Whether you're preparing for a job interview or trying to convince your three-year-old to eat her broccoli, it's fair to say that negotiation is more than just an important life skill; it's an art. We all know it's important, but a shocking study reveals that 60% of millennial women aren't negotiating. In a recent article for Working Mother, author Joanna Krotz broke the silence about the surprising reasons women take no for an answer. Read on to find out how to negotiate like a pro and get that corner office!
In an article for Lena Dunham's newsletter, Lenny, Jennifer Lawrence opened up about why she regrets shying away from tough negotiations for her role in American Hustle. When salary information was released after the Sony hacking, Lawrence discovered she was being paid far less than her male co-stars. "I got mad at myself," she said. "I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early."
Lawrence isn't alone. Krotz points to research that suggests skills aren't responsible for the pay gap, it's our tendency to walk away when we are told "no." Sixty-three percent of women say they feel uncomfortable asking for more, showing that we need to push past discomfort and not accept "no" as the end of the conversation.
We're sorry to say it, but the gender pay gap in America is getting worse. CNN predicts we'll have to wait until 2133 for equally skilled women and men to reach equal pay. Yes, 2133! Krotz suspects one reason is because women readily accept compromise. "Sometimes it’s because women pursue perks other than dollars, such as flexible work schedules or more free time or greater equity," she says.
The key to closing that pay gap is to know your end goal and only reveal it at the close of conversation. If you want more flexible hours and a pay rise, approach your employer about both requests and be confident and articulate with your reasoning. It's easy to second-guess yourself when you feel like you're asking for a lot, but starting off with a higher request will give you more scope to negotiate and help you and your manager feel like you've reached a win-win.
Given women are skilled relationship builders, it's surprising that Krotz says men excel at negotiating because of their access to networks. "Men invariably tap deeper professional networks and have access a broader bench of mentors than do women," she says. Before you accept a salary offer, pause and contact a mentor. Speak to experienced people in your field who can give you insight into standard compensation and deliverables to better inform your decision or give you cause to ask for more.
Etiquette usually dictates that talking about money with friends is a social faux pas, but could good manners make us fall short in the boardroom? "Generally, men share info about money and salary much more easily than women do," says Krotz. "Women are taught not to boast." But lifting the taboo on money opens up a conversation about pay standards.
If you're still unsure about talking to friends about your salary, she suggests joining a coaching group or peer association "to learn more about going rates in their field or industry." Whichever your choice, talking openly about salary and expectations will help lift the silence around negotiations. Let's not wait until 2133 to get a better deal. Your corner office is waiting!
Feel inspired? Shop our edit of the best books to kick-start your career, then head over to Working Mother for more advice from Joanna Krotz about why women need to change their negotiation skills.
Tell us: What's the number one lesson you've learnt from a salary negotiation?