Women And Salary: To Negotiate Or Not?

Gigi Birchfield (center), Managing Partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa in Los Angeles, makes a point during the panel discussion. At left, Mari Adam, Founder and President of Adam Financial Associates in Boca Raton, Florida and at right, Jannice Koors, Managing Director at Pearl Meyer and Partners, LLC in Chicago

Research tells us that women often make less money than men because when it comes time to negotiate, they often ask for and expect less, they negotiate less, and when they do negotiate, they may actually get penalized because higher-ups perceive them as “pushy” or “bossy.” It can be a no-win situation.

I was in Claremont, California last week participating on a panel on “Professional Confidence: Impacts on Compensation and Recruitment,” hosted by the Berger Institute for Work, Family and Children at Claremont McKenna College.

Joined by other leading women professionals, we talked to students about how to land that first job, make sure it’s a good fit, lobby for more challenging job responsibilities, and show you’re ready for raises and promotions.

Some students were surprised to hear that after twenty years on the job, the cumulative earnings gap between men and women MBAs can be as much as $400,000 or more. And if a woman takes time out of the workforce to have children, that gap can reach closer to $1 million.

What can young women do to earn what they deserve? Brush up on negotiating and presentation skills, research typical salaries and skill sets in your industry, earn necessary credentials, and keep a running list of on-the-job achievements so you can make a persuasive case for how you’ve helped further your firm’s goals. Don’t be shy; ask your boss what goals you need to meet to get ahead, and show you’re willing to take on, and master,  challenging assignments.

The Berger Institute for Work, Family, and Children in Claremont, California was established to be a leading source of research on significant issues impacting the intersection between work and family. It is one of the preeminent Institutes at Claremont McKenna College.

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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