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She's Shattering Pay Gaps: tips on Salary Negotiation Every Woman of Color Needs to Know

The power of salary negotiation cannot be overstated. Particularly for a woman of color, navigating the waters of being paid for the value she brings is not just about ensuring a fair paycheck—it's about reclaiming her worth in a society that, all too often, underestimates it.

illustration of brown woman breaking out of a glass box

gender pay gap: is salary negotiation for a woman of color different?

Let's start by pulling back the curtain on a reality many face—the pay gap. Data consistently shows a disparity between what men and women earn, with the difference being even more pronounced for women of color.

According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, compared to the median weekly earnings of White men working full-time, Hispanic women’s full-time earnings were just 58.4 percent, Black women’s 63.1 percent, and White women’s 79.6 percent.

According to research by Hannah Riley Bowles of Harvard Business School and Professory Linda Babcock, both men and women viewed women negotiating their salaries as a negative.

While these numbers may seem disheartening, they're also a call to action. They underline the pressing need for us as a collective to embrace techniques in salary negotiation for a woman of color.

The Power of Preparation: Do Your Research

The first step in this journey is to do your research. Know the industry standards. Understand your role's market value. Familiarize yourself with salary ranges not just on a national scale, but localized to your area. Platforms like Glassdoor and Payscale can be immensely helpful. Other lesser known resources are Levels FYI and Team Blind. Arming yourself with knowledge, you're not just preparing to negotiate, but also signaling to employers that you're informed, engaged, and serious about your worth.

Beyond Numbers: Highlight Your Achievements

While statistics and market averages provide a foundation, personal stories often build the house. Always be ready to highlight your achievements. Think of every challenge you've overcome, every project you've spearheaded, and every accolade you've received. This isn't about bragging—it's about showcasing your value. Remember, as a woman of color in the workplace, your diverse and unique experiences and perspectives are assets. They bring diversity of thought, resilience, and a richness of experience that is irreplaceable.

When I think back to my early days of striving for professional growth, I remember the nights spent working late into the night, the apprehensions about unfamiliar challenges, and the joy of achieving a task I initially thought was insurmountable. Those fears still rear up but I have learned to remember the achievements that came following those fears.

Flexible Strategies: Salary Negotiation Tactics

When it comes to salary negotiation tactics, one size doesn't fit all. Some situations may call for assertiveness, while others might require patience and persistence. Remember, the key is flexibility. A particularly effective strategy is the "range offer" – suggesting a salary range with your desired figure at the lower end. This technique not only provides room for negotiation but also emphasizes your flexibility and willingness to collaborate.

Looking Beyond the Paycheck: Negotiate Other Benefits

While salary is undeniably important, it's just one piece of the puzzle. Often, employers might have constraints on the base salary front but might be open to offering other perks. This is where the power to negotiate other benefits comes into play. Whether it's additional vacation days, flexible work hours, or professional development opportunities, these benefits can significantly enhance your overall job satisfaction. For a list of uncommon perks that my clients have negotiated, get the Ultimate Guide to Navigating Compensation Extras!

The Strength in Community

While individual growth is crucial, collective growth is transformative. By tapping into field-specific support networks, like the Society of STEM Women of Color, women can empower not only themselves but also uplift their peers. Sharing experiences, seeking advice, or even just having a shoulder to lean on can make all the difference.

Furthermore, remember that practice makes perfect. Engaging in mock negotiations with trusted colleagues or friends can provide invaluable feedback. It not only boosts confidence but fine-tunes your negotiation skills.

Changing Jobs

Sometimes to be appreciated and paid for the value you bring, you might need to change your role or your company. According to the bureau of Labor Statistics, men and women hold over 12 jobs during their careers. Over 39% of people who are considering career changes are motivated by higher salaries. When you are interviewing for a new role, remember every interaction with your future company is about laying the foundation for maximizing the job offer. In a survey done by the conference board, it was reported that 29% of people who switched jobs said their compensation increased by more than 30% in their new role.

Changing jobs is definitely a powerful strategy for consideration. Although a lot depends on the value you place on culture, work-life integration, and type of role that energizes you. If you are going to an interview be sure to get the frequently asked salary questions and interview do's and don'ts - this resource.

Do not fear "No"

A colleague of mine, an incredibly talented woman from Brazil, once shared a personal reflection that stuck with me. After a particularly challenging negotiation, she wrote in her journal, "Today's 'no' is just a step closer to tomorrow's 'yes'." That sentiment, that optimism in the face of adversity, is both inspiring and empowering. Reminding ourselves that we are strong and resilient can help us use a "no" to power us to strive again.

In conclusion, while the road might be challenging, it can also be validating. The journey itself needs to be enjoyed - and that is a sentiment I try to repeat to myself often. The tools of influence and persuasion are (generally speaking) universal. Learning them and with preparation, strategy, and self-belief, every negotiation becomes more than just a conversation about salary. It becomes a step towards a world where every woman of color is recognized, valued, and compensated for her worth. And that's a world I want to see become a reality.

Be sure to download the free audio training session to help you learn additional tactics in salary negotiation here.

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