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Negotiating Later in Your Career

Written By: Jillian Climie.

When we first started The Thoughtful Co., I assumed that a lot of the executive women we worked with would have negotiated their compensation before. These women are powerhouses, running massive business lines or portfolios, with huge teams, budgets and scope. They are actively negotiating with vendors to get the best price, or negotiating for money for their own teams – but strangely enough, so many have never done it for themselves.

It’s important to know that it’s never too late to start negotiating or advocating for yourself at work. Here are my top five reasons to start doing it now, even if you’re later in your career. 

1. You have leverage. At this point in your career, no matter the industry or location or team size you have, you are making a significant impact to your organization. Imposter syndrome is something many of our clients still face at these senior levels, but take a step back to really think about what you have achieved in your career and the value that you add to your team. The direct impact you have on revenue, profitability, share price, client acquisition, risk or project delivery can be huge. Understand the leverage that you have; know that your organization does not want to lose you. And use that to your advantage in negotiations.

2. You understand the bigger picture. At senior levels, you’ll typically have some insight into the financials of the organization you’re working for, as well as how they compensate their people. This gives you an inside understanding on how to frame your negotiation – what the pain points might be, what might be on the table to negotiate, and what others may have received in the past. Utilize this knowledge to build an “ask” that is tailored specifically to your organization or leader.

3. You can make big impact. When you’re negotiating later in your career, often you’re making bigger dollars than when you first started your career. This also means the amount you can achieve through your negotiations can be a lot higher – and there are typically lots of other elements at your disposal to negotiate for. From large sign-on bonuses, to stock option grants, to enhanced severance clauses, you can make a significant impact on your take-home pay.

4. You set an example for others around you. An incredible side effect of negotiating that we see after working with our clients is their genuine excitement of going through with it, and their understanding of how important it is. This often means they want to share their experience with others – maybe women they’re mentoring or peers in their professional networks. This knock-on effect is so important. We need to start talking about compensation and negotiation if we’re going to make a real dent in the gender pay gap. The more we share with others, the more we’ll empower them to do the same.

5. You can leverage data. At the senior levels, you can leverage publicly disclosed proxy circular data to know exactly what to ask for. That way, you’ll be using the same data a Board of Directors or CEO is using to decide your pay. To get support with finding and leveraging this data, reach out to us at The Thoughtful Co. You can book in a free introductory call here.


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