You Have A New Job And Deserve A Larger Salary - Now What?
Process Improvement & Security (ret)
May 21,2021 at 1:58PM UTC
Negotiating is uncomfortable for a lot of people. It seems to be especially difficult for women. We are naturally conditioned by society to be submissive and demure, but that doesn't do us any favors - especially in the workspace. Here is some advice that I have given many ladies over the last twenty years since I began my career, worked through management, and ended up in HR.
The big mistake most women make is undervaluing themselves. I tell everyone to find out what a single, forty year old, white man with comparable experience and education would make in your area. The pay gap is real! We need to celebrate differences, lift one another up, and amplify each others' voices whenever possible. If you can build a diverse, all female team - do it. I have and it was glorious.
Part of the reason we don't get equal pay is because we do not ask for it. We have been conditioned not to. My dad taught me at a young age that I was "better than the boys", so I found myself asking for raises when my female counterparts were simply afraid to take risks at one company after another as I strategically moved from position to position at one company or another, maximizing my career and earning potential while I left my peers behind. My salary started doubling theirs, then tripling, and I stopped keeping track.... Twenty years later, most of them are in their fifties and they still have not achieved the level of success that I had in my twenties.
If we don't have confidence in ourselves, no one will. The biggest mistake I used to see was people asking for additional money "because they needed it". Please don't ever tell anyone at work you need additional money. Tell them why you DESERVE it. You have obviously earned it or they wouldn't want to hire you! Go after it and reach for those stars! Tell them your worth.
Then, ask for things above and beyond that they can always say no to that they won't consider "an unreasonable ask". Here are some examples:
- If you are losing seniority with your current employer (we will call them Company ABC), ask your new employer (we'll call them XYZ) to adjust your seniority to the number of years you have worked at ABC. Then, you will presumably have vacation at the same rate that would have had if you had stayed with ABC. This doesn't sound like much, but it usually amounts to two weeks of vacation your first year which is rather substantial.
- You can also ask for flex-time. This is a huge benefit is you are a commuter and/or have children.
- You can ask to work 4/10's instead of 5/8's, so you will have one day a week off. They still have you the same number of hours, but you are free to run errands one day, sleep in, be lazy, clean your house, and not commute. It also saves them on utilities and they get to brag about saving the environment.
- Ask if you can continue to work from home after COVID. If you work from home or travel, they should provide you with a laptop and monitor (I love the big ones that fold up, so you can take them with you) as well as a bag to safely carry your tech in and IT Support. Once again, these sound like small things, but they add up quickly. You will save a ton on commuting and clothing alone. If it is someplace where you need to dress in business attire, you can save on dry cleaning as well.
- I always asked for two paid weeks off twice a year for continued education that pertained to my position at their expense. It made me better at my job, they were investing in me, it was free travel, and a great networking opportunity (I found other jobs that way as well).
- If they have tickets to local sports teams you like, ask to be one of the first considered. We hate to cook on Thanksgiving, so I used to always get tickets to the Cowboys game until I married a man with a mom that can cook. I had tickets to baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and NASCAR. They even gave me parking passes.
- Every position I worked in had an auditing component. Someone was reviewing our records, so not only can you negotiate a base cost of living increase and merit wage increase (twice a year, your first year if they low ball you - once at 90 days and the other with the rest of the company). The base COL should be 3-5% and I have seen merit increases from 5-25%. You can also ask for productivity bonuses for perfect inspections. If you reach any kind of measurable goal in your position, ask for a bonus for that as well. Be creative!
If you are feeling extremely confident, you can always pad your base salary ask by 5 to 10%. I would only do that if you know that you are their ONLY choice and they are desperate. You don't want to lose a great opportunity or start a new position on a bad foot. I was able to get one company to double my salary from the advertised/offered base because I knew what the person I was replacing made. If you know what is in their budget, you can use that to your advantage as well.
You've got this! Congratulations!
PS - Always ask for an Offer Letter and get any special terms and conditions in writing from someone that has the authority to make them happen.
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