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Urgent:Salary negotiations for women?

July 7, 2016

I'm hoping to receive a job offer tomorrow or Friday. I'm in a typically well paid field, in a city where many companies in this field exist, my experience seems in line with what they are looking for and, not to jinx it, but I feel reasonably confident about how I performed during the hours of interviewing I went through. Additionally, one of the big, popular benefits does not apply to me (something like free steak lunch while I'm vegetarian, or free excellent child care even though I'm barren, that sort of thing, I'm being intentionally light on specifics).

Unlike every previous job, I've managed to sidestep the "how much do you make/how much do you want" question. I've let it be known that my general desires are to earn "market rates."

So, I'm in the process of researching exactly what market rates are. So no need to advise me to do that.

My question is: do you have any woman specific advice for the salary negotiations?

To quote an article:

As we practice it in the United States, negotiation is a man’s game with men’s rules.

At bargaining tables, women’s biggest obstacle isn’t that they can’t learn to be “more like men.” The real problem is that most people, men and women alike, don’t want them to be more like men.

The traits that both men and women associate with good negotiators are tied up with ideas of masculinity — such as rationality, assertiveness and self-assurance — rather than more feminine traits, such as emotionality and accommodation.

If women aren’t seen as tough enough at negotiating, why not just train them to “man up”? Unfortunately, even when they do employ traditionally male tactics, women still lose. Underlying our assumptions about what makes a good negotiator is the idea that it’s okay — even necessary — to aggressively pursue one’s self-interest when bargaining. It’s not a sign of being selfish; it’s what we expect. But we don’t expect it in women.

Researchers repeatedly have documented that people react more unfavorably to women who ask for more money, compared with men who do. A woman who negotiates is seen as especially demanding and therefore a less-than-ideal new colleague. In a series of controlled experiments in the 1990s, a Rutgers University study found that women risk being passed over for hire if they engage in self-promotion in job interviews, defying expectations of “feminine modesty.” More than a decade later, Harvard and Carnegie Mellon researchers found that the effect persisted, with women facing backlash when behaving assertively in negotiations. To be demanding in a business setting is to be unfeminine, unseemly, shrewish or worse. This body of research underscores a cultural truth: Women are expected to be warm, empathetic and unselfish.

What? There's biological differences between the sexes, and men don't like shrews? Say it ain't so!

Most information on negotiating seems to be for men, and most the information for women seems to be "don't be afraid to act like a man." I feel that there must be a better way. To achieve my goals via warmth, and the appearance of accommodation, rather than ill received stubbornness.

It's also possible I've completely overestimated my suitability for this job and my performance during the interview process, so this might not end up being an urgent request. Fingers crossed, though!!!

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Post Information
Title Urgent:Salary negotiations for women?
Author Lilia42
Upvotes 8
Comments 13
Date July 7, 2016 3:34 AM UTC (7 years ago)
Subreddit /r/RedPillWives
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[–][deleted] 5 points6 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

my tactic has always been:

  1. polite but firm

  2. pump their egos a bit

  3. give the impression that i've had other offers (even if i haven't)

  4. have a very clear idea of what the role is actually worth in my head

if they insist on getting a number out of you first, a good line that i've successfully used is:

"well, i understand the going rate for someone with my skills and experience is [some reasonable amount, times 1.5], but of course i would be somewhat flexible for a workplace with these kinds of perks. i just love the culture/benefits/whatever here"

when they low-ball me (they always do), i just smile and say that while i'd love to be able to take that, i just love the company and the role, i couldn't possibly when there have been offers at X.

i don't do the aggressive manly thing, but i make it very clear that i have firm expectations, and if they don't meet them i have other places that will.

good luck!

[–]Lilia42[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I like it! Wish I'd been a bit more complimentary during the interviews, hopefully I can fix that when I hopefully get a call back!

[–]VintageVee29f, engaged, together 2yrs 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link


[–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Placeholder. On the train. But I really want to comment


So my thoughts on salary negotiations as a woman. Forget that you are a woman. You are a person. You know your worth and your level of skill. you aren't asking for a salary increase from your significant other. You are asking for a salary increase/negotiation from an employer. Be professional. Be firm. My advice:

  • Wear business professional when asking for a negotiation in person (like a skirt suit); or use business professional language via correspondence. Never be casual, even if you know the person personally.
  • Check out the organization's tax forms to see what the highest paid individuals in the company are paid to know what to aim for. Example, at my job, I looked up the 990 of my 501c3 organization to know the ceiling of pay that I could ask for.
  • Always aim for 15-20% more than your MINIMUM request. However, never ask for more than what your supervisor would be making. It's an automatic no. This takes some digging to find out though. Estimate. Example: If my supervisor is making say....$100,000, then I know that I cannot ask for more than $80,000 for any position within her department because that's within 20% or less than what she makes. Understand?
  • Check out to see reviews of your company prior to your ask. If the company sucks and has high turnover, ask for more. Be confident in asking for a higher amount. If the staff stay on average around 5-7 years, then turnover is super low and you will likely not get a super high salary in comparison to others just for being there. Also, you can view the average salaries of folks in similar positions.
  • If they low-ball you (meaning they offer you what is less than market for your experience, education/training and/or skills, then walk. A decent employer would not low ball quality potential staff if they want to keep them around. Organizations that low-ball either are unsustainable longterm, have bad financials, or treat their staff like shit. If you have no other options or are new to the workforce, then consider it, but I would leave in 1-2 years. Personally.
  • The stronger your references, the more you can ask for. If your reference is Mary Sue from the PTA nearby, then you're probably not going to have as much power as if your reference is Secretary Arne Duncan or something. This is why I always tell people to have solid references when applying for jobs.

Granted, all of this from my own bias as I work in a super career-oriented east-coast metropolitan area. Feel free to email me if you have any other questions!

Best of luck!

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

When I have received job offers, the recruiter will often try to get you to open up the negotiations by asking something like "what are you salary requirements" or "what range of salary are you looking for". I just punt it back to them with this simple statement:

Well right now I am looking at the entire compensation package; medical; dental; vacation; as well as base pay. What are you offering?

I have yet to find a recruiter who will not then open up with a starting salary. You can then just tell them you will think about it and get back to them. Right now what I've done is priced out everything my current job offers. That usually gets me to gauge how good their offer is.

[–]Lilia42[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

That line seems perfect!

[–]littleteafox 2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Here is an article I've read before that was very interesting:

In repeated studies, the social cost of negotiating for higher pay has been found to be greater for women than it is for men. Men can certainly overplay their hand and alienate negotiating counterparts. However, in most published studies, the social cost of negotiating for pay is not significant for men, while it is significant for women.

The results of this research are important to understand before one criticizes a woman — or a woman criticizes herself — for being reluctant to negotiate for more pay. Their reticence is based on an accurate read of the social environment. Women get a nervous feeling about negotiating for higher pay because they are intuiting — correctly — that self-advocating for higher pay would present a socially difficult situation for them — more so than for men.

But here’s a twist: we love it when women negotiate assertively for others. It’s just when women are negotiating assertively for themselves — particularly around pay — where we find a backlash. Unsurprisingly, research also shows that women perform better (e.g., negotiate higher salaries) when their role is to advocate for others as opposed to negotiating for more for themselves. Men’s behavior and the ensuing social effects don’t shift much depending on whether they are advocating for themselves or others.

OK. So, we shouldn’t blame women for being more reticent than men to negotiate for higher pay. But, is there anything that women can do about it? Thankfully, yes.

The answer is to use a “relational account” — or what I have learned from Sheryl Sandberg to call a “think personally, act communally” strategy. Using a “relational account” or “I-We” strategy involves asking for what you want while signaling to your negotiating counterpart that you are also taking their perspective. So, how does it work?

First, you want to explain to your negotiating counterpart why — in their eyes — it’s legitimate for you to be negotiating (i.e., appropriate or justified under the circumstances). Sheryl says that in her negotiations with Facebook, she told them, “Of course you realize that you’re hiring me to run your deal team so you want me to be a good negotiator.” Sandberg wanted Facebook to see her negotiating as legitimate because, if she didn’t negotiate, they should be worried about whether they’d made the right hire.

Second, you want to signal to your negotiating counterpart that you care about organizational relationships. After pointing out that they should want her to be a good negotiator, Sheryl recounts saying, “This is the only time you and I will ever be on opposite sides of the table.” In other words, “I am clear that we’re on the same team here.”

In experimental research testing evaluators’ impressions of alternative negotiating scripts, we found that relational accounts helped women both get what they wanted and make the impression that they wanted to make. For instance, one successful relational account that we tested was very similar to Sheryl’s, but was written for a more junior employee: “I don’t know how typical it is for people at my level to negotiate, but I’m hopeful that you’ll see my skill at negotiating as something important that I can bring to the job.” Note that I’m not suggesting that women use these scripts word-for-word. Come up with an “I-We strategy” that makes sense in context and feels authentic to you.

When the explanation for why the woman was negotiating seemed legitimate, people were more inclined to grant her compensation request (as compared to when she was simply negotiating for a higher salary without that explanation). When her script communicated concern for organizational relationships, evaluators were more inclined to work with her. Indeed, there was no significant difference in the willingness to work with a female employee who negotiated using a relational account (“I-We” strategy) as compared to female employees who let the opportunity to negotiate for a raise pass. Variation in the negotiation scripts did not significantly influence the evaluations of male negotiators.

[–]Lilia42[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

If only I had a job where negation skills mattered!

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I'm going to echo what /u/littleteafox said about having another woman negotiate for you, but that doesn't seem to be the best option since you are only now first taking the job (it would be a great option for getting a pay raise by having a co-worker vouch for you).

From what I've always been told, when women don't have the option of having a co-worker vouch for them in negotiations, continue the negotiation, but with a different slant. Rather than saying why you deserve the money like a man would, explain why you are valuable to the team. How you would support the team rather than personal achievement is said to be better in salary negotiations for women.

Pretty much guys don't like when women are too braggadocious, but since support is considered a naturally feminine role, women can get away with putting the spot-light on that and using it in negotiations.

Good luck!

[–][deleted] [score hidden] stickied comment (3 children) | Copy Link

This isn't technically within the scope of the subreddit however it will be allowed because of the urgent nature. Users can give specific advice to /u/Lilia42 (who is a great contributor to this community) as well as discuss salary negotiations, career women, and whatever else is relevant to the general subject. Best of luck Lilia42!

[–]Lilia42[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy Link

Sorry it's out of scope, thanks for the exemption!

I just know that if I asked on /r/AskWomen or something I would get advice like, "wear a big hat to look intimidating, pick a salary you want and angrily state that you refuse to be disrespected by anything lower".

Hopefully any answers advice I get can help other women as well!

I haven't been continuing much recently, your kindness makes me want to get back into the swing of things :)

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

Lol well I hope that you get some realistic and effective suggestions from the women here! This is not my area at all so I can't do more than wish you well :)

[–]Lilia42[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Haha yeah, lots of domestic goddesses here who haven't had to deal with corporate BS in ages, but with today's world/economy there's probably a number of career gals here with suggestions.

The more I'm paid, the more I can save, and the sooner I can focus my efforts on what's really important :)

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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