THE BLOG
04/17/2013 10:32 am ET Updated Jun 09, 2013

Women: Negotiate Your Way to $1 million, One Salary at a Time

Ladies, Do you want to increase your lifetime earnings by up to $1 million?

"Negotiate your salary," states the popular book Women Lead. However women leaders note that women while expert with business negotiations are not comfortable negotiating for themselves, especially title and salary.

The reasons women give for being uncomfortable about negotiating for their own salary include:

  • Fear of asking too much in a difficult economy
  • Low perception of self-worth
  • Lack of confidence
  • Perception that salary discussions are negative, unfeminine, and aggressive

Here are some tips that can help demystify salary negotiations and get you to your million.

Know your worth

  • Online sites are places where you can fill in fields about your current job, title, education, skills, tasks, responsibilities, etc. In exchange for your input you will receive a print out of comparative jobs, titles and salaries. Some of the more popular sites are Salary.com, Jobstar.org, and Glassdoor.com.
  • Specialized reports such as Robert Waters Global Salary survey and Robert Half Salary surveys are useful for specific industries such as finance and accounting.
  • Recruiters are good sources to help you understand the current marketplace and what similar roles are in your industry. Some recruiting firms (Gent & Associates) publish their own salary surveys based on the job order they receive.
  • Career boards such as Monster, Career builder, Dice also offer a variety of resources to help you understand your salary.

Basic terminology

When you are negotiating for a new job it is important to understand some of the terminology that might be used during the salary interview.

  • Base salary: This is an annual salary that is amortized into paychecks usually weekly or every two weeks. The base salary is a fixed sum and may increase with time in a firm.
  • Sign on bonus: This is a cash sum offered to an employee. If the firm cannot meet your salary requirements they may make up the difference in cash up front. If the salary offered is lower than you requested ask for a sign on bonus to make up the difference.
  • Bonuses: Ask about bonuses. Companies often have bonus programs based on the firm's performance and even division, department and individual performance. The bonus may be set against specific financial or customer service goals that are outlined in advance. Frequently an individual may receive a bonus from the firm for meeting an individual target in addition to the company meeting its yearly goals. The bonus number is usually discussed in terms of percentages.
  • Total cash compensation: Your total cash compensation including salary and bonuses is usually discussed as a range for example:80K-110K.
  • Stock options, restricted stock units, restricted stock awards, and employee stock programs: Many firms offer stock to employees at a discount or as awards. Stock awards usually vest over time or have performance criteria. It is worth asking if there are stock programs.

Negotiable items

Firms vary in what they offer in terms of benefits so it is well worth researching in advance and asking for clarification. If a firm does not offer a specific benefit that a competitor does they might offer a cash equivalent.

  • Don't focus on the base salary only without thinking through other negotiable items that could have a monetary value. Remember when your base salary increases your taxes might also increase. The large increase you think you have achieved may net to nothing in your paycheck after taxes and deductions.
  • Vacation time: Some firms have fixed vacation time and some are more flexible. Vacation time is paid time off and has a value.
  • Paid relocation and housing: If the job you are pursuing is in another state ask for a cash amount to cover your move if you do it on your own. Inquire about coverage for hotel costs or corporate housing until you find a place to live. Firms might also cover real estate agents and loan programs.
  • Car and car allowance: If your new job requires a bit of driving it is well worth asking if there are company cars for your use, a car allowance, or car leasing programs. This could potentially save you the cost and maintenance of a car in addition to saving on gas.
  • Tuition reimbursement and paid college programs: Many firms have tuition reimbursement programs and some are directly billed to the college. Some firms will send valued employees to an executive leadership or MBA program. If you need this to enhance your resume it is worth asking for. College tuition is expensive and this can save you cash out of pocket or loan expenses.
  • Telecommuting: Telecommuting can save you time, gas, clothing, and food costs. If you are comfortable with telecommuting and your job is one that does not require meeting in an office every day it may be worth exploring. Ask about coverage for home internet, phone and office expenses.
  • Maternity/paternity leave, daycare, eldercare: Some firms offer time off for new moms and even dads for baby care. Others may have onsite day care programs to support employees with childcare or eldercare needs.

  • 401(k), health benefits, discounted stock programs: Many firms offer 401 K programs and will match dollars with the employee. The matching dollars will vary by firm. Also ask about health benefits as these will vary as well.
  • Food and other onsite perks: Some firms offer onsite perks such as free food, dry cleaning, fitness centers, massages etc. Ask about these perks.

These are some of the basics that you should know to help you negotiate your way to $1 million.

Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti is a leading thought leader on women, the workplace, and careers. She is the author of ten books, a regular media contributor, and global speaker. Her most recent book is Women Lead. Tracey is a visiting scholar at Stanford University Media X program. Follow me @ Linkedin @ email @ website @ twitter @ Facebook