Studies show that for equal work, women earn on average 20 percent less than men, and for women of color, the pay gap reaches as low as 60 cents on the dollar. While multiple factors contribute to these disparities, a body of empirical research points to a significant trend: women negotiate differently from men. Stephanie Blondell, associate director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and assistant professor of law and practice at the School of Law, shares tips for increasing your effectiveness as a negotiator.
INCREASE YOUR SENSE OF WORTH
While the numbers vary across industries, a majority of employers are willing to pay 10 percent to 15 percent above their initial offer. Increase your executive presence in salary negotiations by writing down a number that is a bit beyond your comfort zone. Carry it around in your pocket and look at it until you become comfortable with it. Then, when that number feels right, replace it with a number that is five percent higher.
PREPARE FOR “MOMENTS OF NO”
Fear of rejection is enough to prevent women from speaking up in the first place. Planning how to respond when faced with a rejection can help ease the dread. Write it down. Practice saying it out loud. Have three prepared responses for the “moment of no.”
OVERCOME NEGOTIATION ANXIETY
While both men and women experience anxiety during negotiations, such discomfort is more likely to dissuade women from asserting themselves. Many women fear their assertiveness will negatively impact their relationship with their supervisor while men are con dent that speaking up will build the relationship. Whether negotiating for a 10 percent discount or a change in your job duties, look to those moments as opportunities to build rapport.
LEVERAGE THE “WE”
While women are less assertive than men when negotiating for themselves, data says that they claim as much if not more value when negotiating for others. Remember you are negotiating for your parents who someday may need ongoing care or to put your children (or future children) through college.
PRACTICE THE ASK
Statistics show that women get less— two percent less on average—even when they ask. Whether caused by gender bias or unsuccessful negotiations, women are encouraged to exercise their skills by practicing their negotiations in their daily lives. Negotiate a lower gym membership or ask for a loyal customer discount at your local farmers’ market.
Research reveals that men are four times more likely to negotiate a higher starting salary than women with the same qualifications. Over the span of a career, this fear of asking for more—money, benefits, or perks—adds up. Studies show that colleagues—male or female—who negotiate once at the beginning of their career may retire with a vacation home based simply on that moment of courage!