One beautiful spring day last year, I met up with another coach for a chat in Union Square Park over lattes. She’d been in business five years longer than me, and we began talking through our corporate workshop and training options. I was floored, relieved and grateful when she broke down her costs for a 2-hour workshop, a full day training and multiple day training programs.
That sunny conversation sparked me to continue to go beyond my learned discomfort with talking through the details of rates and costs, and forge forward with those challenging conversations with other practitioners I trust and respect. Armed with the knowledge of my market value and where I uniquely fit into the spectrum of my clients’ needs, I can now approach my clients fully prepared, confident and ready to help them visualize the ways in which we can work together to change the lives of their employees.
In my work with individuals interviewing for new roles or on the cusp of a promotion—the value of these candid conversations is immeasurable.
You must do your research before negotiating. We’re in an environment where companies are committing to gender pay parity. Your most recent salary is NOT the most important variable in this equation. In fact, some states including, New York State, have made it illegal to ask about salary history in your interview process for this very reason.
Here are the ways you can do your research before you have the conversation about your salary or raise.
1. Talk to friends and colleagues
When I bring this up, many clients say, “I could NEVER do that.” If you want to make more money and take a leap toward your financial independence, I highly recommend you get over it and learn how to reframe your question with both your male and female friends. You can tell your friend, the following:
“I have a feeling I might be underpaid at my company and I’m asking around to get a range of what other firms would be paying someone at my level.”
“As part of the current conversation about helping women get to pay parity, one step is for us to be transparent with each other about our salary ranges so that we can arm each other with our market value and support each other in being paid what we’re worth.”
2. Reach out to recruiters in your industry
Connect with some recruiters in your field and if possible cultivate relationships with them. Reach out to them and ask for salary ranges for specific titles/roles at companies of a specific size. Salaries for Product Manager roles will obviously be different at startups than at companies like Google, so be clear about the size of the firm you’re targeting in your research.
3. Online research
This is typically the only tactic clients take in doing salary research and while I think it’s important, these websites should not be your only sources. Here are some of the sites I like best:
As you practice talking about money with your close-in circle, you will gain a fluency and deeper comfort that will empower you to engage in important organizational conversations in order to take the salary jumps you desire in your career. If you feel truly stuck and unwilling to have these conversations, I encourage you to begin some deeper reflection on how your stories and beliefs about money may be holding you back. Wonderful resources on this subject are the books, Money: A Love Story (Kate Northrup) and Overcoming Underearning (Barbara Stanny). You have the ability to re-channel the power that money has over you into a power that can work for you. As women striving toward parity, this is our part of the work that needs to be done to get there.