Independent research by Robert Half reveals that almost two-thirds (66%) of male office workers secured additional salary with their current employer during the recruitment process, while only 41% of women were able to secure a higher starting salary. However, securing a higher salary is also revealed as the main career goal for 38% of women in the coming year, on par with men (38%), highlighting an opportunity to develop strong negotiation skills amongst female professionals this International Women’s Day in order to meet their career goals and achieve long-term pay satisfaction.
Elaine Lam, Managing Director of Robert Half Hong Kong says: “Strong negotiation skills are a non-negotiable part of a successful career, regardless of gender. While professional women in Hong Kong effectively negotiate every day with internal and external stakeholders, our research suggests that women are less willing to actively negotiate a higher salary with employers — although they want, need, and deserve it as much as their male peers.”
“Failing to secure a higher salary during negotiation can seriously impact a woman’s career potential and fuel greater levels of dissatisfaction in their current role.”
“Negotiating for a higher salary can be uncomfortable, but it is a critical step that allows both men and women to reach their full earnings potential. Fears of rejection, being perceived as aggressive or concerns about jeopardising an existing opportunity are quite natural. But it is absolutely necessary for jobseekers to overcome these concerns in order to be appropriately remunerated and avoid feelings of resentment that can see professionals prematurely exit what can be an otherwise ideal long-term role,” Lam concludes.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Robert Half has six tips to successfully negotiate a higher salary.
1. Know your market value
It’s a lot easier to negotiate with confidence when you have clear evidence of market salaries for your industry and level of experience. Reviewing job posts can provide an idea of what other companies are offering in terms of salary, benefits and perks. Additional resources such as the Robert Half Salary Guide can be useful to pinpoint what a professional with your level of skills and experience should be earning.
2. Prepare a business case
Be prepared to show how any initiatives you have introduced or projects you have worked on, have added value to your past or present employer. Being able to quantify your contribution lets you showcase in clear terms the value you bring to an employer.
3. Be mindful of timing
Timing matters when it comes to salary negotiations. If you are applying for a new role, the best time to negotiate salary is immediately after receiving the initial job offer. For current employees, it can pay to approach your employer on completion of a project that saw you add significant value, or when your team leader has praised your efforts.
4. Take a professional approach
Arrange a specific time to speak with your manager or potential employer regarding your salary. This demonstrates that you treat the issue seriously. Clearly and confidently explain the purpose of the meeting, and highlight your recent achievements and the unique skills you bring to the team.
Having compiled information on current salaries, you should have a clear salary figure in mind that you’d like to present to the employer. Importantly, add a little extra to the salary you’re looking for — this provides some negotiating space for the employer.
Not every employer is in a financial position to offer your ideal salary. So it’s worth thinking about non-monetary options that could compensate for a salary that’s below your ideal figure. A few more vacation days or a flexible work schedule could improve your work-life balance, and there is always the opportunity to renew the request for a raise at some point in the future.