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Are you getting paid what you're worth? Salary Negotiation Strategies for Women of Color

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Women of color earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar their white male counterparts earn.

As women of color, it is not surprising that salary negotiations can be a daunting task for us. In this month's edition of Negotiation Matters, I cover strategies and tips to help women of color successfully negotiate for the salary they deserve.

We often talk about diversity and the need for a seat at the table. As I've advanced in my career, I found that even when we get a seat at the table with a title, a large salary gap within the same title can exist depending on your race or gender. I found that this can happen regardless of whether you are in law, healthcare, or academia, and it is underscored by the fact that women still make $0.77 for every dollar their white male counterparts make. It's time to have frank conversations and hone the negotiation skills that get you the title and the salary you deserve.

Know your worth

You must know your worth. If you don't ask for more, you are selling yourself short. Before negotiating, research the industry standards for your role and previous work experience to establish a target salary range. When negotiating, be confident, and explain the value you bring to the organization. Bottom line: if you don't know your worth, no one else will.

Here's an example:

Rachel has been a marketing manager for two years and has exceeded all her performance targets. She wanted a raise but was nervous about asking and needed to figure out how much she should ask. Rachel started by researching the industry standards for her role and experience to prepare for her meeting. She discovered that the average salary for a marketing manager with similar qualifications and experience was between $100,000 and $120,000 per year. With this information, Rachel established a target range for her salary negotiation. When she met with her boss, she presented her research and explained how her performance and skills had added value to the company. Rachel asked for a raise to bring her salary to the higher end of her target range - $120,000 per year. Her boss was impressed with her research and how she presented her case and agreed to her request.

Focus on the Facts

Know the lay of the land – are there any potential biases or barriers you need to be aware of in the negotiation process? For example, research has shown that women of color often face discrimination in negotiations, such as being considered less competent than their white counterparts or having their negotiation style mischaracterized as "aggressive." To avoid these misconceptions and have your negotiation style mischaracterized, focus on the facts and value you bring rather than your feelings.

Be prepared to give and take

Negotiation is a two-way street. Be open to making trade-offs and negotiating for short-term and long-term value when discussing compensation and career opportunities. Remember, "Yes, I can do that, but what would I give up?" is a powerful negotiation statement to help facilitate a productive dialogue.

So, get started today. It is time to start maximizing your negotiation style and securing the salary you deserve!

Happy Negotiating!


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