Negotiating the salary you're worth

So far in our HER+Data blog series, we’ve covered crafting an interview-worthy CV and turning that interview into a job offer. Now, with a new IT job offer firmly in your hands, we’re looking at how to negotiate the salary you’re worth - with these top tips for women in IT.

The importance of negotiating the salary you’re worth

Receiving a new IT job offer is flattering and exciting - it’s natural to get caught up in the moment and immediately accept the offer, never dreaming of mentioning or negotiating your new salary. But taking the time to consider your new job offer and pay packet is important because:

  • The gender pay gap is still prevalent in tech. Women are being paid on average 15% less per hour and 35% less on bonuses when compared with their male colleagues - and you don’t want to fall into that stat.
  • You have to live with this new salary. You want to stay in and learn from this new role for the foreseeable future, meaning that you must be able to afford to take the pay offered.
  • You’re worth it. You’ve worked hard gathering the experiences, skills and qualifications for this career jump - you don’t just want a higher salary, you’re worth a higher salary.

So, what do you do when the salary offered doesn’t contain the figures you had in mind?

Understanding the salary you’re worth

The first step in negotiating the salary you’re worth is knowing the salary you’re worth. This requires preparation in the form of:

  • Benchmarking - using salary guides, specialist IT recruitment companies and similar job listings to understand what your current skills and experiences are attracting in the industry;
  • Understanding - studying your offer to understand the full salary and benefits package offered (for example, do higher pension contributions offset the lower salary?); and
  • Being realistic - if your dream is to move from a large corporate into a small family-run business, then you need to be realistic about what they can offer, and what you’re willing to accept.

This preparation will give you the evidence to use during your negotiations, and will show your potential employer that you’ve done your research.

Negotiating the salary you’re worth

Once you’re confident that the salary you have been offered is not the salary you’re worth or willing to accept, then you need to start negotiating. Lead the negotiation discussion by:

  • Remaining confident - resell your skills by being succinct and professional and not coming across as angry or demanding;
  • Being succinct - briefly outline your reasons for negotiating the salary and how your technical and soft skills will benefit the company, and then offer to follow up the conversation with a more detailed email if required; and
  • Outlining an acceptable offer - be open and honest about what salary you were expecting.

Salary discussion can make you feel nervous and awkward, but it’s an excellent way to demonstrate your interpersonal, communication and persuasive skills. Plus, it’s very rare for a job offer to be retracted when receiving a salary negotiation.

Achieving the salary you’re worth

Hopefully, your salary negotiations are a huge success, resulting in the ideal pay packet with your name on it. But, if they don’t, all is not lost. You can:

  1. Accept the lower salary, but agree on a clear plan of action for you to reach your ideal salary within a certain timeframe - this might include training, certifications or simply passing probation;
  2. Decline the lower salary and work with a specialist IT recruitment company to achieve your true worth.

Final salary negotiating thoughts

Throughout this whole process, it’s always important to remember that:

  • If you’re really uncomfortable, work with a recruitment agent who will source salary-worth job vacancies for you, as well as handling any negotiations;
  • Never, ever accept lower pay because of your gender; and
  • Never settle for less - you’re worth more.

If you’re based in the North West, don’t forget to sign up for the HER+Data Meetup in Manchester!

Bernadette Clarke

Divisional Contract Director

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