top of page
  • Janée S. Mauney

Self Advocacy in Negotiations

If you are that woman that speaks up and stands up for what you need and what you think is fair, I applaud you and keep it up.   Women as a whole are not always the best self-advocators.  Studies show that most women are uncomfortable negotiating when it comes to their own compensation…the dreaded money talk.  For what it’s worth, men also do not like having the salary conversation, it seems to cause universal discomfort.    

Face it, if we don’t self-advocate, we are leaving money on the table.  And why?  Do women feel they need permission to negotiate?  Studies say yes. 

Harvard Kennedy School of Public policy studied 2400 job applicants that responded to an advertisement of a job opening.

  • Gender differences in negotiation were also dependent on whether there was an explicit statement that wages were negotiable.

  • The authors found that when there was no explicit statement that wages are negotiable, men were more likely to negotiate than women.

  • However, when the job description explicitly mentioned that wages were negotiable, this difference disappeared and seemed to reverse. In this scenario, both genders were equally likely to initiate negotiations (women at 21.2% and men at 21.4%) and equally hesitant to offer working for lower wages (women at 6.2% and men at 6.0%).

Linda Babcock, an economist at Carnegie Mellon and co-author of the book “Women Don’t Ask,” has found that one reason for the disparity is that men are four times more likely to ask for a raise than women are, and that when women do ask, we ask for 30 percent less.

Sandra Cohen, Executive Compensation Attorney - Cohen & Buckmann pc helps executives get paid what they are worth.  She offered tips for executives who are new to negotiating compensation: “The first thing you can say when you get an offer, a raise or severance, is to ask ask is ‘how did you arrive at this number?  Look for information you can use to negotiate.   You can also ask, “Is this negotiable?”  Whether you were happy with offer or not, still ask the question to understand the process.”  WRITE THIS DOWN. 

What is the harm in asking how and why?  If it’s a job offer, you have the upper hand, because you know they want you. You’re their first-choice candidate.  Be inquisitive.   If it’s a promotion, you are already valued and confirm your value.   If you are negotiating a severance, you have nothing to lose.  Keep asking until you are confident that you have left nothing on the table. They have said no 10 times.

I learned a lot about negotiating and not just accepting from my years with WIL.  I feel what I learned from others that dare to ask the question, why not ask?   All they can say is no …..and then you ask again.

A couple resources that might be helpful –

Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want by - by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

And finally, if you are not sure how to describe your strengths or would like more tips on negotiating your compensation, ask some of the experienced women executives in WIL.  They can be a great resource for you, like they have been for me.



Single Post: Blog_Single_Post_Widget
bottom of page