Nice to have, yet hard to talk about: Money. Especially when it comes to the value of our work, many of us find it challenging to negotiate our salaries. And although the topic can be difficult to talk about for many of us, my experience is that women are especially less resolute when negotiating their paychecks. At Ladenzeile, we want to empower all of our people to be heard. We’re constantly working on improving our salary process by making it more transparent and being clear about our expectations. So, if you got your pay talk coming up, it’s time to keep reading: here’s how you get prepared for your next negotiation!
Written by: Saskia Weigand, Director of People, Culture & Organization at Ladenzeile
Your last salary increase was already some time ago. You know you did a great job over the past year, but now it’s time to talk about a raise and you don’t know how to. Are you familiar with the situation? After years in the field of this topic, I can assure you one thing: you’re not alone. Many of us find it challenging to negotiate salary and for many different reasons. To name just a few: we all have a culturally different background, from which we’ve learned differently how to approach talking about money. We work in different companies, where salaries are distributed according to different rules and processes – and this too, influences the way we deal with the topic. In my experience, the key to a constructive salary talk is knowing how to prepare well and negotiate at eye-level. Especially women.
Why do women tend to pay the price?
It’s inevitably a systemic problem that we in Germany still have a gender pay gap of 18% (2021 statistics). That cannot – and should not – be solved by women alone. However, as women we can do our part in the change by knowing and owning our value. In my experience, many women are more reticent than men when it comes to salary negotiations. Some of us have a hard time naming which valuable skills we bring to our jobs. This means, we don’t boldly speak up about our contribution to the company’s success – and we tend to downplay it, even more, when it comes to our salary.
The problem isn’t that we as women can’t negotiate, but quite the opposite: We are very good at negotiations, but as soon as it comes to negotiating on behalf of ourselves, we tend to settle for less. Historically, we’re taught to be modest, invest in harmonious relationships and try to avoid conflicts. So, when we negotiate our salary, we don’t want to be perceived as ungrateful, overbearing or greedy.
6 tips for your salary negotiation:
Now, here comes the greatest part of the story: women, we can start changing the narrative today. To help us on the way, I’ve gathered my six best tips to get ready for our next salary negotiation:
1. Come prepared
Rule number one is as simple as it sounds: come prepared for your salary talk! Many people enter the discussion, instantly assuming that their supervisor saw the total value they’ve added in the past. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The supervisor might be too far away from their team members’ daily operations – or they might not be prepared.
2. Know the market standards
To stand up for your value, you need to know it first. Know the benchmark for your role and be aware of what other companies with a similar size and background would pay.
3. Know your qualifications
You already know the value of your work, so show it! Bring concrete examples to the table of where and how the company profited from your expertise in the past.
4. Take your time
Good things take time – and you don’t have to accept an offer right away. If you need time to evaluate, say you’ll take the offer with you and give a date for when you’ll provide feedback on it.
5. Don’t give up; follow up!
Didn’t get the result you were hoping for? Don’t give up just yet. If you are unsuccessful the first time around, ask for a follow-up talk. Maybe you couldn’t convince your supervisor today, but this doesn’t mean that you have to wait another year. Ask for clear goals and a follow-up after an agreed time period.
6. Don’t be scared to speak up
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to raise a discussion. Knowing your value and standing up for it underlines your competence at the end of the day.
Saskia is our Director of People, Culture and Organization, where she’s responsible for the entire spectrum of HR work and supports the agile transformation of the company:
“Helping people find their own professional path and meaning in their daily work gives me satisfaction and motivates me to start my own working day every day.“
– Saskia Weigand