7 Mistakes Women Make When Negotiating a Salary

It is almost scandalous that in the 21st century women still earn considerably less than men - they are in fact paid 23% less than men in performing the same job, and with the same level of experience and education that men have!

It seems that one of the main reasons for this discrepancy lies in the fact that most women are not as good at negotiating as men. However, negotiating is a skill that can be learned and asking for the salary that we deserve is not so hard to accomplish at all.

Read on to discover the 7 most common mistakes that women make when negotiating a salary and learn how to fix these missteps.

1. Women are not Direct Enough

Men tend to be more direct when asking for something, while many women have difficulties in stating what they exactly want.

Men will clearly declare their salary expectations, while women will tend to shy away from being open and direct. Most women will rather say that they have huge expenses due to increased health care insurance costs, instead of directly asking for a certain salary they have in mind.

That is wrong. We don’t get paid because we need money, but because of the professional abilities and skills that we can offer.

2. Women Tend to Apologize too Much

Apologizing while negotiating a salary should never be done. Try being self-confident and never pronounce apologies such as: “I am really sorry to say this, but I think that I should maybe get a higher salary…”

Be firm, believe in yourself, know your goals and state clearly what you want. Don’t ever say sorry when asking for something that you deserve. If you do it, you will only end up being less valued and respected by your potential employer.

3. Many Women Fail to Recognize Opportunities to Negotiate

serious boss explaning to a pretty secretary looking at him

Women don’t seem to recognize that everything is negotiable. Most of the times they are just happy to have the job, and they don’t realize that they can accept or reject whatever that is being offered. They never try to negotiate terms and conditions and they don’t ask for what they really want, out of fear of being impolite and rude.

Failing to negotiate for a better salary will not only make many women sacrifice incredible amounts of money over the course of their career, but it will also hold them back from their careers.

However, remember that opportunities to negotiate exist everywhere and that most employers actually expect you to negotiate! Don’t ever be afraid to ask for even more than you expect to receive, and always be ready to make a counteroffer on a salary proposal. Asking for a job is not always a take-it-or-leave-it situation!

4. Women Tend to Be too Polite and Need to Be Liked

One of the greatest mistakes that women make when negotiating a salary is being too polite.

Women have the necessity and the ability to quickly develop relationships, even during a job interview. It often makes them feel more secure and relaxed. However, it also often leads to being excessively polite, agreeable and nice, which in turn makes them incapable of saying no, out of fear to hurt the potential employer’s feelings. In fact, most women feel that asking for a higher salary might sound rude.

Contrary to men, women also need to be liked. Most of the times they think that being straight and direct can make your employer like you less.

But you should always remember that this is only business and that you shouldn’t feel guilty for asking for the salary that you think you deserve.

Negotiation and discussion will not hurt anybody’s feelings, and your interviewer will not get angry or like you less just because you are being honest and straight. In fact, when it comes to work, honesty and straightforwardness are highly appreciated virtues in both men and women.

5. Many Women Do not Know their Own Worth

An important mistake that women often make is that they do not know their worth in the marketplace. Before going on a job interview, you should value your own experience and education, and inform yourself about wage standards in your sector.

6. Women Tend to Focus More on their Weaknesses than on their Abilities

businesswoman thinking

Women are usually excessively honest, and when answering questions they tend to openly acknowledge and admit what they can’t do and what they have never done, instead of focusing on their strengths, abilities and skills.

Very often their responses are focused on their weaknesses: “Well, to say the truth, I have never really worked in this sector,” instead of being centered on their abilities: “I have worked in many other nonprofit sectors and I am sure that I am perfectly qualified for this position.”

7. Women are Often too Chatty or too Silent

Women often start talking about their personal things during interviews, instead of being focused exclusively on the job. Most of the times, they mention their recently bought house, or even their marriage, pregnancy or maternity. This is wrong!

Women also tend to give extremely long and detailed answers. They should instead concentrate more on giving short and clear responses, as well as focus more on the interviewer’s face expressions and body signs, which often indicates when it is time to stop.

Excessive silence is also not a good attitude during a job interview. Many women are too shy or afraid to say something wrong, as well as reluctant to talk about their skills and abilities. They usually wait to be discovered and tend to give only essential answers.

In conclusion, being too chatty or too silent can damage an interview, while being self-confident and giving the appropriate amount of adequate information can help considerably.

Have you found the above information useful? Please, share your own salary negotiation experiences in the comment section below and let us know how you’ve handled them.

About the author


Jessica is a translator who has lived for many years in Asia and South America. She now lives and works in Europe, while preparing her new journeys. She enjoys traveling, meeting new people, exploring different cultures and foods, and being in love.

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