4 Ways to Negotiate for Both Salary and Work-Life Balance in an Interview

women sitting across from one another in an interview

Edmond Dantès/Pexels

Profile Picture
Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
July 23, 2024 at 8:8PM UTC

It probably comes as no surprise that women and men both want better pay and benefits. But, as a recent analysis from Gallup finds, there are certain discrepancies in terms of exactly WHAT workers of different genders prioritize when it comes to their jobs.

The fall 2021 survey of 13,000 U.S. employees found that an overwhelming majority of women (66%) saw work-life balance as the most important factor when looking for a new job. Meanwhile, just 56% of men said the same.

Of course, when it comes down to it, chances are, you want both a high salary and a healthy work-life balance. So, how do you negotiate for both?

1. Research what the company typically offers.

First, it’s important to find out what a typical compensation package looks like at the company. Do they have programs that support wellness and work-life balance? What is the vacation policy like?

Try to find information from sources outside of the company resources. That’s how you can learn what benefits and policies look like in practice. For example, some startups offer unlimited PTO, but they may dissuade employees from actually taking vacation days in reality. 

If you know someone who works at the company, that’s probably your best source. You can also try review sites like Glassdoor and Fairygodboss.

Remember that just because something you want isn’t a typical benefit at the employer doesn’t mean you can’t ask for it — you simply want to know the baseline so you have a better understanding of the way the company operates. 

2. Consider what you need to achieve a positive work-life balance — and ask for it.

It’s said that benefits can make up to 30% of your overall compensation at an employer. It’s important for you to receive not just the money but also the tools you need to ensure your wellness (that’s why we’re here, after all!). 

Make a list of the types of benefits you need to support a work-life balance — for you personally. Examples might include:

• A health insurance plan that has coverage in specific areas (for example, fertility treatments)

• A certain number of vacation and personal days

• Gym and other wellness reimbursements

• The ability to work remotely full-time

• Summer Fridays

• Tuition and education reimbursements

3. Assess your priorities.

Be prepared to compromise to come to an agreement that suits both you and your employer — it’s called a negotiation for a reason. In order to prepare, consider what’s most important to you. For example, would you be willing to agree to a slightly lower salary in exchange for an extra week of vacation time? 

It’s important to understand your priorities before you head into negotiations so you can negotiate effectively and be fully satisfied with the arrangement.

4. Get everything in writing.

Once you’ve negotiated your compensation package offer, make sure you get it in writing. They should incorporate the terms you’ve discussed into your contract, which you will both sign. In addition, send the employer an email outlining the agreement, including the salary, all the benefits, and other forms of compensation you have discussed.

Ultimately, you can have both — work-life balance and the salary you deserve. It’s an employee’s market now, and it’s the right time to ask for what you want and need.


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

What's your no. 1 piece of negotiation advice — for both benefits and salary? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

Why women love us:

  • Daily articles on career topics
  • Jobs at companies dedicated to hiring more women
  • Advice and support from an authentic community
  • Events that help you level up in your career
  • Free membership, always