Ladies, Negotiate The Pay You Deserve & GET IT!

Last updated 25 Apr 2018 . 1 min read

“A better pay to the male member of a team, over and above a woman doing the same task, is not restricted to India. It is a global problem,” informs analyst Sandra Sequeira who works in Germany.

But she also adds that to some extent, women are responsible for it since they either take such discrimination hands down, simply grumbling about it among the peers or fail to negotiate the way it must be.

Whether asking for a greater flexibility or a raise, a promotion or any another benefit - negotiating with your seniors at work, as it is, is a big challenge. So how do we close this gap? How do women ask for what they deserve? In the spirit of empowering women to get the dues that match their worth or rather a fair share, I decided to speak to eight well-known faces in their respective industries who shared their experiences and how they themselves tided over the same situation in their respective professional lives.

1. Speak Up Early & Often

Ramnika Iyer Singla, a Senior Manager at ICICI Bank India, shares the strategy that has worked for her in the last ten years of her career as an investment banker. “Don’t wait for the annual review, ask for a feedback through the year and collect all positives as a proof to make your case for a better pay raise you deserve. Socialise early and do this often with your seniors. Initially, I was vocal only about the policies of the organisation for the benefit of the customer but my juniors becoming my seniors with the passage of time and it made me realise that I had to be vocal for myself too. A strong and assertive communication made me achieve what I deserved in the next two years. I won't say magic will happen in your life too, but I will surely say if you sit silent, nothing will happen.”

2. Details = Everything

A workplace that has an under-representation of women at higher positions is usually very competitive. But that doesn't mean you have to shy away from speaking to a male boss who has never heard or paid heed to your requests before. It is all about the right approach, correct timing, your past record, reputation as well as the relationship you have shared with the people with whom you are about to get vocal about your rights.

“At this point, assess everything you have delivered so far, not just for the organisation but for the team as well, to help the team, to mentor the juniors etc. Details here are everything. If you can't recall every event, just mark out the major, impactful ones.

The idea is to detail that 'I HAVE VALUE IN YOUR TEAM.'

And here, while asserting all details that help you negotiate what you deserve, don't worry about the perception of the person on the other end. Understand, that it is a part of the process to get you your due. Even if you get a retort or a negative reaction, don't stop advocating yourself. It took me three years to make my way from a junior manager to a senior manager, where my male colleagues had already reached two years ago. But the delay didn't deter me from making my bosses realise that I have talent enough to deserve the same. And today, you all know who I am,” says Anastassia Slovaka, Business head of GBUT, a Travel Venture in Moscow.

3. Be Specific About What You Ask

“The career shift in my life didn’t come from a promotion or a good salary hike. It came after a period of professional storms that shook my personal life as well. My mentor told me to stop worrying about other people's perceptions at this stage, who had completely written me off. Rather, I was mentored to focus on my qualifications as well as laurels that I had brought to my professional table and to the organisation in the past. Earlier, I used to come to my seniors with a list of ‘wants’ or even ‘demands’; and it meant inadvertently giving the power in the other party's hands.

Now, I walk ahead talking in terms of what I deserve.

Just saying “I deserve more money” isn't sufficient. Thus, I talk in terms of what contributions I have made, I align incentives that I deserve to stride ahead as well as how I can strengthen future partnership beyond my company. In short, I engage in more effective communications now, which specify what I deserve, backed by what I have contributed from day to day,” details Emily John, Managing Director, Sydney Infotech, Australia.

4. Avoid The 'All-About-Me' Mindset

“I understand that the end goal of such a conversation with a senior colleague or the HR manager is to achieve what you deserve. Still, my advice is to resist an ‘all-about-me’ argument or negotiation.

Rather, if you detail how your actions and tasks ensured a positive outcome for the team and for the company, it immediately changes the tone of the conversation from DEMANDING to COMMANDING.

It not only helps lower the defences but also begins to create a ‘give-get situation’. And here you have more chances to come out as a winner,” advises Husain Cyrus Mistry, who is the Founder of a leading technology start-up in Dubai. He informs that his advice to women across the globe is not only derived from his female managers as an employee seven years back, but also from one of his employees Saba Husseini, who is ten years younger than him. But he asserts that Saba has left a great impact on his life since this young one is a go-getter but with all her politeness as well as team-spirit in the right place.

5. Ooze Confidence & Market Yourself

“No harm in blowing your trumpet, if your talent can suffice for the music you intend to make. For many women, showcasing their positives and strengths isn't easy, but when you have to negotiate for what you deserve, you must have the right confidence to market yourself. After all, you have toiled hard to reach here, right? Also remember, you must groom your environs in such a way that you cultivate supporters around you, to ensure that when you pitch for what you deserve, they back you up and vouch for your abilities. But remember, it is your confidence that matters. I am where I am today because I decided to lead,” Madhu Sinha, Vice Principal, St John's Academy, MP, India.  

6. Know Your Non-Negotiables

“Knowing your strengths is as important as being fearless to ask for what you are worth and more.

If you can't remember, list out all your non-negotiables on paper and never settle for less. For instance, if a salary raise, as well as your promotion, are non-negotiables, make it heard aloud but in an amicable yet assertive way.

The worst case will only be a NO so why be afraid, since without making an appeal the answer could still be a NO, right? Go ahead, shun fear and face it,” roars a very fearless Gabby D'costa who works as a Senior Manager at one of the branches of the best holiday resorts in India. She informs that her Goa appointment happened through her ex-Boss in Kerala, India. She laughs how he used to hate her at one point in time but today, they are the best of friends since he realised that Gabby won't settle for less.

7. Deliver First & Best, Demand Next

“Deliver, then ask, then deliver more, then ask for more - adopt this as the mantra in life. Life is all about competition with one's own talent first and then with others. Deliver your best each day, don't lose the path of an upward growth track, even if you don't get a compensation that you deserve in the first go. Delivering the best will ensure the results sooner or later, thus the process to excel must not stop. 

Just build up your CV, even if an organisation fails to be a good one. Here, the key is to be the best employee, who will then be hired by a better employer,” advises Suman Sharma, a leading choreographer who switched ten organisations before she was spotted by the famous choreographer Shiamak Davar who hired her! She chuckles with joy,

"Be passionate about what you do, rest will fall into place sooner or later, but don't stop to deliver your best!"

8. Shun The Guilt

“Jealous or negative colleagues will always talk about the smallest thing you do, so why be ashamed or embarrassed for what you deserve? Shun the shame, the guilt that arises due to this shame and also due to a NO from the boss. Sitting silent due to guilt will only make you someone who sinks into depression. Rather, be a go-getter through your expression, in the right manner." 

"Channelise your energy into achieving your goals through your passion - make the organisation feel lucky to have you,” remarks John D'cruz, who comes with an experience of 20 years in mentoring women across the globe.


A great learning, isn't it? If you have any queries, do let us know in the comments below or join our Career Guidance community. We will get our experts to answer you.

Mahima Sharma
An award-winning Independent Journalist & Content Curator based in New Delhi. She is Ex-News Editor, CNN-News18 and ANI (a collaboration with Reuters) who comes with an experience of 14 years in Print, TV and Digital Journalism. She is the only Indian who finds a mention in the Writers' Club of Country Squire Magazine, United Kingdom. Sufi at heart, she also has some 30 poems to her credit at various reputed international podiums.

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