I often work with my clients on negotiations when they start new jobs and firmly believe that getting it right from the beginning is so important. I have recently read evidence that confirms why this is so vital. The pay gap between men and women working full time in London stands at a whopping 23% on average. In the private sector, the gap is even higher. Almost 30% of London employers completed a Equal Pay Audit in 2007 and where they found inequities in pay – the greatest number of employers said the reason for the pay gap was due to unequal starting salaries between men and women.
This seems so simple, yet getting it right is so vital as the pay gap only increases with time – up to 40% amongst top earners in the private sector. If you don’t negotiate a good enough starting salary at your first job, each incremental pay rise will be proportionally lower than a colleague who got more at the onset. Additionally, when you move it is harder to make up lost ground as any new employer will most likely negotiate with you for your new starting salary based on what your top salary was at your previous employer.
How can you avoid this? Treat every job offer as a negotiation. Women have a tendency to be "grateful" for any job offer and think that starting salaries are non-negotiable, which is complete rubbish – there is always leeway. And if you don’t ask, don’t think they will offer. Organisations exist in large part, to make money, and will never offer you more than you ask for. That is up to you. I have always asked for more at every new job, even when I have been pleasantly suprised by what they offered me – the upshot is that I got even more in my base salary and the company valued me that much more. Bolsy? Perhaps – but I will take that over a lower salary any day.