Negotiation is a touchy subject sometimes. With news that the wage gap might slowly be getting smaller, but still far from where society needs to be, it sometimes feels disheartening and scary as a woman to negotiate. This can be out of fear that the job you’re interviewing for (or maybe the promotion you’re trying to snatch) will go to another, qualified male candidate. This mentality often leads women to work for less money than they deserve, less money than they are worth, which unfortunately does contribute to the vicious cycle of not having equal pay.
So why is negotiation so difficult? Well, sometimes, the most difficult part about negotiation is knowing a specific number you want to be making. If you need help with resources or researching salaries in various industries, this blog can get you started on ideas. However, there’s a simpler way to figure out how much you should ask for, one that depends on your own needs.
This great article is a must-read for all women who aren’t totally sure how much they should be making in a current or future role. In it, Warchol discusses the three steps you need to take in determining your ideal monthly salary (which you can then multiply by 12 to get a clean, annual number). To sum up the article for you, here are the three steps.
- Adding Up Your Monthly Expenses
- Rent, insurance, utilities, groceries (for the whole month), and any other monthly expenditures should all be added up. Make sure to use several months to analyze your expenses; some months can be more expensive than others, so make sure you’re accurate and average out how much you spend in a typical month. You ideally want to make more than you need for a month of living and basic essentials!
- Double That.
- You will need room for savings, emergencies, and additional things that may come up. Doubling your monthly expenses is a good way to cover most of that and make sure that you’re in the ballpark of a good salary for yourself.
- Add 20% Of Monthly Expenses Into The Equation.
- Although doubling your regular expenses will put you in the range of a comfortable wage, women often under-negotiate. To combat this, calculate 20% of your monthly expenses and add that number to your estimate.
Overall, this is what you should be aiming toward:
(Monthly Expenses x 2) + (Monthly Expenses x .2) = Monthly Salary x 12 = Annual Salary
Of course, depending on the industry you’re going into or the lifestyle you currently have, the number might be out of the ballpark of the average salary in your role, especially if you’re just starting out in corporate. The good part about this formula is that it allows you to evaluate your needs and wants and doesn’t force you into a tightly-squeezed range, which might be good for individuals who want to figure out an easy way to estimate how much their work should be worth depending on how much they need to make to keep up with their current lifestyle choices. As with any formula or piece of career advice, it depends on you and your goals, so just remember that salary negotiation usually yields good results and is always important to at least try. Do your own research on where your salary expectation should realistically land and then use the above formula to calculate your current lifestyle’s salary needs. Then, make a decision of what you think you should be making at a position or role and go all in, making sure that you stay strong, professional, and solidified in your answer. Your final interview will likely go well if you know what you want and set out to get it. For more insight on what to do and what not to do when discussing possible salaries, read this.