3 Tips to Help Women Negotiate a Fair Salary— and Avoid Leaving Millions in Lost Earnings on the Table


Louisville, KY—June 23, 2016—Studies show that women don’t negotiate for salary increases as often as men. Men initiate negotiations about four times as often as women, according to Linda C. Babcock, a Professor of Economics and Co-Founder of Carnegie Mellon’s Negotiation Academy for Women. Additionally, women enter negotiations with pessimistic expectations so that when they do negotiate they typically ask for less; 30% less than men. “Women don’t think of asking; or if they do, they find the idea too intimidating to pursue. This is incredibly costly over time, because even a small raise translates into bigger annual raises and possibly bigger bonuses as well, year after year,” said Carla Dearing, CEO of SUM180, an online financial planning service designed by women for women.

“According to Professor Babcock, not negotiating a fair salary at the beginning of your career is like leaving anywhere between $1 million and $1.5 million on the table in lost earnings over your lifetime—yikes,” Carla continued.

Carla offers the following suggestions for how women can negotiate a fair salary:

Ask yourself the question first. The fact is, most people have no idea whether they are being compensated fairly. Awareness is a big issue; unfortunately, women in particular don’t tend to give the question much attention. For many women, there’s a real reluctance to confront the question at all. So the first step is to ask yourself: Am I being paid fairly? Then, take it a step further. Ask yourself: What would happen if I asked my employer this question? Get comfortable with the idea of asking. It’s an important question that deserves to be addressed.

Get the data. As if our discomfort with the question of fair compensation isn’t bad enough, many of us who do consider the question often guess wrong. People often misjudge how their compensation compares with the going market rate. According to research cited in the Harvard Business Review, “Perceptions don’t always reflect reality, even if employers are paying the same—or more—than similar companies. In fact, a whopping two thirds of people who are being paid the market rate believe they’re actually underpaid, representing a huge discrepancy.”

So, don’t rely on assumptions or hearsay. To be in a strong position to negotiate a fair salary, you need to get the facts and be sure they are current: What is someone in a comparable role, in the same industry, being paid today?

If possible, engage a professional salary consultant or salary coach who has access to specific data about your job from specialized (paid) data services. Free salary data sites, like Salary.com, Glassdoor.com and Payscale.com, generally rely on self-reported data, which may not be as accurate and, as such, less useful. Accuracy of information will bolster your confidence as the negotiations warm up.

Strategize with a coach. Once you have the salary information you need, it’s time to plan for the actual salary discussion. Consider asking a professional salary coach for help. A good coach is able to assess your situation and recommend specific tactics to use in your negotiation. For example, the coach might recommend working out a long-term plan with your boss to earn a raise in the future. The more specific the plan, the better. Specify deliverables and a time frame for each. Once you meet the agreed-upon goals, your boss will find it very difficult to refuse you the raise you’ve demonstrated you deserve.

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About SUM180
SUM180 is an online financial planning service designed by women for women. With the goal of making financial planning simple and affordable for women, SUM180 provides a radical alternative to current financial advisory offerings.

Specifically, SUM180 is differentiated in the following ways:

  • SUM180 meets women where they are. SUM180 plans are personalized to help women wherever they are right now on their financial journey; whether they’re just beginning, starting over or well on their way.
  • SUM180 plans are simple. Clients need only focus on just three of their most important next steps at any given time. This approach is empowering for most, but especially for women who have been “tuned out” of their financial picture for a period of time.
  • SUM180 doesn’t try to give clients a degree in finance. SUM180 clients don’t need to become financial experts to meet their financial goals. SUM180 provides the tools they need, without overwhelming them with the details they don’t need.
  • SUM180 offers a community for users, unfiltered. SUM180’s community forum allows users to support one another in their plans.
  • SUM180 serves; never sells. Earning and keeping client trust is SUM180’s highest priority. SUM180 never makes money based on the advice provided.

Additional information about SUM180 may be found at https://sum180.com/.


Robin Schoen
Robin Schoen Public Relations
215.504.2122 office
215.595.7542 mobile

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