6 essential pay negotiation hacks all working mums need to know
The gender pay gap is 14.9% and widens “dramatically” after women have children, according to a new study.
Research from the TUC (tuc.org.uk) reveals that women aged between 50 and 59 have the highest pay gap of 20.8%, while for those aged 60 and over, it is 18.4%.
“Working women deserve equal pay, but at current rates of progress, it will take more than 20 years to close the gender pay gap,” commented TUC general secretary Paul Nowak.
“That’s just not good enough. We can’t consign yet another generation of women to pay inequality,” he continued, pointing out that mandatory publishing of pay figures isn’t helping.
“Companies must be required to publish action plans to explain what steps they’ll take to close their pay gaps, and bosses who don’t comply with the law should be fined.”
It’s important to stress that working women should not be held responsible for driving policy change and closing the gap. However, if you want to ensure you’re doing everything in your power right now to get the salary you deserve, negotiation can be key.
“Working mums often feel nervous about asking for a pay increase, particularly if their employer has agreed to reduce their working hours or has given them flexibility to juggle their work alongside childcare,” says Joanne Moseley, employment lawyer at Irwin Mitchell (irwinmitchell.com).
“Working fewer hours does not mean that you are less committed and can’t ask for a rise, but if you want to succeed, you need to sharpen your negotiation skills and present a compelling business case that demonstrates why you should be paid more.”
Here, business experts share some essential hacks for negotiating on pay…
1. Benchmark your salary
The first step when you want to request a pay rise is to compare your salary to those for similar roles, and decide on a figure you’re going to request.
“Use sites like LinkedIn or Glassdoor to identify the fair market pay for your job role,” says Sirsha Haldar is general manager of UK, Ireland and South Africa at HR and payroll company ADP (uk.adp.com).
While the cost-of-living crisis has sent bills soaring, it’s important to think rationally about what you can achieve in terms of a pay boost.
“Manage your salary expectations accordingly and ask for a raise that is realistic for your company to pay whilst in line with the current market,” Haldar adds. “Be sure to take your experience and tenure with the business into consideration as well.”
2. Get the timing right
Once you’ve confirmed who has the final say on salaries (this might not be your boss so it’s best to check), arrange a meeting with the appropriate manager.
“Don’t put your head around the door and ask for a ‘quick word’,” Moseley says. “Make it clear that you want to talk about your salary and ask for an appointment to discuss it.”
Try to make it an IRL meeting, she adds: “It’s generally better to do this in person rather than remotely as you’ll be able to gauge your manager’s reaction and respond more easily.”
3. Practice makes perfect
As well as doing thorough research, it can help to practise what you intend to say in the meetings.
“Being self-assured in your skills and what you contribute to your company is key to negotiating pay,” says Charlotte Davies, career expert from LinkedIn (linkedin.com).
“Discuss your successes and what you are most proud of with friends, family, or other professional connections, to help you feel prepared before you approach your employer.”
4. Make your case calmly
Playing hard ball may work when trying to land deals with external clients, but when it comes to internal discussions, a calm, open approach is more likely to succeed. “When you are in the meeting, start by emphasising how much you enjoy your job and your commitment to the organisation,” says Moseley.
Then talk through all the ways you’ve added value to the business – and not just in monetary terms. “Some examples include finding creative solutions to ongoing business problems, showing initiative with your tasks (before being asked) or finding new ways to generate profits or better productivity,” Haldar explains.
“If you have taken over new responsibilities and taken on other people’s role for any reason, be sure to use that to your advantage during negotiation.”
5. Consider the first offer a starting point
In the case of negotiating pay for a job you’ve been offered, you don’t have to say yes straight away.
“Companies expect candidates to negotiate,” says PR director Brenda Gabriel (brendagabriel.co.uk), who is currently working with tech firm Digital Adoption (digital-adoption.com). “A company will often advertise the lowest rate they are willing to pay – after all if you can pay less for the same thing most of us would.”
She suggests asking what is the maximum salary available for the role: “This gives you the opportunity to find out what they really need from the role, and allows you the opportunity to explain why you are the best person for the job and worth the extra pay.”
6. Play the long game
If a company isn’t willing to budge on pay for a new job, try negotiating other terms.
“Think about other benefits or perks you can negotiate such as a better title or access to the opportunity to upskill,” Gabriel says. “You could even accept the job on the provision that pay is negotiated after a specified period.”
If you’re denied a raise for your current role, remember that you have every right to ask again in future, Moseley says: “If you’re not successful, ask your boss what you can do to achieve a pay award next year.”
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