Women workers: Negotiate for what you’re worth

by Cameron Edmond04 Jul 2013

Poor negotiation skills have been highlighted as a key reason why 55.4% of Australian women aren’t being paid what they deserve, a report from The Heat Group has revealed.

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 utilise this when requesting salary increases. She also urges women not to compromise flexibility for greater pay, and instead focus on their outputs for the organisation.

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.


Key HR takeaways

Unsure how to negotiate a pay rise? Hays previously gave HC 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 organisation’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 annual leave, study 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!


  • by Working mother of 2 8/07/2013 6:49:45 AM

    Finally an article saying what I've been saying for months. The pay gap has nothing to do with gender. Most employees are covered by a Modern Award or Enterprise agreement that remunerate people on experience and classification level contained within them. The rest are on Common Law contracts that they negotiate themselves. Key is "negotiate". There are mechanisms in legislation that women can access should they feel they are being discriminated against because of their sex, so perhaps more time should be spent up-skilling as opposed to blaming everyone else for your short comings.

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