10 Salary Secrets Every Latina Should Know Before Negotiating

"If they don't promote you, promote yourself”

Latinas salary negotiations

Photo: Unsplash/ Brooke Lark

In the spirit of Women’s Equal Pay Day observed on March 12 this year, it’s paramount that we spotlight an urgent and actionable strategy for every Latina in the workforce: the art and necessity of negotiation. The stark reality we face is sobering – Latinas earn merely $0.57 for every dollar their white, non-Latino male counterparts make. Over a 40-year career span, this wage disparity translates into a staggering loss exceeding $1.2 million. This isn’t just a statistic; it’s a call to action for every Latina to become an advocate for her finances. So how can we, as Latinas, close the gender pay gap for ourselves? Currently, we don’t live in a world where we are compensated fairly for the work we do so it’s important for us to be our own advocates of our own future and pay and it all starts with us negotiating for ourselves for every role, every single time. 

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Employers expect you to negotiate. First and foremost, understand that employers anticipate salary negotiations. An insightful study from Salary.com revealed that a whopping 84% of employers expect job candidates to negotiate their offers. This negotiation is not perceived as greed or overreach but rather a standard phase of the hiring process. It’s a demonstration of your market acumen and confidence, essential traits for any top-tier candidate. Remember, your approach to negotiation can significantly influence your perceived value within an organization.
  2. Build Your Ammo. Effective negotiation begins with preparation. Equip yourself with pertinent questions that reveal the unique needs and challenges of your potential employer. Understanding which skills are in high demand for the role provides leverage, transforming your skillset into a valuable commodity. Questions about the advantages of internal versus external hires can also offer insights into the company’s hiring philosophy, further refining your negotiation strategy. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like, “What are the hardest skills to hire for in this role?” or “What are the benefits of hiring someone internally versus externally?”
  3. Negotiating From Strength. Align your negotiation method with your strengths. If face-to-face discussions empower you, aim for an in-person or virtual meeting. Conversely, if you excel in written communication, consider drafting a compelling email. The goal is to leverage your natural strengths to facilitate a more confident and effective negotiation.
  4. Don’t base your next salary by how much you’re currently making. One of the most critical steps in negotiation is to separate your future salary expectations from your current or past earnings, especially considering the wage gap that disproportionately affects Latinas. Aim to set your salary expectations based on the market rate for your role, not your current compensation. This approach can lead to significant salary increases, often surprising those who hadn’t realized their market value. I had a client go from making $60,000 to $120,000 by just switching companies and staying in the same role. This is a perfect example of what it looks like when you base your salary on what the market is paying versus what you think you should get paid. 
  5. In-Depth Research. To negotiate effectively, you need a clear understanding of the salary landscape. While online research can offer a starting point, direct conversations with industry insiders provide invaluable insights. Reach out to hiring managers or professionals within your field to gauge the typical salary range for someone with your skillset. This dual-pronged research approach equips you with a robust foundation for negotiation. Ask them, “What is the typical salary range and compensation package for someone in X role?” and then ask them, “What makes you offer a candidate the top range of the salary?”. Use that insight as part of your ammo that you can later leverage and bring up during the interviews and as well as during the negotiation process.
  6. Build Your Case. Armed with research and insights, it’s time to construct a compelling case for your desired salary. Highlight specific achievements, metrics, and the unique value you bring to the role. Rather than focusing on effort or hours worked, emphasize the tangible impact of your contributions. This evidence-based approach bolsters your negotiating position.
  7. Knowing What You Value. Beyond salary, there are numerous benefits and perks to consider. Conduct a thorough audit of your priorities and compare them against what the prospective employer offers. This could range from professional development opportunities to more flexible working conditions. Understanding what matters most to you enables targeted negotiations, ensuring you maximize your overall compensation package. I make my clients do an audit of what is most important to them and I share with them 36 benefits they can negotiate besides their salary, because salary negotiation isn’t always about salary, we can also negotiate benefits.
  8. Practice Your Pitch! Negotiation is a skill honed over time and through practice. Regularly rehearsing your pitch, whether alone, with a trusted friend, or even a pet, can significantly enhance your delivery. Confidence and preparedness are your allies in negotiation, making practice an invaluable component of your strategy.
  9. Anticipating and Overcoming Objections. Be ready for potential pushback. Not all negotiations will go smoothly, and having a strategy for dealing with rejection is crucial. Decide in advance what compromises you’re willing to accept and what your next steps will be if your initial requests are not met. This preparation ensures you remain composed and strategic, even in the face of resistance.
  10. Don’t take it personal. It’s essential to approach negotiations with a focus on your professional achievements and contributions, rather than personal comparisons or grievances. Centering the conversation around your achievements and the value you bring to the company keeps the dialogue productive and objective.

I like to remind my clients that “If they don’t promote you, promote yourself”. It is up to you to advocate for yourself not just in your career but in your compensation. It’s not a question of whether or not you should negotiate, but a question of how much more am I going to ask for. And when you feel guilty about asking for more, let me remind you more than likely, your white male non-Latino peers are making almost twice as much as you for the same role. Let’s not forget, the fight for fair compensation is not just a personal battle but a collective one, paving the way for future generations of Latinas in the workforce.

Claudia Miller is a Guatemalan American career coach focused on helping women move up in their career.

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