Pay Equality- How to Negotiate for Your Future

We’ve all heard about the gender pay gap in the United States. Research suggests that on average women earn about 79 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts.  Likewise, women of color earn even less. This pay gap often starts during the hiring stage, when salaries are being set. While we might not be able to solve the crisis over the national pay gap, women can influence their earning potential by knowing how to negotiate properly when they are hired for a job. If you want to narrow your own personal pay gap, here’s what to say and do in order to earn the most money.

Know Your Worth

The most important thing for you to know is how much you are worth and what a man in the equivalent position is worth. This means you will need to do your homework.  Salary sites such as,, and are a good place to start.  You can also talk to someone in the human resources department to find out what the average salary range is for that position. It is important to know what the average salary is for people in similar positions. If you are negotiating a raise, rather than a new job, you need to have a good understanding of what you have contributed to the company. Make a list of accolades, awards, and achievements and be prepared to showcase your performance.

Know What to Say

When an offer hits the table you might be tempted to let out a big grin.  o this in your head and don’t let it show on your face.  Instead, simply say “thank you” and then ask for some time to consider.  Accepting right away could cost you a higher salary.  When you are ready to respond and you want to ask for more, you can do it by saying something like: “I’m excited about the offer but my research shows that this offer is a bit lower than average.”  Also, you can let the company know that theirs isn’t the only offer by telling them: “I would like to extend the courtesy to the other companies of telling them that I have an offer. I would do the same for you.” This will ignite a little more fire under the manager to entice you with a better offer. If you are looking for a pay raise, remember to consider your performance.  “As a result of my performance at the company, would it be possible to get a pay increase?” If they answer no, follow up by asking for feedback on what you need to do in order to increase your pay based on where you stand at the company.


Acquire More Experience

It is often assumed that women aren’t as assertive as men, but this gender stereotype is not necessarily true. The common belief is that women are more considerate and sensitive than men, and thus negotiate very differently. But, what would happen if a woman negotiated assertively for herself? It might take the other party by surprise to see a woman who can negotiate with such confidence. That said the only way to gain that confidence is to develop strong negotiation skills through practice. If you gain as much experience negotiating as you can, you just might impress your manager.