When we think that gender inequality has been defeated in the advanced economies of the world, recent statistics clearly show that there is still far to go. On average, women earn 83% of what a man gets for the same job description. This ratio has progressively gone up in the last two decades but there is no reason that the gap should still be so significantly high. The last vestiges of gender discrimination are partly to blame, but it is also a question of self-confidence, value assessment, and an objective approach to salary negotiation.
These personal traits hold true not only for female employees but also for business owners who tend to undervalue their products and services and price them below the average market levels. This mindset, that in order to compete for a job or in the business world, women have to somehow be more accommodating has held back their progress towards full equality. There are well-established strategies and techniques for getting the best possible outcome that applies to both men and women. For the latter, it is a matter of building up a higher confidence quotient. Not allowing others to determine their value is one of the main paths to pay equivalence and pricing maximization. It is also a practical means of boosting self-confidence.
Perform a self-assessment – Many women and men make the mistake of waiting for that annual performance evaluation to determine their value and scale of pay. It is essential to use the same employee evaluation format to perform your own self-evaluation long before the scheduled review, and be totally prepared with statistics, specific references to contributions, and research on comparative earnings both inside and outside the company. The internet is very helpful in providing wage and salary data across different geographic regions.
Create your own job performance criteria – If the company’s job descriptions are too generic and do not incorporate measurable job performance requirements, then define this yourself, and show how you have directly contributed to the major business drivers such as revenue growth, productivity, cost reduction.
Use a scoring method to define value – On a level of 1-10 score yourself on the following key job related factors: Education degree or certificates; advanced courses completed; years of experience; knowledge of work; level of independence in job performance; judgment; creativity; team cooperation; leadership; overall performance; outstanding contribution during the year. Add the score and use it as a negotiating strategy. Be ready to respond to any negative feedback.
Learn how to blow your own horn – Female employees and businesswomen sometimes feel that talking about yourself in a positive and confident manner can appear abrasive and clawing. This can indeed be so if done with arrogance, and too much bravura. However, when this is performed diplomatically, at an appropriate moment, and supported by statistics, it can be very persuasive. Keeping the tone and body language at an even keel adds impact.
Avoid language that diminishes you in any way – When this is done it downgrades personal value in the eyes of others. Stay away from expressions that contain words such as small, little, insignificant, poor, low, etc.. If you have done well in a business venture, don’t bashfully refer to it as my small business, or that you have played a small part in the company’s success.
Price your products and services objectively – There should be very little emotional content in pricing. The focus should be on achieving a profit that is commensurate to the industry in which you are competing. The pricing formula must be based on the data for direct and overhead costs, and gross profit found in the historical financial accounting records. Being competitive is not solely a matter of price, excellent customer service often compensates for a higher price, and women are particularly good at using empathy to that end.
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