The New York Times is running a feature designed to help women negotiate for and receive a raise from their employer. Even in today’s progressive society in the workplace, women earn less than men for the same job, even after controlling for factors like time away from the workforce for childcare.
According to the article, women take a different approach to negotiation than men. There is a double standard in perception; men who negotiate for higher pay are seen as as strong or attractive while women in the same situation are seen as unattractive.
The division where I work is more matriarchal than most: most of the managers, directors, and vice presidents are women; I work with almost all women; and the men who I do work with seem less ambitious than the women. This seems to be an interesting role reversal, and I don’t see this in other divisions within my company. I am not privy to salary information, however.
Here are some of the better suggestions from the article.
The article suggests women be proactive and ask for a raise at opportune moments rather than wait for a boss to notice accomplishments. In my experiences, bosses may notice accomplishments, but if I don’t mention compensation, the topic would never come up.
In addition to speaking out, be prepared. In my company, every pay grade and every job function have base salary and full compensation market reference ranges. The low number of the range is supposedly the median salary (or full compensation amount) for the lowest-earning quartile while the high number is the median salary (or full compensation amount) for the highest-earning quartile. Your range pertains to people performing the same job in the same location across the industry. It’s unclear, however, exactly how the survey of compensation is conducted.
Beyond the company-provided data, it’s better to research the market with sites like PayScale and Glassdoor. While the information is likely not very accurate, and even with reaching thousands of people across the country there might not be a large enough sample, you might be able to determine if you are significantly under-compensated.
Know your audience when you negotiate. “Women are more likely to be successful if they explain why their request is appropriate, but in terms that also communicate that they care about maintaining good relationships at work,” according to the article. Consider the other person’s point of view and the company’s best interest. If you mention you have another offer from outside the company, this could make your boss defensive, and this approach could backfire.
In your workplace, what are the differences in approach between men and women, and what approaches tend to be successful in negotiations?
A Toolkit For Women Seeking a Raise, Tara Siegel Bernard, New York Times, May 14, 2010
Published or updated May 17, 2010.