know your worth then add tax' is true. Whilst Emma knew she had delivered for the company. It’s important to conduct thorough research to understand your industry's salary benchmarks, how much other people in the industry get and compare yourself to this.

One way to know your worth is by knowing what you bring to the table, Whenever you have an achievement no matter big or small, it's important to log it. It’s also not solely core task achievements that should be noted down - if you have invested in yourself via training or led other colleagues, this is something to shout about. Logging your achievements (and the evidence to back it up) will help you realise everything you bring to the table, helping you to know your worth. Emma's success story demonstrates the importance of showcasing your achievements.

  • Make your achievements known

There’s no point having a long list of your achievements and no one knowing about them. In fact, those who communicate what they have done are often better placed for promotions and pay rises than those who do more but don’t share what they have done. Sharing your achievements will put you at the forefront of people's minds. So whether it’s a coffee catch-up with senior leadership every now and then or sending a weekly roundup email to your manager (check out our example here), communication is key. As an introvert myself, I get it - it’s a difficult thing to do. But if there is one thing that does help, it is practice.

  • Practice Makes Perfect

Practice your negotiation skills with a trusted friend, mentor or even in the mirror. Role-playing scenarios can help you feel more confident during a real negotiation. What makes a good negotiation?

1. Don’t underestimate the importance of likability (aka don't be a d!ck)

2. Help them understand why you deserve what you’re requesting.

3. Make it clear they can get you.

4. Understand the person across the table.

5. Understand their constraints.

6. Be prepared for tough questions.

7. Consider the whole deal.

8. Avoid, ignore, or downplay ultimatums of any kind.

9. Maintain a sense of perspective.

10. Remember, they’re not out to get you.

  • Timing Matters

Timing is crucial in negotiations. Wait for a performance review, a successful financial period within your organisation or a job offer to initiate salary discussions, as this is when employers are most receptive.

Statistics show that women who negotiate their salaries can increase their lifetime earnings substantially. A fair initial salary sets the stage for future raises, promotions, and financial stability. By understanding our worth, practising negotiation skills, and leveraging real-life success stories, we can take control of their financial futures, contribute to pay equity, and empower ourselves to excel in our careers.

Fempire Finance

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