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Strategies for Negotiating Salaries and Promotions as a Woman in Business

A man shaking hands with a woman following a salary negotiation in a workplace setting

Negotiating salaries and promotions can be challenging, especially for women in business. In general, women leaders are less likely to discuss money and, when offered a job, are less likely to ask for a better package and an improved organizational role. As a result, they often end up being offered less than what their male counterparts are earning, and most women are comfortable with the idea.

There are obstacles to negotiating salaries and promotions for women. However, these challenges shouldn’t deter any women in business from negotiating for their rightful share. Women in business need to talk about money, and that’s what this post is all about.

Here, we share five strategies for negotiating salaries and promotions so female business leaders can learn to be more effective in workplace negotiations.

Strategies for Negotiating Salaries and Promotions as Women in Business

1.     Think Before Asking

Before getting started with the negotiation process, it’s critical for women in business to take a step back and think before asking. How does the salary and promotion negotiation fit into the bigger life aspirations?

Female business leaders might have a focus on the salary but they often tend to lose track of how they want their salary to fit into the larger context of promotion and future growth.

Negotiating should always be considered as a broader aspect of professional development opportunities, not only limited to the pay but also to future growth and promotion prospects.

2.     Focus on the Right Value

When women start negotiations for salaries and promotions, they often tend to play safe as they want to protect themselves from being viewed as too demanding. As a result, they often underestimate their true worth.

Women who fall in this category often have the willingness to work for free and have a high tolerance for being underpaid. As a result, they tend to live in a financial crisis.

Let’s not forget that negotiations for salaries and promotions are not related to an individual’s personal life. Instead, it’s about business and should be dealt with like one.

When negotiating salaries and promotions, women need to quantify their accomplishments and assign a monetary value to their contribution to the workplace. When women quantify their accomplishments, they have a better chance to get an upgraded dollar value for their accomplishments.

3.     Bring Records and Documentation to the Table

In meetings where women in business are negotiating for salaries and promotions, it’s critical to bring documentation to the table. Never solely rely on the memory of business leaders. Instead, bring documentation to show the contribution of the latest workplace achievement. Such documents are evidence of the value an individual is creating for the organization.

4.     Ask Beyond the Basics

Many women in the business end up negotiating for salaries only. However, the strategy isn’t helpful in long-term growth and success as a career person. A better alternative is to negotiate for the salary along with a focus on negotiations for other opportunities, including better work assignments, promotions, resources and developmental opportunities.

For career women unsure about how to go about asking beyond the basics, it’s a good idea to discuss the negotiations plans preemptively with a trusted source within the organization. It could be a trusted friend in the network or someone outside the immediate circle of colleagues.

By figuring out what other people are negotiating for at work, women in business can get a fair idea of what makes a reasonable request when negotiating at the workplace. 

5.     Stay Positive

For career women starting their negotiations at the workplace, it’s common to initiate the process with a people-pleaser mindset.

However, it’s always best to remember that the negotiation process isn’t related to anyone’s personal life. It’s solely a business affair and must be treated like one. So, when negotiating, women in business must initiate the process with a positive mindset where they can display their confidence in their own abilities and use that confidence to negotiate successfully.

Approaching such situations with a positive mindset also means initiating the process with curiosity. It doesn’t always have to be winning the argument. Instead, the process must be focused on finding a solution to the problem. When all the concerned parties are focused on solving the problem, the outcome of the negotiations always produces better results.

In instances where the other party doesn’t seem interested in the negotiation process, it’s still critical for business leaders to stay at the table with a positive mindset and discuss the raise. Things may not work this time, but such an approach will certainly set the tone for future conversations.

Key Takeaways

Negotiating salaries and promotions aren’t always easy for women in business. Still, with these strategies, they can learn to take a different approach to such conversations and hopefully end up with positive results.