In 2020, staffing firm Randstad US released a report that showed 60% of women never negotiated with an employer over pay. That’s a number far less than their male counterparts, which varies per year (and by publication) but seemingly floats around 40%.
Newer data, however, begs to differ.
Fortune published an article this summer that showed women negotiate their salaries more than men.
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In Sales specifically, those numbers shifted a bit.
A 2023 report from Lucidchart showed that 58% of women negotiated salary compared to 65% of men in sales, with 35% having success doing so versus 45%, respectively.
Furthermore, 32% of women and 37% of men in sales attempted to negotiate better commissions, with 19% of women and 21% of men negotiating variable pay successfully.
This fresher data suggests that while women have gained the confidence to raise negotiation conversations more frequently than in previous years, a gap (and opportunity to get better) still exists.
One of those areas for improvement falls under negotiating parts of the job that may fall outside of the salary plus variable pay conversations.
In collaboration with Women in Sales, which we’re a proud partner of, we asked 5 leaders to share their most underrated negotiation tactic and what they’ve successfully secured outside their comp plans.
(Think role titles, delayed start dates, and exit packages.)
Corrina Owens, Chief Evangelist, purple cork
Underrated negotiation tactic: Key milestones and dates to support professional development
“Regarding personal development, agreeing on key milestones and dates to align on professional development before signing the offer letter helps set the stage for successful career growth within any organization,” said Corrina. “Especially in startup environments, there can often be a need for formal growth development plans in place. Starting these conversations early helps avoid any assumed presumptions you might have early on while setting you up for future success down the line.”
What Corrina negotiated outside of compensation: Role titles
“I’ve successfully up-leveled the title of my position in my last three roles before in-depth interviews with the hiring manager by thoroughly researching the company and original job description and aligning it to my skill set and background,” said Corrina. “By aligning how the proposed title change aligns with the organization’s growth trajectory, I’ve successfully made the case for increased responsibility and leadership.”
Tiffany Morin, VP of Customer Success, 5×5 Co-Op
Underrated negotiation tactic: Seek out what’s in the best interest of both parties
“Negotiations are about growing the proverbial ‘pie’ for both parties,” said Tiffany. “Ask questions and understand what the other party values and needs while always finding ways to stick to your ‘target’ goal of the negotiations. If done right, both parties will end with more than they bargained for.”
What Tiffany negotiated outside of compensation: Exit packages
“I quit my first job a few months after I started it. I was overworked, underpaid, and had a horrible boss,” said Tiffany. “I met with the CEO to review my ‘exit package.’ Originally, it was what I was owed for vacation time I did not take. I negotiated more when I explained my reason for leaving and how much I worked ( 12+ hours days and long weekends). In retrospect, he could have likely solved my issues with my boss and made my life easier if he had known my issues earlier. This was a good lesson all around!”
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Madeline Scannell, Recruiting Manager, SalesFirst Recruiting
As a recruiter, Madeline Scannell discusses compensation negotiation frequently with hiring managers and job seekers. Below, Madeline called out why it’s imperative to consider the entire compensation package when negotiating, not just salary.
Underrated negotiation tactic: Identify all areas of negotiation
“When negotiating your compensation, understand that the company may have parameters they need to hire by (budget for salary, fixed commission plan, etc.),” said Madeline. “If you choose to negotiate, look at the holistic compensation package to identify areas of negotiation. Can you negotiate a higher commission percentage? Or more stock options instead of a higher salary? In the same realm, be ready to walk away if they can’t meet your terms.”
What Madeline has negotiated outside of compensation: Sign-on bonuses, higher commission percentages, and better PTO packages.
Judy Smith, Lead Account Manager, RecruitGyan
It’s never too early to begin planting your expectations of what you want in your next role during the interview process. Find out why in Judy Smith’s tips below.
Underrated negotiation tactic: Pre-negotiate
“Place hints throughout each step of the interview process and confirm that you both are in alignment. It’s like preclosing your compensation,” said Judy.
“If you wait until the end, things go missing. For example, they may think their perks are amazing and will compensate for a lower base or on-target earnings. But if they know that those items won’t excite you to make the move, then they can revisit their budget to see if they can accommodate you so you both aren’t wasting each other’s time.”
What Judy has negotiated outside of compensation: Schedule
“Being able to log in and out when needed and making my schedule more of what works best when I perform optimally is a big one for me,” said Judy. “Of course, making the company goals remains a priority, but I match that with how I do my best work and can show up for the team and clients.”
Tara Ryan, CEO/Founder, InfiniDEI
Underrated negotiation tactic: Provide context for your negotiations
“How you frame what you’re negotiating for matters,” said Tara. “Simply listing things doesn’t get you as far as providing context. For example, I negotiated a $5K career growth and development stipend by framing it as ‘Growth is something I’m constantly striving for. When I’m learning and growing, whether working with a coach, taking courses, or attending industry events, I can reach my full potential.”
“By investing in me this way, you will empower me to be the best employee possible.”
What Tara has negotiated outside of compensation: Delayed start date
“Taking at LEAST two weeks between jobs is critical,” said Tara. “This is the only time you have where you are truly free from e-mail, Slack messages, and potential requests. Even when you’re on PTO & truly offline, work thoughts still pass through your mind. In-between jobs is the only time you are truly free of that and can unplug. Negotiate to take as much time as you need before starting without feeling pressure to start before you’re recharged and ready!”
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Negotiate outside of the (compensation) box
Thank you to our five contributors for sharing a few things they’ve learned throughout their careers.
We hope you can borrow their approach and put it into practice during your next interviews.