Written By: Jillian Climie.
Some of the clients we work with feel guilty about asking for more money. They may be working at start-ups or non-profits and feel that money could be better allocated to other initiatives or programs. Or they may feel they should be asking for more money for their teams instead of for themselves.
Below I’ve outlined the main reasons why I believe it’s important for women to ask for the compensation they deserve.
1. You need to be valued for what you’re contributing. We work so hard for our organizations and add so much value to them, and we need to be appropriately compensated for that value. An employer-employee relationship is professional – the employer is doing what they can to get the best out of that relationship and you need to do the same. As women, we are socialized to be likable and agreeable and put others’ needs before our own, so it’s not surprising that we might feel bad about asking for more money. But know that advocating for yourself is part of your role as an employee, and is completely normal. We need to speak up for our worth. Additionally, getting paid what you deserve can be beneficial to your employer as well. When you feel appropriately compensated and that your company and leader values you, you’re more likely to be engaged and motivated, and grow with the organization over the long term.
2. Closing the gender pay gap. This is one that we’re very passionate about at The Thoughtful Co. In North America, women still roughly make 82 cents for every $1 that a man makes. I believe that negotiation contributes to this gap – most organizations won’t proactively give more money without candidates asking for it. Additionally, most organizations are not in a place yet where they have robust and equitable compensation structures to help disrupt bias. This means that sometimes it can be left up to the individual to ask for what they deserve. Know that every individual woman negotiating can help to move that needle on the gender pay gap. When we think of our part in the bigger picture, it can help us feel justified in asking for more. One of the main reasons I’m so passionate about closing the gender pay gap is in many cases, money equals power. I want us to shift the power dynamics more equally between all genders. Breaking down the gender pay gap can help break down the power gap as well.
3. Organizations need to structure their roles and compensation for future growth. Sometimes you might feel that costing your organization less money by taking a lower salary is helping them. But I would argue that being paid what you deserve actually better sets them up for success in the future. They will not indefinitely be able to pay below market rates, and as they grow and hire new employees, they will learn this. Paying you lower than you deserve right now might save them a few dollars in the short-term, but actually could cost them more over the long-term in incorrect financial planning and dollars allocated to future hiring.
4. Negotiating demonstrates leadership, and helps those that come after us. As leaders, we all should be trying to equitably compensate our teams, and we should be counting ourselves in that as well. We need to lead by example and build more equitable compensation structures that in turn drive more equitable companies. Know that when you advocate for yourself it leaves the door open for others to do the same. And you can take what you’ve learned to help the women that come after you.