Negotiating for Success: Developing Effective Communication Skills
Advancing Women in Product - NY Chapter
The overall wage gap for women remains at 81 cents on the dollar. One root cause for this disparity is the gap in skills for women during negotiations. On Dec 10th 2019, AWIP NYC invited Siobhan Neilland, Sr. Diversity Leadership Recruiter at Amazon Web Services, and Jordan Sale, Founder & CEO of 81 Cents, a company that is dedicated to ending the gender pay gap, to teach AWIP members first-hand successful negotiation tactics.
Why Do We Negotiate?
published by the Harvard Business Review points out that 20% of women don’t negotiate. And that women who choose to not negotiate leave $7000 on the table their first year at their first job, and over the course of their career where promotions are based on existing salaries, can see a loss of close to $1 million.
It’s clear from that example alone that negotiation is key. Your current salary will often impact your starting salary at your next opportunity. By negotiating at every step, you can do your part to help close the pay gap and generate more income both now and in the long term.
Negotiation can go a long way in helping others realize your potential and let you sell the vision of yourself in a role. Siobhan recalls an anecdote where a 20-year IBM veteran she was interviewing had trouble selling herself. It took some digging to discover that the IBM veteran had led a project that resulted in a 10% revenue increase for the tech behemoth. Don’t be afraid to start off with the outcome of your work and the impact it has had on the organization.
In addition, the ability to negotiate and tell your story communicates the value you bring to the organization and should be done on a periodic basis, not only during the performance review. Communicate your successes to your peers and to your manager by keeping a running document of these wins, sending monthly newsletters or presenting at broader company meetings on key project wins and highlights. It can never hurt to be regarded highly by others around you and this common perception of your value and performance and can make it easier to negotiate during the performance review.
How to Negotiate Effectively
Be prepared and do your research. There are a myriad of resources that can provide you with an understanding of the market value for your role, as well as provide you with a quantitative basis to back your stance.
- Check out online resources like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Paysa, H1B data, levels.fyi, 81cents can help provide you with an expected range of salaries for similar roles at comparable companies.
- Chat with your peers and mentors in your area of interest and/or company to get their thoughts on your salary expectations. Unsure if peers are comfortable with sharing their salary information? Try sharing your offer first and ask them if they think this is above or below expectations. Asking peers and mentors of their opinion on your offer could open the door to a thoughtful conversation about evaluating your offer. Peers and mentors also have a great understanding of your skill sets and can help highlight the value you could bring to a particular role.
- Proactively reach out to a few recruiters in your field. They can help share negotiation strategies they’ve taken on behalf of their clients, in addition to discussing salary ranges they’ve seen for roles that you might be interested in. And continue to reach out to recruiters and have those conversations even if you’re not interested or actively looking for new opportunities. It never hurts to stay sharp.
- Research the company and find out what motivates the other side. Has the company raised a round of funding? Are they backed by leading investors with deep pockets? Has the hiring manager been looking to fill the role for 6 months? How thinly stretched is the current team? Can you quantify the impact of your role to the company or business area’s bottom line? Answers to these questions could help provide a better footing for compensation asks.
Remember that negotiation doesn’t always have to tie back to your salary. Think through other factors that are important to you, e.g., stock options, your title, base salary, a performance based bonus, flexible time off. And decide which are the right levers to pull based on what’s important to you.
And go into your conversation prepared to advocate for yourself.
By Haarthi Sadasivam, AWIP Programming Lead
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