5 tips for women when negotiating working conditions
A recent study by job board website Seek found that women are less likely than their male counterparts to negotiate when it comes to employment contracts.
The survey only saw half of respondents say they felt confident negotiating things like personal development support, flexible working arrangements and salary. Only 23% of women felt confident about reaching an agreement on possible salary conditions, compared to 58% of men. There was a slight spike in women wanting to pursue personal development, with 34% willing to broach the subject, while 79% of men were confident of doing so.
Commenting on the double standards that women often face in the workplace, Seek’s resident psychologist Sabrina Read said previous studies have found that when women are viewed as tough negotiators around their pay, it can negatively impact people’s willingness to work with them on the track. The same is not true for men who significantly reduce their salaries.
“A lot of people have an unconscious bias regarding assertiveness in women. Interestingly, the same results can’t be said for women when negotiating on someone else’s behalf. So it seems that women can fight for others, but not for themselves,” she said.
Ms Read said it was not always about trust, with many women feeling they had the skills and knowledge to discuss a host of issues, including money. She suggested women emphasize to their new or existing boss the benefits of having a skilled negotiator in the role.
“Whether you’re in the early stages of your career or you’re a more seasoned professional, it can be helpful to say something like ‘it sounds like you’ve noticed I’m a good negotiator, which I’m sure you will agree, will be an asset for the function and the organization.’ The main goal here is to let your employer know that you have both their interests (and yours) in mind, and that you have the skills and ability to support them,” she said. .
Ms Read said that ultimately companies will retain employees who deliver and thrive so they are open to negotiations on many issues with the right candidates.
Seek has a list of career advice articles where you can go when looking for that edge in your next interview. Here are some of their best trading tips:
1. Negotiations will often begin during the interview process when you discuss salary expectations. This is your first opportunity to let your potential employer know what you think you are worth. Researching the industry before the interview will be beneficial here.
2. When it comes to research, you’re going to have to take on the role of an amateur sleuth if you want to secure your best possible package. It is essential to talk to anyone about the industry, the company, its management and its employees. You want to know the history of the company as well as its prospects.
3. When making a counter offer, be sure to thank the potential employer and let them know how excited you are to be part of their team. It is also important to be aware that your demands may not be met, negotiation goes both ways. Show that you’re willing to compromise, because stubbornness can get the offer to someone else.
4. Don’t feel obligated to disclose past salary packages. Employers have probably also done their research and should have an idea of what your previous role may have brought you. If you’re offered much more than your last role, consider it lucky, but make sure you don’t level up beyond your abilities.
5. Be sure to highlight the benefits of flexible work arrangements or development support for both parties. Meeting the needs of everyone involved is an indicator of a skilled negotiator.
The study also revealed startling statistics surrounding negotiations from an employer’s perspective. They found that 75% of participants were willing to negotiate with employees and candidates over salary and promotion cycles. Transportation and company cars were in negotiations with 77% of employers, while 91% said they were willing to strike deals on flexible work-from-home arrangements.
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