Women and Wealth

The Gender Gap and Pay: 4 Salary Negotiation Tips for Women

BY Kelli Maxwell | Communications and Marketing Manager | Sep 15, 2021
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The Importance of Asking and How to Do It With Confidence

It’s common knowledge that a gender gap exists when it comes to money – Simply put, women are underpaid, and according to a 2020 study, women who work full-time only earned 84% of what men earned.1  While professionals should be paid according to skills, experience, and value they bring to a position, the glaring reality is that salary is often based on a company’s budget, a candidate’s salary history, or negotiation tactics.

There is a lot of fear surrounding salary negotiation, particularly when it comes to women.  Women are more concerned about being perceived as pushy or demanding by a potential employer than men.  Women also feel they need to prove themselves before asking for more money, while men are often self-assured that they will receive a higher salary or better job offer simply because they ask.

So, what can you do to eliminate the wage gap?  You can start by negotiating your salary the next time you receive a job offer or potentially negotiate a higher raise in pay during your next performance review. 

Most hiring managers are willing to offer $10,000 or more than their initial offer, but they’re not going to do it unless you ask.  Here are four tips on how to negotiate your salary package like a pro:

1. Don’t rush to say your ideal salary

Experts suggest talking numbers only after the hiring manager has offered you a salary.  This works in your favor, so you don’t end up asking for less than they were prepared to offer; And once you know their base offer, you can consider adding 10 to 15 percent to that number as a counteroffer.  The hiring manager will probably go lower than that, and you’ll end up meeting somewhere in the middle, above the base offer.

How to negotiate with confidence: If they ask you directly for a number, give them an answer with a warm and professional tone.  For example, if your ideal lowest salary is $60,000, state you are comfortable with a salary of $70,000.  While you may not get $70,000, this number provides some room for negotiation, and you will likely get over your ideal salary of $60,000.

2. Research your market value

If you didn’t already know, you should research your market value, also known as the salary you can expect based on your education level, industry, years of experience, and location, before negotiations begin.  Don’t rely solely on online resources.  You’re likely to get more reliable information from other industry contacts, preferably from both men and women.  You don’t have to ask your contacts what they earn, but what reasonable salary expectations should be based on your experience level.  If you’re a recent college graduate, your college’s career services department may be able to put you in touch with alumni or other resources for potential industry connections.

How to negotiate with confidence: When asked about salary, use examples from your market research and include the position’s responsibilities relevant to an increased ask.  For example, “To be fairly compensated, I’m comfortable at $70 – $80,000 based on the market rate for this position, my skills, experience, and the job responsibilities we’ve discussed. I would love to get to a number we can collaboratively agree on.” The key here is to maintain a warm, confident, and professional tone.

3. Be Your Own Advocate

Your talents and experience can give you a competitive edge over other candidates, so don’t be afraid to highlight your accomplishments.  Make a case for a higher salary by explaining how what you bring to the table will increase the company’s profits and productivity.  Discuss how your skills were a valuable asset to previous employers and how you can help improve the overall quality of work for the employer.

How to negotiate with confidence: Use real-life examples of how you improved the workplace, exceeded goals, increased profits, solved problems, and managed tasks.  Having professional references available to confirm this information is helpful.

4. Ask for other benefits in place of a higher salary

Sometimes, an employer may have a strict budget or salary cap to adhere to, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still room for negotiation.  Consider other creative ways to get other perks you want, such as flexible work hours, a sign-on bonus, additional vacation time, or professional development funds.

How to negotiate with confidence: Explain how these benefits will improve your productivity and expertise and ultimately increase your benefit to the company.  For example, if working remotely is of importance, you could say something such as, “I do my best work when I feel valued and can work independently.  Feeling valued would mean being given the flexibility and trust to work from home three days per week.  Is there a way we create a situation that looks like this?”

Things to Remember

  • Most of the time, the first offer a company gives you is not their best and final offer.
  • Confidence is key.  If you are qualified enough to get the job offer, you have the right to negotiate a fair salary.
  • Negotiation isn’t about winning or losing.  It’s about each side giving a little to get what they want, so don’t take things personally and keep your emotions in check.

As a woman, you should feel empowered to ask for a higher salary because you deserve it.  Standing up for yourself and successfully negotiating your salary can help you become a strong advocate not only for yourself but for other women who may be in the same situation as you.  Consider how favorably negotiating your salary could inspire other women to do the same, bridging confidence and getting one step closer to closing the gender gap and pay.


  1. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/05/25/gender-pay-gap-facts/

 This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Spectrum Management Group. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

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