Asking for what you deserve – salary negotiation!

This week leads to the International day of women and girls in science, we’re in the year of the Lord 2022, the world just been turned upside down by a global pandemic and guess what? Women (and other traditionally not represented groups of people) are still paid less than men to do the same job! Let’s celebrate!

I’ve always kept quiet about this but honestly it pissed me off to dead. The Royal society of chemistry published pay chart for year 2022. Women are paid on avarage 20% less than men, and white people are paid 10% more than non-white people. Enjoy the patriarchy! To me this was a clear indication that either 1) men are still paid more to do the same job 2) men still occupy positions of power and leadership which tend to be more lucrative. This survey was a reflection of the chemistry landscape in United Kingdom. The demographic won’t look different moving geographically or to other science field. Latina women are paid 40% less than non-Hispanic men for example, and are the lowest paid group of people in the USA.

Women and people of colour are still paid less than white men!

RSC survey

I never spoke openly about this topic, as I don’t want people to be driven by money. There are other factors to consider when applying for a company/moving to a new one far more important than money: happiness, being respected and able to express yourself freely, worklife balance and personal satisfaction. If they pay you the big bucks but you’re bullied and miserable every day, are you actually being valued for the money? No! However, life is real and the event of the past 2 years (pandemic, lockdown, devastating deaths) brought inflation to up to 7% and the rise in the cost of living is just mad. Prices of goods, fuel, energy are skyrocketing but salaries are staying the same. This is how most of us will get poorer. Salary negotiation is an important conversation to have with your manager more than has ever been before!

If they pay you the big bucks for being bullied and harassed, are you actually being valued for money? No!

Me

The most straightforward way to increase your salary is moving to another company. The new salary package will be at least 10% higher than the one you getting at current role and, by negotiating, you can get up to 15-20% more! Women tend to downplay their abilities and skills, so they usually are quick to accept an offer without the blink of an eye. I encourage all of you to value your time, skills, knowledge and experience as much as society values those of a poorly qualified man doing the same job! I started following Sundas account last summer and, honestly, I think that every woman in science/tech should follow it because her advice are just gold!

Of course, job relocation isn’t a choice for many due personal situations. It’s an important decision that involves selling/buying properties, choosing schools for kids, rebuilding a new life somewhere else. This isn’t an option suited for everyone. Therefore, the most obvious step will be renegotiating your salary within your current employer.

I encourage all of you to value your time, skills, knowledge and experience as much as society values those of a mediocre men doing the same job you do!

Me

Getting a salary increase won’t happen overnight and it’s important for you to be realistic about how much you can get and whether you get it at all! Understanding the market value of your role and evaluating your CV critically (years of experience, your personal achievements, the value you bring to the table) are key elements. For example, I know that the market value for an early research scientist like myself in the United Kingdom is between 30 and 33k/y. How do I know this? Because I did my diligent research! Useful resources are created by Masha at stereotypes breaker, see below. LinkedIn, Glassdoor, professional societies are the best places to find out these pieces of information.

Then, you start building your case and collect evidence, like a police detective. You start creating a file with all your achievements and what’s the contribution you gave to the company so far. You developed a new method that saved the company money? You simplied and optimised workflow? Your contribution to a project was crucial to renew a contract with a client? You found a solution to a problem that no one managed before? Those are the kind of things that will grant you a promotion/pay rise! When your manager asks for a salary increase on your behaf/puts you forward for a promotion, they need to show those evidence to support your case! More info on the video below

How to go about a salary increase

To stay or not to stay?

That’s the million dollar question. You might think that moving vertically within your organisation is a lot of work, but moving to a different company/role isn’t easier either. Moving to a a new company to do the same job takes up to 3 months and moving to a company on a different role might take up to 6 months. By the way, this isn’t my opinion, LinkedIn experts made those estimates. In terms of time and preparation, it’s probably the same. You still have to prepare for an interview, do your diligent research about the company, the role, build your case on why you’re the right candidate among others, showing examples of your achievements, you name it. And there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the job! As there’s no guarantee you get on a more senior level or a manage a consistent pay rise!

There’s no guarantee that the new job treats you better than the old one on the long run!

Me

In conclusion, I just wanted to add my two cents to the conversation and give tools and tips on how to progress financially. Please bear in mind that the dream job where people pay you the big bucks to work 6h/d, you love all your work colleagues and you move up every 6 months does not exist! It’s dreamland Goodbye

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