woman proud of her negotiating skills

5 Negotiating Mistakes Women Make

Marlene Cameron, MBA, CFA, CPC

By Contributor Marlene Cameron, MBA, CFA, CPC

Negotiating know-how is every bit as important as the skills and expertise you bring to the position you are applying for.  The interview process itself can be daunting, never mind talking about ‘money’.  Nevertheless, it is in your best interest to prepare for the ‘compensation conversation’ ahead of time, and go prepared to ask for what you want.  Remember, you are worth it! 

Here are five mistakes women make, and how to come to the negotiating table armoured with information, self-assurance and personal authority. 

Mistake #1 – Not Negotiating

Studies show that women are less likely than men to negotiate, unless it is stated that negotiating is permissible.  The National Bureau of Economic Research reviewed an internet job posting that offered either $17.60/hr or $17.60/hr negotiable.  When ‘negotiable’ was not stated in the job posting, men negotiated 29% more often.  However, when the job posting included ‘negotiable’, women negotiated 9% more often than men.  Salary.com reported that 84% of companies expect prospective employees to negotiate.  The message here?  Negotiate always. 

Mistake #2 – Not Acknowledging the Effect of Gender Wage Gap (GWG) 

In 2020, women in Canada, on average, made $.81 for every dollar a man made.  The cumulative impact can amount to between $434,000 and $1,400,000 over a career lifetime. Lower pay leads to lower benefits, disability coverage, insurance coverage, bonuses and pension.  Negotiating serves to reduce the gap.  Set targets for your optimum salary or fees and aim high! 

Mistake #3 – Not Recognizing Cash is Not the Only Currency 

The money is not the only thing on the negotiating table.  There are many other considerations and benefits that contribute to overall compensation and job satisfaction in the form of non-currency compensation.  These could include vacation time, flexible work hours, training and education, health benefits, child care, and work from home, to name a few.  Make sure you have thought these other ‘currencies’ through and decided on what you want before you enter into a compensation conversation. 

A woman negotiating

Mistake #4 – Poorly Communicated Strengths and Accomplishments 

Women who made their achievements known to their superiors, advanced further, were more satisfied with their careers, and had greater compensation growth than women who were less focused on calling attention to their success/es.  It is the same during the interview process, make sure you can clearly speak to your strengths and accomplishments.  It is not boastful or bragging, it is intelligent, strategic and necessary communication.  

Mistake #5 – Talking Money Too Soon 

It is not necessary to divulge what you earned in your previous job.  Also, try to avoid falling into the “what salary were you expecting?” question during an interview.  You don’t have to state that either.  If the interviewer insists, make sure you have done your homework and know the value of the position being offered.  Ideally, you do not start a compensation discussion until a job offer has been made.  You then can negotiate from a place of strength knowing that you are seen as the ideal candidate for the job.    

Ladies, it is your right, responsibility and advantage to negotiate.  Prepare, be proud of who you are and what you bring to the position, and be present to the conversation with unwavering confidence and grace.


A woman negotiating
Marlene Cameron, MBA, CFA, CPC
About the Author

An award-winning executive coach and emotional intelligence expert, Marlene brings her business savvy, financial smarts and intuitive wisdom to help women in business thrive.  Her Decision Clarity Optimizer system shows owners and leaders how to have UNSHAKEABLE belief, trust and confidence in making critical decisions that impact their wellbeing, success and freedom. Visit Marlene on her website and learn more about her services.

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