08 Mar International Women’s Day 2018: Amy Landry “Gets in the Game”

international women's dayInternational Women’s Day is March 8, 2018 – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – and Equal Pay Day is April 10. NOLABA celebrates equitable growth in New Orleans with this column from Amy Landry, SHRM-CP, president of American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) Crescent City Connections and founder of her own business consulting firm Fuel Success Academy. In this column, she advises women how to “Get in the G.A.M.E.” and take charge of growing their careers in New Orleans. 

Get in the GAME: Salary Negotiations

2018 marks ABWA’s third annual Equal Pay Day celebration held on National Equal Pay Day (Tuesday, April 10). This unique celebration event was created for women to walk away with valuable skills and feel empowered to be part of the solution. The theme for the first year was “Build the Skill to Bridge the Wage Gap,” and the goal was to present the research on workplace negotiations and train on more effective ways to negotiate through a presentation called “Get in the G.A.M.E.” designed to inspire women to take charge in their careers. On this International Women’s Day, I’m sharing these insights:

G- GAIN KNOWLEDGE

Over the years of doing research and talking with women, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many women who have shared their salary stories with me – wins and losses. When I was talking with one woman about confidently sticking to your number, she shared her story that her dream job came available. However, it offered $8,000 less than what she needed to maintain her lifestyle. She unfortunately had to tell them no because she knew she needed more and would not be happy sacrificing the amount she believed she was worth.

The company at the time could not offer her more; however, within 6 months, she received a call that they had found the money and she was offered the job. Glad and relieved that she held firm, she was rewarded.

First of all, it’s up to you to be knowledgeable on the salary range, the potential salary maximum, and even the possible benefits – if you want to use any of that to your advantage.

There are websites like glassdoor.com or payscale.com that you can reference, or do an online search of similar posted jobs. Many career websites like Monster or Indeed will list salary ranges.

Knowledge is power when it comes to negotiation. If you show up unprepared, you start at a disadvantage. Know the ballpark range. Be smart about your salary request. Know your worth. Determine your salary number (or what benefits you need) such as flexible work arrangement, paid time off, telecommuting, etc., and be confident in it.

A- ASK

In a survey by salary.com, it was discovered that in business situations, women initiate negotiations four times less than men on average. And, this number is costing women. In fact, women sacrifice half a million for failure to negotiate during their careers.

In the same survey, when both men and women were asked to compare negotiation to a metaphor, men chose ‘winning a game’ while women chose ‘going to the dentist.’

This fear or self-doubt is ultimately keeping women on unequal playing field. Furthermore, according to Careerbuilder.com, 56% of people have never asked for a raise, and 49% of new employees accept the first offer they are given without negotiation. The salary may not change, but it is guaranteed to not increase if you never even ask.

In terms of salary negotiations, you want to be relevant. The best time to negotiate and increase your salary is in the beginning of employment once an offer has been extended. Many employers have wiggle room to negotiate before hitting the salary cap. If the salary is capped and they cannot offer more, then again be prepared to ask about paid time off, flex time, signing bonus, cell phone allowance, car allowance, relocation expense, childcare allowance…lots of options.

If the company really wants to hire you then they will be willing to work with you.

M- ME

Companies do not have a pay scale for men and a pay scale for women. Employers only care about one thing – the bottom line. They are in business to make money and turn a profit, so in that spirit, good business sense means I will pay you the least amount you’re willing to take to keep more money in the budget for other things.

Sounds harsh, but the good news is great companies do value top talent and are more than likely to be competitive with compensation. However, it is still up to you to advocate for yourself, which many women seem to struggle with, as demonstrated in a University of Texas experiment of salary negotiations, where men and women had to negotiate a starting salary for themselves. On average, the women negotiated $7,000 less for themselves than the men. However, when women and men were asked to negotiate on behalf of a friend, they asked for the same amount of money.

You have think about yourself first. This is not coming from a selfish place, this is coming from the fact that no one else is going to truly advocate for you.

If you’re waiting for someone to walk up to you and say, “Great job, here’s your new promotion!,” wake up. Maybe in a perfect world this might happen, but this is the real world where people are worried about their own careers, their own lives, how are they going to get more of the pie, etc. It’s up to you to advance yourself.

True story: a former employee of mine left the country, and when she returned was referred to a job that she was highly qualified for and a perfect fit. She was offered the job and given the salary of $42,000.

She called me very distraught and told me, “Amy, I know the salary was up to $45,000…why did I only get $42,000?”

Perplexed, I asked her how much she requested on her application and she told me, “Well, I put $40,000.”

Exasperated, I said, “No wonder! You are lucky they gave you $42,000. They could have just paid you $40,000. That’s what you were willing to take.”

E- EQUIP YOURSELF WITH CONFIDENCE

Think about the price you’re willing to pay for a luxury car or a luxury hotel room. You’re willing to pay more because of the perceived value. So now think in terms of yourself. If you do not value yourself, then how do you expect anyone to value you and pay you what you are really worth?

There is power in conviction and strong belief in the law of attraction! You must believe– I am worth it, I deserve it, and I will earn it.

Once you have your mindset confident, then go about showcasing your value! Whether you have boosted sales, increased a company’s media presence or identified a new market, do not be afraid to document how you’ve contributed to the bottom line. Results matter, and you must feel confident in sharing your hard work and celebrating the great results you’ve accomplished.

If you struggle with this, make a plan to enhance your confidence, seek a career coach, join a professional organization, attend empowerment conferences, nurture relationships, and network effectively. After all, 80% of all jobs come from networking and referrals.

So, now ask yourself are you comfortable in your current job? Have you taken a job out of your league? Have you stretched and jumped up to the next level? And let it sink in that the largest increase in salary (typically 20% increase) is a job change. What is holding you back?

Don’t talk yourself out of your ambitions. Work on conquering your fears or whatever is holding you back because you are in charge of your career. You and you alone can choose the sideline or get in the G.A.M.E and hit some home runs.

Equal Pay Day 2018 is called “Celebration of Women in the Workforce” and will be held at the National World War II Museum on April 10. Get tickets now.

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