Women fight fears for their place in the sun
WOMEN are worse than men at asking for a higher salary and it could be costing them thousands. Author and social commentator Jamila Rizvi said closing the nation’s gender pay gap – which has sat between 15 and 19 per cent for decades – required women to fight their fears and be well- prepared to negotiate. “Women tend to be particularly anxious about asking for more money,” she said. “It seems to be this fear that people think you are greedy or not a very nice person. “The data tells us men are much better at asking for money for themselves. Women are excellent negotiators on behalf of their company or someone else, just not themselves.” Ms Rizvi said research found men’s salaries exceed women’s salaries by $ 4000 a year, and two- thirds of men asked for more money, compared with just 10 per cent of women. She said requests should be made based on skills rather than financial needs, preparation was vital, and negotiation should not be combative. “So often people will ask on a whim. It shouldn’t be a last- minute decision, you almost want your manager expecting you to ask. Have a really strong case.”
In her new book Not Just Lucky, Ms Rizvi said women should objectively assess their situation and time their request by thinking about their boss’s other demands, the business’s cash flow, when budgets were set, when bosses were stressed, and their own recent performance.
“I’ve seen employees literally get the shakes when asking for a pay rise. I have also been the employee with the shakes,” she said. “Threats to quit or walk away put the employer in a binary position where they must either meet your demand or not. If not, you either have to walk away or look really, really, really silly.”
Andrew Morris, director of recruitment consultancy Robert Half Australia, said similar strategies helped anyone discussing wages with potential employers, but there were extra rules: Don’t get ahead of yourself, and don’t bluff.
“Ask prospective employers what they think would be an appropriate pay range for the position so you can avoid giving a figure that is too high or low,” Mr Morris said. “It’s never a good move to mislead a prospective employer about your current compensation or other higherpaying job offers in an effort to get more money.”
YOU’RE WORTH IT: Author and social commentator Jamila Rizvi says women must be well- prepared to negotiate. Picture: NICKI CONNOLLY