Women: negotiate for what you’re worth

Canadian women are paid 20% less than men. What can you do to get your extra 20 cents?

Women: negotiate for what you’re worth

Could poor negotiation skills explain why Canadian women earn 81 cents for every dollar men are paid?

The daunting nature of negotiating a salary with employers when being paid unfairly has resulted in a ‘negotiation divide’ for many female employees, resulting in continued work with unfair pay.

“Women need to take a headstrong and professional approach when negotiating their salary,” Gillian Franklin, managing director of The Heat Group, said. “Rather than underestimating their significance, they must be prepared to talk about the unique qualities they bring to a company. They should also do their homework and benchmark themselves in the industry.”

Franklin suggests that women must consider critically what they can offer employers, and utilize this when requesting salary increases. She also urges women not to compromise flexibility for greater pay, and instead focus on their outputs for the organization.

HR professionals must understand this situation if they wish to better the position of women in the workforce. “Until we can address this, women will continue to suffer from the negotiation divide,” Franklin stated.

Read: Pitch for the pay rise you deserve

Key HR takeaways

Unsure how to negotiate a pay rise? Hays previously gave HRM their tips to a successful negotiation:

  • Prepare a list of your recent achievements.
  • List how these achievements benefited the company – providing evidence is crucial.
  • Assess your skills and look for shortcomings. Take steps to overcome these before negotiating (document your progress!).
  • Review a recent Salary Guide to find an appropriate salary; this allows you to back-up your request with benchmark figures.
  • Consider your organization’s financial situation – when there is good overall profitability it’s an optimal time to have the talk.
  • Are salary reviews held each year? If so, wait for that. Otherwise, approach your direct manager and set up a meeting.
  • Stay calm and focused – don’t become emotional and mention rising bills or mortgage payments.
  • Employer can’t afford it? How about other options like more vacation days, study opportunities or other benefits?
  • If a salary increase isn’t happening, discuss with your manager how you can make it happen. Maybe there are certain targets you need to reach. You’ll never know if you never ask.


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