5 tips for your next salary negotiation

ELFIN wants to help all women become financially independent. Making smart money moves, creating passive income and building capital. When it comes to these things salary is a key pillar. Earning more means more money, more independence and simply more left to save and to invest. But unfortunately it’s a fact that women still make a lot less than men. Hugely generalized: we’re modest and also a bit reluctant to drive a hard bargain. That’s why we have 5 tips for your next salary negotiation. Read, learn and negotiate more.

Startling: 14% less pay

Women in Europe on average get a 14% lower gross hourly wage than men. In a working lifetime this adds up to around €300.000 (!). 40% of women in the Netherlands for example aren’t financially independent, which means that their net income is less than €950 per month. This is partly because women more often tend to work in industries that pay less, but even after taking into account 20 factors, an ‘inexplicable’ difference remains of 7% in the corporate sector and 5% in the state sector. This discrepancy can, among other things, be explained by differences in negotiation. Because even though women ask for raises as often as men, they are less likely to get what they ask for.

5 tips for your next salary negotiation.

1. Nothing ventured, nothing gained: everything is negotiable

Many people are reluctant to negotiate: after applying, writing cover letters, having job interviews you want nothing more than for it to be done. Just sign the contract and get to work already! Plus, shouldn’t you be thankful to have a job in the first place? The salary they’re offering is pretty good already, so what’s there to complain about? You don’t want them to think you’re greedy or dissatisfied, do you? And how to even keep a good relationship with your (future) boss if you start negotiating? All great excuses, but negotiating pays off and the moment you’re switching jobs is the perfect time to do it! When you apply for a new job, you can assume that the first offer you get is negotiable. 94% of employers is prepared to negotiate and they probably even factored it in, because they expect you to negotiate. Depending on the sector, this margin is usually between 5 and 20 percent. It’s always worth a try. Even if they say no, the fact that you already asked once before makes it easier to start the conversation again in a while.

2. Prepare well

Your boss or HR manager on the other side of the table is used to negotiating. They have certain questions and tricks they use all the time. For you, negotiating is probably a rare occasion. So it’s important to be well prepared. Get information from colleagues, friends and acquaintances. What’s a common salary for your position, both in your industry and in other industries? Ask around with both men and women, with both people in the same position and those a bit more experienced than you in order to make a good comparison. Think about which sum you’d like to arrive at and what’s important to you besides your salary. Perhaps you’d like to have more pension, days off or flexibility. Or maybe you’d actually prefer a different approach to your function?

3. Aim high

It’s in your favor to start as high as possible. But how much can you ask for? Most importantly, you should be able to explain why you deserve something. As long as you can substantiate that, you can aim as high as you want. And that’s often higher than you think. The higher you start, the higher the ‘anchor’ is for the rest of the negotiation. This is the baseline and all subsequent moves are compared to this first step. Does your first proposal get a ‘yes’? Maybe you’ve asked for too little.

4. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes

During a negotiation a lot of people are mostly concerned with themselves: how do I come across? How to have a good conversation? How to sound professional? We often forget the other person, even though taking them into account might be even more important. How much influence do they have? Can they decide to raise your salary or do they need permission from higher up? Also, think about the other person’s alternatives. How annoying would it be to them if you didn’t take the job after all because of failed negotiations? Or if you would leave your current organization having this much experience and being very hard to replace? And what’s really most important to the other person? Do they want to pay as little as possible, wrap it up ASAP or preserve the relationship as best they can? Consider what would make the negotiation successful to the other person and try to bet on that. That way you can even improve your relationship during the negotiation!

5. No is the start of a negotiation

Got a ‘no’? Don’t give up! ‘No’ is the start of a negotiation. Some negotiation gurus even say that it’s better to get a ‘no’ than a ‘yes’. So don’t get discouraged by a ‘no’, it’s all part of the negotiation game. Listen calmly, drop a silence and ask questions: why does the other party say no? Could anything be adjusted to turn this ‘no’ into a ‘yes’? And if it’s still a ‘no’, remember that a ‘no’ isn’t forever. It means ‘no, considering my current outlook’. And tomorrow or in a couple of months this could be all different!

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