February 28 2022

Master the golden skill of negotiation

Whether it’s a pay rise, flexible hours or more benefits, knowing how to ask for what you want at work is an important skill to master - especially for women. On the whole, Australian women earn about $25,000 less a year than men*, and take more career breaks for parenting or caregiving. This all leads to less super. Infact, at age 60-64, men have an average super balance of over $204,000 whereas women have under $147,000 - a 28% gap.** Let’s face it, that’s just not fair!
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Here’s 5 tips to help you prepare and feel more confident to ask for what’s fair.

1. Know your worth

It’s not the same as asking for a favour. There’s a history of reasons for your company or potential employer to take your request seriously, and it pays (quite literally) to be mindful of them.

Make a note of all the ways you add value at work. This could be through your experience, skills, work ethic, relationships – or perhaps you have specific examples of recent achievements or positive feedback.

Next, do your research. Search job sites and average salary information to check the going rate for someone in your role, with your level of experience. This will help you guage if you’ve earned less than you could have. Also, speak to HR and take a look at your company’s benefits to see if you’re making the most of what’s on offer.

This process will help you clarify what you want, as well as give you a list of possible talking points to help strengthen your case when it’s time.

2. Think it through

A well thought-out request is harder to turn down. Your research should help you determine exactly what you’re asking for. Next, it’s time to stress test it. Try asking yourself these questions, and consider how you’d respond to different scenarios.

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • Is it reasonable?
  • Do I have a good case?
  • How might they respond?
  • What’s the best and worst case scenario?
  • Am I willing to compromise, and if so, what’s the next best option?

3. Practise what you want to say

It’s natural to be nervous when having an important conversation about your career. There could be a lot on the line for you personally, and you want it to go as well as possible. Like anything, the more you practise, the better you get. Before the meeting, you could:

  • Ask someone to help you role play different scenarios.
  • Record yourself speaking, and listen back to learn.
  • Write down notes to remind yourself of the key points you want to make.

4. Keep it professional

Even if you have a friendly relationship with your manager, avoid just casually mentioning what you’re thinking. Set the time for a professional meeting, and include a clear agenda in the invitation so your manager is prepared for the conversation. This gives you both the opportunity to be in the right frame of mind.

5. Listen and stay open

Asking for what you want is the beginning of a conversation, and it’s important to listen to what the other person has to say. Being flexible may give you more room to negotiate, so remember to come prepared with any alternative requests. They may even make a suggestion you hadn’t previously considered.

Don’t expect an answer then and there, as managers often need to speak to HR and the business before they confirm a decision. You may also want to take some time to think, so expect to continue the conversation on another day and approach it in the same way – prepared, professional, and with confidence.

It’s simple – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Remember, the more you can earn over your career, the more opportunity you have to grow your super balance which could make a real difference to your retirement. Women shouldn’t have to settle for less, so take these tips, empower yourself and make sure your voice is heard. You’ve got this!

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