We live in an era where women are going to great lengths to prove our worth in all fields, yet still earn 84 cents for each dollar our male counterparts earn. The glass ceiling has been shattered across sectors and we have our seat at the table, but does our pay reflect that? The woman who knows her worth and advocates for herself is bound to be respected and compensated fairly. On top of that, when one woman successfully negotiates her salary, she can set the tone for the women who will follow her.

You might negotiate your salary on several different occasions; for example, when you are accepting a job offer or when you are up for a promotion. Either way, salary negotiations are critical for landing an income that fairly compensates your work and for setting yourself up for future success. When thinking about negotiating a salary ahead of a promotion, here are some questions to ask yourself:

When was my last promotion or bonus? Is that consistent with market research?

How does my employer show that they value me?

Does my current salary fit my projected budget?

What amount should I be compensated for my time and skillset?

You see, salary negotiations start months ahead of when that raise hits your paycheck. Regular check-ins with your supervisor provide constant opportunities to showcase your worth and plant the seeds for the big ask. When starting your salary negotiations or negotiating a new job offer, keep these things in mind:

Know Your Value

“I want my boss to value my work - to value me,” one of my friends sighed as she wrestled with the feeling of worthlessness at work. She’s a brilliant woman with a lot of experience in her field, but she was running into a wall trying to understand why she wasn’t getting her well-earned raise. The truth is that she did not know her value. She accepted and completed complex assignments, but had self-doubt in presenting herself. That lack of confidence outshone her valuable work. If you don’t know your value, it’s hard to successfully advocate for yourself. Here are three ways to discover the value you bring to work:

  1. Keep tabs on your wins.
  2. Ask for feedback.
  3. Seek assignments that showcase your strengths.

Do Market Research

Entering salary negotiations equipped with job market research will place you at an advantage in your discussion. Several websites offer salary tracking for job titles within a certain geographic area. Otherwise, if you are considering a new job, you may want to check in with someone who previously held that role and ask them for their previous salary range.

Take the following factors into account when researching: education level, zip code, years of experience, and required skills.

Think Creatively

To attract and retain talent, employers are thinking outside of the box about the benefits they can provide. For example, some companies offer free childcare, tuition reimbursement, extra paid leave, or gym memberships. As Glassdoor career experts state, “Your salary is more than a deposit to your bank account: it’s how your company shows you that they appreciate your work and value you and your skills.”

If you’re comfortable with your income as it relates to your budget, can you think of any benefits that your employer could provide? Negotiating perks into your job offer is another way to ensure that you’re fairly compensated for your work. One benefit to be cautious of is a “signing bonus.” On the surface, they seem appealing, but this one-time bonus might not guarantee an ongoing promotional path with a raise.

When the time comes to make the big ask, try not to fear or stress about the outcome. If you know your value, have done the research, and considered your other options, you’re bringing your best self to the discussions. Whether you receive the raise or clarity on next steps to work towards one, making the ask will move you one step closer to your ideal salary and open doors for the women who will follow in your footsteps.

There is an urgent need to achieve real equality in every area: equal pay for equal work, protection for working mothers, fairness in career advancements, ... This is a matter of justice but also of necessity.”
- Saint Pope John Paul II, Letter to Women, 1995

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