I know, it was not that long ago I wrote about Michelle Williams and Negotiation. I decided to write on this topic again because things, they are a changin’.
Today, there are 10 states that have banned employers from asking about your salary history. So what, you might ask? How does this matter to me? Trust me, it matters big.
These laws are an effort to help close the wage gap which still persists even though the Equal Pay Act has been part of federal law since 1963. Depending on how you measure it, women still earn anywhere from 6% -22% less than a man doing the same job. And this number is even higher for other underrepresented minorities.
Not having to give your salary history puts the onus on the employer to determine what they think a person should be paid for the role they are looking to fill.
This is very empowering especially if you have not been a great negotiator on your own behalf in the past. Now you have the law working for you assuming you live in:
IF THE COMPANY IS PRESSURING YOU FOR AN ANSWER RIGHT AWAY, I SEE THAT AS A RED FLAG. ASK WHY THE HURRY? THIS IS A BIG DECISION AND YOU DO NOT WANT TO RUSH IT. IF THEY ARE NOT GIVING YOU THE TIME YOU NEED TO MAKE A CONSIDERED DECISION THAT MAY ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW. TURN DOWN THE OFFER AND KEEP LOOKING!
You Still Have Work To DO
No matter what, whether you happen to live in a state that does have a ban against asking about salary histories, in a state that does not have the ban or you live in Michigan or Wisconsin where they have a ban against having a ban, the employer CAN and WILL ask about your salary expectations making sure there is a reason to keep the discussion moving forward.
This means you need to be prepared, slow down and get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
First, do your upfront research and answer their question with questions of your own:
“What have you budgeted for this position?”
“I have done my research and people with similar experience and education are making in the range of $XX,XXX to $XX,XXX in today’s market. Does this fit in line with what you are offering?”
Second, push the pause button once you have an offer.
Most people are uncomfortable with uncertainty. We want to know what is going to happen next, how we should proceed, what if I do this, how about that…
One of the best lessons I learned over the years of negotiating salaries is to hit the pause button.
When you receive an offer, it is always recommended to ask for up to 48 hours to review the details of the offer. You can even ask for longer depending on the role, the timing of receiving the offer and other extenuating circumstances.
In this uncomfortable space, take some time to breathe. Feel the offer. Does it bring you joy? Do you feel excited, lighter, expanded? Or are you experiencing heaviness, constrained or are there warning bells going off?
Third, talk through the offer with someone you trust who knows about these things. It is OK to email during the 48 hours to get further clarification on the offer if you need it. Is there substance behind the warning bells? Is your joy really just relief that someone offered you a job even though you know in your heart it is not the best choice for you? Have a friend give you an alternate viewpoint.
Fourth, give your answer within the allotted timeframe. You do not have to wait until the last minute. Once you have a decision call and accept or turndown. How you feel in this moment will confirm your decision.
In these changing times, with a very bright light being shown into the cracks of how our system for hiring, retaining and advancing women is broken, we need to step into this light, heads up, shoulders back and claim what is ours.
Can I get a Hell Ya!
Does your State have a Salary History Ban in place? Stay informed by visiting HR Dive. They keep a running update as new Salary History bans go into effect either statewide or as a local ban within a state.