I Should’ve Asked For More Money.
Insights and learnings from LMF Life Skills Summit 2022
How many of you have had the thought, ‘I deserve more money’ when reflecting on your job?
How many of you have then taken the steps to get that pay raise? If you said no, you’re not alone.
A recent survey of 1,500 UK professionals by the UK’s leading jobs board, CV-Library, revealed that 3 out of 5 employees were unhappy with their current salary and 54.6% had never tried to negotiate for a higher salary.
The study also highlighted that their reasoning for not negotiating their salary was that they didn’t want to risk losing their job, didn’t want to seem greedy or didn’t know how to negotiate.
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On 21st July, the LMF Network organised an extremely comprehensive Life Skills Summit as part of its mission to build the careers and confidence of 25,000 people by 2025. On the ‘I should’ve asked for more money’ panel, I sat down with two exciting panellists to unpack this topic and ultimately answer: “How do I ask for more money?”
- Tiffany Uman, Career Strategy Coach, is a former Fortune 500 Senior Director with 13+ years of corporate experience. In her own career, she achieved 7 promotions in under 10 years and was Head of Marketing on multi-million dollar brands, among other achievements.
- Tara O’Brien, Recruitment Strategist, is a highly experienced Recruitment Leader with a broad industry background across the UK, Australasian & Middle Eastern markets. She has managed client recruitment assignments at all levels up to General Manager & Director level appointments.
- Preiti Randhawa, Certified Scrum Master, has 7+ years of experience in professional B2B and B2C services, both agency and client-side, where she has continuously driven exceptional client services and business operations.
The discussion was moderated by Sonya Barlow, Award-Winning Founder at LMF Network.
Why is there a stigma around salary negotiations?
Tara made a very interesting first point to this question.
I think comes from your own personal background, your own environments, the people you are around as your growing up.
In her experience and upbringing, she was always taught that she could go out and achieve anything she wanted as long as she worked hard and delivered on the expectations. She feels that this level of encouragement led to her not being as nervous about negotiating for anything as other people might.
Tiffany shared a theme she has seen across many of her clients and in her own personal career.
I see this a lot with my clients and I’ll be the first to say I used to be super guilty of this. Even at the start of my career, I was completely naive about negotiation and fell into the bucket that I just thought my work would speak for itself. I would just show up, and do the work as that’s kind of how school trains us. We do our work, we get our grades, we do our exams and we move on to the next thing. The corporate world is totally different.
This, in essence, boils down to if you don’t ask, you don’t get. We can’t sit and wait for people to notice how talented we are and what we can offer. Likewise, we can’t simply go to work, do the bare minimum and expect to be compensated more. You need to be willing to take the initiative to go the extra mile in your work, develop and grow as a professional as well as advocate for yourself on what you have done.
I made a final point on this question:
“It’s like dating. At the end of the day, whether you’ve got an interview or an employer, it’s not a one-way thing. It’s not how can I get the job or how can I keep my job, it’s are we a good fit for each other? Am I bringing more to the table than they are bringing?”
It’s definitely worth spending time tallying up what each side is bringing to the partnership, and quickly you’ll be able to see where the gaps are. If the employer isn’t compensating you enough for all the work you are doing above and beyond your role, then you can use this to build your case. On the other hand, if you aren’t taking the initiative to bring more to the table, then you have a list of items to work on.
Some questions you can ask are:
- Have I been involved with or led any projects outside of my core role?
- Have I undertaken any additional certification or training that is relevant to my job role?
- Does the company provide any benefits beyond what is mandatory in my country?
- Are you being paid at a fair rate compared to your peers for your role or field of expertise?
What is the key to being able to negotiate your salary?
The discussion touched on the question of ‘Are women less equipped to negotiate than men?’.
Tara shared her personal experiences of taking the lead with negotiations in her personal and professional life. From negotiating a price on a house and her son’s first car to promotions and salary increases, Tara was confident in her ability to get what she wanted as she was taught throughout her childhood.
Then, Tiffany made a pivotal point, although there are parallels between women struggling to negotiate more so than men, in general, the people who are successful with salary negotiations are those who advocate for themselves.
They don’t have as much difficultly taking credit for their own work and saying I did this, I achieved that, I worked on this.
If you want to be able to negotiate, first, you have to be able to own your wins! That’s not to say you did it alone or the team you worked with was no help, but instead, taking the time to give yourself that credit for what you added into the mix.
Tiffany shared her game-changing question that will help you own your negotiation and see the value you bring as a professional: ‘What wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t there?’
Being able to answer this question is really what will help you level up when it comes to salary negotiations. Simply said, the negotiation process starts with you: as we can’t rely on our work to speak for itself, you have to showcase your wins.
Having a list of and being able to communicate your track record will give you clarity on whether you should ask for more money or highlight some work you may need to do before you can successfully negotiate a higher salary.
Do companies have a responsibility to make sure they are paying people what they deserve?
Tara explained that:
“a company is all about returning profits to the shareholders…if a company is set and that’s its purpose then everything it does has to align with that.”
This was echoed across the board, and we mentioned that it is in their best interest to retain talent. Part of doing that is recognising and rewarding individuals for the wins that have benefited the business.
But as was highlighted throughout the discussion, we can’t expect our work to speak for itself. Your superiors are not focused on your progress as much as they are making sure the business succeeds. That is why you have to showcase your track record to the right people.
[Your manager] is one of the most important stakeholders in getting your raise passed as they directly evaluate you as an employee. But please do not discount the importance of having other stakeholders in your corner.
It’s crucial to understand that multiple individuals are involved in the decision-making process regarding salaries. Solely relying on your manager may result in the negotiation not being a success, so you must build good connections with the other key decision makers.
Build a network of people within the organisation that will also advocate for you, giving them the opportunity to see the value that you bring first-hand to the business.
I’m happy I was able to contribute to this conversation and, at the same time, learn from my co-panellists. Personally, the key takeaways from this exciting panel were:
- Not everyone is born with it — negotiation skills are something you can learn.
- You must be able to advocate for yourself first. Own your wins.
- Take into consideration what the other side is bringing to the table.
- Build a relationship with all key stakeholders who are part of the decision-making process.
- Showcase your track record and the value you bring to the business's progress.
This blog contribution was made by Preiti Randhawa.
Preiti is a Certified Scrum Master with 7+ years of experience in professional B2B and B2C services, both agency and client-side, where she has continuously driven exceptional client services and business operations.
She has a knack for identifying better ways of working, implementing improvements, problem-solving and generally takes pride in ensuring clients, colleagues, and the business as a whole are performing to the best of its abilities.
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