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This essay answers the questions women do not ask me about salary negotiations in tech. I teach workshops on tech career management, and though I get public questions all the time like “Why do my interview callbacks always stop after the technical portion?” “Why don’t I ever get considered for promotions to management?” and “Why don’t I ever get headhunted by real recruiters when people with my skillset always seem to be getting huge offers?”, women never ask me the big one up front: “How do I negotiate a better salary when I still want to be known as a team player?”
. I’m startled and a little disappointed that we as technologists don’t take more time to consider and really provide resources for our own to succeed and thrive in the often-confusing world of tech career management. On June 27th, I and some of Seattle’s top tech rockstars like Kristin Toth Smith, Carly Slater, Mike Reinhardt, Tammy Lee, Rick Sass and more will be teaching a workshop on salary negotiation and career management in tech to help you increase your salary, get noticed, and absolutely kill it in job negotiations!
We’ll work through problems like this one: “The hiring manager said he couldn’t offer me any more salary, so I took the job — then found out that everyone else had negotiated higher salaries and I’m being paid 20% less than the others. How do I get more money?”
There are a lot of possible answers to this very common issue in tech. Sometimes it’s related to gender; there are a lot of statistics out there that say that women cannot win in salary negotiation because being seen as unlikable and harsh is professionally penalized. Sometimes a company culture of secrecy around pay leads to huge pay disparities. I learned this from long, painful, personal experience as a tech contractor doing dozens of skilled, short-term tech contracts and hundreds (over a thousand now) of interviews for tech companies.
I remember being in a room with a man who didn’t look me in the eyes almost at all, who droned company policy at me, and didn’t look up from his paperwork until he stated the lowball offer he’d been told to give me, and I gave him the response I’ll teach you about below: “That’s a great place to start!” For the first time, he really noticed there was another human in the room, and somewhat taken aback, he politely told me that he didn’t usually get those sorts of questions (the unspoken subtext was “from women”), but that he’d get back to me. A day later, I had an offer that was 10% better than I’d even hoped for.
- I’ll teach you about below: “That’s a great place to start!” For the first time
- These rules won’t solve them all, but you’ll take a giant leap towards your goal salary just by remembering these four common negotiating tactics
- And last item now
I’m a big believer in the 80/20 rule (also known as Pareto optimality for my fellow academics). If you can solve 80% of the problem in 5 minutes rather than 100% of the problem in six months, choose the first option and constantly iterate for better.times it’s related to gender; there are a lot of statistics out there that say that women cannot win in salary negotiation because being seen as unlikable
These rules won’t solve them all, but you’ll take a giant leap towards your goal salary just by remembering these four common negotiating tactics from recruiters and hiring managers, and preparing a script in advance to counter them.
Remember — you’ll be flustered, stressed, and want to make your new company happy, and in the moment, if you don’t have a script you follow, you’ll give in and try to make others happy rather than yourself. Here’s how to make everyone win! There are some exceptions to this. The incident that prompted my bold statement above happened yesterday at E3, the huge games conference in LA. In a great discussion in the women’s gaming group on Facebook, the eloquent and very cool Tara Brannigan posted about a serious screwup there. Take a look at a speaker slate of 28 (overwhelmingly white) men and 0 women at the PC Gaming Show, a major E3 industry event.
I’m a big believer in the 80/20 rule (also known as Pareto optimality for my fellow academics). If you can solve 80% of the problem in 5 minutes rather than 100% of the problem in six months
Best of luck to those more deeply involved in the industry than me; I’ll help where I can, but DAMN, LADIES — y’all have a tough row to hoe.Now, I’m not often faced with that situation. Most of the time, it’s topical panels like Northwest entrepreneurs, or bootstrapping startups, or B2B SaaS panels, etc. I can think of a panel I recently sat on that had 5 men on it. I was invited to speak two weeks before the event.
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The other speakers had been listed for weeks and months in this annual event. I knew exactly why I was invited to speak there, and I was fine with it. I landed a client for my company Fizzmint, made great industry connections from a position of authority and expertise, and helped inspire two women there to learn more about starting their own company.
As with a lot of the other tradeoffs I make, sometimes I sacrifice a little of my right to blast the patriarchy in exchange for making connections and showing business and tech professionals a woman in authority.
That presence, I think, speaks to the gut and not the head, and does more good than splashing pixels on the topic. I also make more friends and do my best to acknowledge and call on people who are often unintentionally silenced in Q&A situations.