Member blog post: How to negotiate your salary

By Nicole Raz, JAWS fellowships co-chair

JAWS members in Las Vegas held a panel on salary negotiation and here are some takeaways from the panel.

Find out how much your colleagues earn, and share your salary as well. How? Ask them! Do this once you have established a rapport.

  • Knowing how much your colleagues make will help you to understand
    where you fall.
  • Don’t assume that the dollar figure will give you all the information you need to assess your own value. If somebody makes more than you that doesn’t automatically mean you should be making the same. They may have more experience, etc.

While management can’t/won’t tell you what your colleagues earn, they can tell tell you a salary range for a certain position.

  • Learning about what the high and low numbers are will tell you where you stand and may help you determine where you’d like to be.

Respect the chain of command.

  • If your immediate supervisor is not the person who can give you a raise, it is still important to approach them and ask for their support in asking for one.
  • Managers can be sensitive about their subordinates jumping the chain of command.
  • It is particularly important for women to come off as being collaborative, inclusive and not overly aggressive.

Ask for a raise, and maybe even often.

  • It is generally always best to be strategic about when and how you ask for a raise. It can depend on how the organization is doing as a whole, and what you did to earn that raise.
  • It is important to catch your manager in the right frame of mind, and not to play games (for example, know what you want and know what you are willing to be flexible on and stick with it. Don’t change your mind halfway through, etc).
  • If you are going to ask for a raise, make sure you can make a strong case for one.
  • Some panelists said it is better to not have a specific number in mind, and rather wait to see what you are offered, others say it is good to throw out a fair, reasonable number but to do it in a strategic way. That might sound like something like this: “$X is my dream number, or dream range, but I know that might be out of your budget/a bit high so let’s find a number that works.”

A “no” is an opportunity to ask the question, “How?”

  • If you ask for a raise and do not get one, that is a good time to ask your manager what you need to do in order to get one. You can ask that question like this, “I would like to earn a raise, what are some things I can do to earn that raise in the future?”
  • If you ask for a raise and do not get one based on financial reasons, pose a question like this one, “I understand it is not in the budget right now, do you know when it might be a good time to check back?”

If you don’t know to whom you should be asking for a raise, find out.

  • Start with your immediate boss. You might say something like, “My annual review is coming up, and I’d like to make my case for a pay increase. Who do I have that conversation with?”
  • Sometimes, your immediate boss is the one to make the case to and then that person passes it along on your behalf. Don’t assume that you’re better for asking for a raise than your boss might be, and at least give them a chance to do so.