A few weeks ago, I met some female friends for dinner. It was a last minute thing and was a miracle those five friends who hadn’t seen each other in over a year were able to pull it off. Conversation included the usual, the non-stop snow Boston had been receiving; jobs; vacations; kids; husbands, and dating.
On the job front one friend got the courage to share salary information. A true taboo. She did not mention her actual salary but she shared the disturbing yet common lament that a male colleague who had fewer responsibilities was earning more than she. $30K more than she! We all shared her disgust and anger but none of us were able to come up with a solution.
This dinner got me thinking of a Bentley University dinner I attended a few years back. I was sitting with a VP of Human Resources who also was an alumna of Bentley. It’s unfortunate that I cannot recall her name but I will forever remember her. The dinner was an opportunity for female alums to connect with current female students. The goal was to help the next generation network and learn about careers. Well, this VP of HR shared that men always negotiate salary while women rarely do.
Thinking of the $30K salary difference and this comment regarding salary negotiations got a little fire lit inside me. So, I started researching. It’s true men do negotiate salaries while women don’t. It’s not an all the time thing. It’s just for every 1 woman who does negotiate her salary, 8 men will negotiate theirs. And the men will negotiate 30% more than the lonely woman. Now, I’m really on fire.
It’s a bit like the old joke of the man praying to his god asking to win the lottery. This man continues to go back to his place a worship praying for divine intervention for the money he needs for his long-suffering family. Finally, his god says, “I can only help you so much. You need to buy a lottery ticket before I can let you win.” Negotiation may just be the lottery ticket in close the final 20+% gap in women’s equal pay.
No matter what gains occur for women’s equal pay, women will never earn the same as men if we do not engage in the game of salary negotiating. Very few hiring managers offer the full salary available when they offer a job. They assume there will be some negotiating. If we women don’t acknowledge this than we have minimized our worth before we even have our first day of work.
I know I can’t fix the world. But I can help women get comfortable and informed about negotiating. After 20+ years in sales and marketing, I have become very comfortable and competent in negotiating. So, I begin this blog with the goal of helping women acknowledge they can negotiate their own salaries; learn how to negotiate; and become comfortable negotiating.
@ Copyright 2011, Katie Donovan. All rights reserved. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited