Blog/Guides/A Woman’s Guide to Salary Negotiations and Job Opportunities

A Woman’s Guide to Salary Negotiations and Job Opportunities

Overall, women are paid less than men. Things are moving in the right direction, though, and women are better positioned to ask for higher salaries and better job opportunities than ever before.

The Gender Wage Gap and Negotiating Salary

With an increased focus on accountability, both at work and in one’s personal life, more conversation is focused on the gender pay gap.

The first discussions of the wage gap between men and women found that, on average, women earned about 77 cents to every dollar made by a man. Current statistics have found that women make about 81.4% of what men make in the United States. The average varies according to racial differences too.

One way to close the gender wage gap is to negotiate a higher salary. However, women may need to use different tactics than men in order to be successful. Women are taught to view their contributions at work differently. They are taught to speak differently, and they are viewed differently compared to men, which can make asking for raises harder. However, women can take certain steps to negotiate higher salaries successfully.

Top 5 Tips for Women to Negotiate Higher Salaries

You love your current job, but you are not being paid what you are worth. You want your salary to reflect your value, especially if it’s time for an employee evaluation, or you have successfully completed a large project that benefitted your team or company, but how do you approach negotiations?

Here are the top five tips to make negotiating a well-deserved pay raise easier:

women meeting at work
  1. Recognize negotiating as an asset. It is unlikely that your employer wants you to feel devalued, but many hiring managers will offer you at least $10,000 less per year than you are actually worth.

    If you are offered a job, especially one you are excited about, you do not want to appear ungrateful, but you can appear more confident if you ask for more money. Hiring managers appreciate your confidence, especially when you back it up with skills or contributions you have already made to the company.

    Women have a tendency to underestimate their worth, and the gender pay gap is part of this problem. If you know what your current employment history and education make you worth, be upfront with a potential or current employer.

    This is not the same as being greedy, overconfident, or hostile. You can be sincere and appreciative while remaining confident in your value.

  2. Gather information on your contributions. Never undersell yourself. Quantify your work by keeping track of your accomplishments at your current job, especially awards and recognition.

    If you have had a track record for good employee evaluations, make sure a copy of the positive comments are in your company record. If you went above and beyond for your job in recent weeks, worked longer hours, or found new resources, make a note of this. Track your personal improvement over the course of your time working there, especially if you have gone to training, conferences, or retreats.

    You are valuable to your employer, and you should know in objective terms what that looks like. This will also help you ask for more money.

    Studies have shown that women need to validate their requests for raises more often than men, but they are more likely to receive them when they back up their request with evidence.

  3. Research your market value in the industry. If you want more money, you need a specific dollar amount. Find out what the average person makes in your industry and ask for that at a minimum.

    If you think your skills, specific job requirements, or the cost of living in your current city constitute more money, decide what that number is with the industry baseline as the foundation. Consider finding out what men make in your position, and ask for that, especially if you work in a male-dominated field.

    Studies on gendered salary negotiations also show that, when shown objective evidence about pay scales in an industry, employers are more likely to give women raises so that they are on par with market rates.

  4. Consider nonsalary benefits too. What do you want a pay raise for? So you can go on nicer vacations? Would you be more interested in having more paid time off instead? Do you want the company to subsidize a gym membership, continuing education, or other benefits? You can ask for these rather than a raise if you intend to spend your new income on these benefits anyway.

    You can also ask for these if you request a pay raise that is turned down. Sometimes, a company cannot afford to give valued employees more money, but they can find other ways to help you feel supported and appreciated, like new or different benefits.

  5. Make the conversation about more than you. Research has shown that women have an easier time negotiating for pay raises for themselves when the request is tied to helping others. This is not about asking for more money for your family but instead asking because more income helps you be a more productive member of the team.

    When you ask for a pay raise, tie it to how your value benefits the team as a whole.

The Gender Wage Gap Is Also Caused by Gendered Jobs

Because women have traditionally been viewed as caregivers, many female-dominated forms of employment involve caregiving.

These 10 careers are female-dominated:

  1. Veterinarians
  2. Natural sciences managers
  3. Pharmacists
  4. Public relations and fundraising managers
  5. Graders and sorters, agricultural products
  6. Animal trainers
  7. Bakers
  8. First-line supervisors of personal service workers
  9. Opticians, dispensing
  10. Writers and authors

These fields require a great deal of skill and training but tend to involve working with specific individuals to help them in some way. Men who work in these fields are less likely to make more than their female counterparts.

In contrast, these 10 careers are dominated by men:

  1. Ambulance drivers and attendants
  2. Personal finance advisers
  3. Web developers
  4. EMTs and paramedics
  5. Computer and information research scientists
  6. Biomedical and agricultural engineers
  7. Brick, stone, and block masons, and iron and rebar workers
  8. Actuaries
  9. Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics
  10. Information security analysts
woman leading a meeting

These sectors are changing, however, and becoming more gender-balanced. More women are entering computer science and finance fields, while more men are seeking traditionally female-dominated work like nursing and teaching.

Women seeking work in male-dominated fields need to learn tough salary negotiation skills to ensure they are treated fairly. As the gender balance in all sectors changes, the pay gap should begin to lessen.

If you’re looking for a job to meet your salary needs, consider checking out the thousands of job openings on Joblist. We’re confident that you’ll find something that catches your eye.

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