Financial Wellbeing

How to Negotiate at Work

This challenge is meant to help prepare you for salary negotiations or to ask for something you want at work. Read through the challenge below (and, if possible, the additional resources), and reflect on how you can apply the information in the future.  

The Challenge 

In 2017, women earned 82% of what men earned. That means that in theory, when compared to your male coworkers, you will work for free from approximately the beginning of November through the end of 2018. Research suggests one reason for this is that negotiation skills are different for men and women. One of the ways you can attempt to narrow this gap is through increasing your salary – whether by negotiating a higher starting salary or asking for a raise.

Don’t have a job where it’s possible to receive a raise? That’s okay. There may be something else you could negotiate for that will increase your job satisfaction. Want a more flexible schedule or to work from home one day per week? This challenge can still help you hone your negotiation skills.

The first step is to recognize your worth. You worked hard to earn your degree and possibly have a few years of experience under your belt, so of course you deserve to be paid for your knowledge! This may involve a bit of research ahead of time so you can demonstrate what a comparable salary in a comparable position is.

The second step is to prepare your pitch. Your boss isn’t going to agree simply because you ask. Be prepared to show how a higher salary will add value for your company. Compile a record of what you’ve accomplished within the past year. Does your workplace have key performance metrics? Document how your work has met (or exceeded) those goals. Collect feedback from colleagues to demonstrate what your impact has been in the workplace. If you’re seeking something non-monetary, such as a flexible work schedule, consider how that request will make you more productive or add value to the company.

Have a backup plan. Enter the negotiation with concessions in mind so you don’t leave empty-handed. For example, if your raise request is rejected, ask to have your salary re-evaluated next quarter. If your request for a more flexible schedule is denied, ask instead for more vacation time or a sabbatical. Denied that promotion? Ask to be included in a project where you can get the skills your boss thinks you lack, or to be placed on a mentorship with a senior executive within your company so you will get the promotion the next time you ask.

You may want to revisit this past webinar on salary negotiation. 

Tools Needed


Get Together

Negotiating can be uncomfortable because, in the end, all the focus is on you. Schedule a coffee date with a Sister to practice your pitch. Ask her to play the role of your boss and ask you tough questions. 

Alumnae associations: Consider planning an event designed to help Sisters practice their negotiation skills. Strong negotiation skills can also be useful outside the workplace, such as when buying a home or a car, or seeking a bid for a home improvement project.

Take a moment to review the following resources for additional tips on negotiating:

Report Participation

We have made it easier for you to document your participation in A Clear Vision of Life: The Wellbeing Program and be entered to win a Challenge incentive! Just click here for each Challenge you complete.