Workshop aims to build skills, confidence for women to negotiate salaries

March 2018

Jay Murdock

With unemployment rates continuing to hover near historically-low levels, people looking for their first job or a better job may face better chances than some of their predecessors.

But many would-be hires are probably not getting the salary that they could get if they did just one thing - negotiate. That’s especially true for women.

“Women negotiate their salaries at a lower rate than men typically do. That’s from a factor of things - it’s confidence issues, it’s not wanting to come off as being too greedy,” Associate Director of FSB Careers Victoria Masny said.

While a Glassdoor survey found that men aren’t great about negotiating - 52 percent said they didn’t - it found that nearly 70 percent of women didn’t seek more for themselves either.

That can be especially true for women just entering the post-graduation workforce, Masny noted.

“It’s their first full-time job, so it’s trickier. ‘I just want a job; I’m good with whatever salary.’” But realistically, money is always left on the table,” she said.

In an effort to change those number, the Farmer School of Business, the Center for Career Exploration and Success, and The Women’s Center are hosting a workshop on March 27 to help women learn how and why they should negotiate.

While the hope is to empower women in the workforce, it’s also hoped that having more women negotiating could help close the gap between men’s and women’s wages - an issue that’s come further into the light recently, thanks to high-profile stories in the technology industries and in Hollywood.

“I would say it’s always been an issue, but in recent years, it’s definitely become more public with (celebrities) coming out,” Masny remarked.

But she also pointed out that “At the end of the day, if you don’t negotiate your salary, a lot of that is on you as well. Some of the uneven pay is systemic, but also from the fact that women typically aren’t as eager to ask for more.”

Masny said her office can help FSB students along their job search, even after they get an offer - if they know what to do.

“They’ll get the call from the recruiter and they’ll say, ‘Oh, yes, of course, I’m accepting,’ when realistically, they should say, ‘Oh, thank you for the offer, Can I have a day to think about it?’ and then that’s when they can make an appointment with us and talk through the salary, talk through the benefits, talk through what that might look like and how they can potentially ask for more,” she said.

“In interviews, you have to sell yourself, be able to talk yourself up a little bit, which is sort of a salary negotiation, too. You have to showcase your skills and highlight them and say ‘This is the salary you’re giving me, but this is the salary I deserve.'”

The skills and confidence needed to get someone to negotiate can have a positive impact beyond the bargaining table, Masny said.

“In business, obviously, you’re going to work with clients, negotiating contracts, things like that. These kind of skills can be translated in the business context, but I think even for your own self, if you’re in an organization and you want to do some professional development, you might have to negotiate or position that with your supervisor and say ‘This is why this is important to me, this is why I deserve to have this,’” she pointed out.

“I think that it strikes some comfort with the employer, too, so when you have that conversation with the recruiter or whoever is hiring you, you set the stage that they know you’re going to advocate for yourself and then if they’re receptive of that, you know they’ll be comfortable with you advocating for yourself,” said Masny. “I think that’s definitely a skill anyone should learn in their career because that’s how you progress and get to the next level.“

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Bystrom Room at the Shriver Center. Those wishing to participate should register on Handshake.
Women negotiating workshop banner