By: Luz Collective

Today, November 1st, is Latina Equal Pay Day: the day Latina pay catches up to that of White, non-Hispanic men from the previous year.

November First. As in, the eleventh month of twelve. As in, nearly an extra year. That’s a damn shame, ladies. There are a lot of external factors keeping us down. Don’t even get me started on the rampant bias favoring male job applicants (Wanna get mad? Read this Yale study that showed “John” resumes received $4k higher job offers than identical “Jennifer” resumes).

BUT! There’s a bit of good news. Although there are MASSIVE institutional issues Latinas will have to fight before the playing field truly evens, there are some actionable steps every woman can take to help close the gap through their own career path.

Chief among those is Wage Negotiations.

According to Glassdoor, 68 percent of women accept the salary they are offered without negotiation. That’s 16-percentage points higher than men (at 52%).

I would say it’s insane, but it took me 10 years to finally push back and ask for the salary I knew I deserved. And you know what? The job offers didn’t get pulled away. The salaries went up… and I realized just how much I had been leaving on the table in the past.

Since then, I’ve been passionate about empowering other Latinas to follow suit. So, mujeres, I encourage you to approach your next salary negotiation with the confidence of the average white guy. Actually, scratch that… with the confidence of an ALPHA LATINA.

Here are a few basic steps to make sure you’re getting yours:

1. Research the pay as much as the job. Glassdoor is your best friend here. You can search salaries by job type, seniority, even by city so you know how much people make in your local area. Know what companies and positions pay the most, and if money is your motivator, start there!

2. Make salary the last thing you talk about. You want them to pick you as the candidate regardless of the pay. Make sure you ask plenty of questions during interviews, then position yourself as the best person to fit their unique needs. Help them picture you already sitting in the chair before the dollars and cents come to play.

3. Don’t feel obligated to tell them how much you currently make.  If they ask how much you make, just pivot your answer and say “Instead of sharing the salary at my current job, I’d prefer to focus on the value I can add to this company.” Why? Because sharing what you currently make can undercut a potentially higher offer.

4. Let them make the first offer. This is a biggie! If they ask how much you expect, you can simply respond “I don’t have a specific number in mind…  I evaluate my opportunities based on responsibilities and contribution. You know better than I do what value my skill sets could bring to your company.” Then, if you’d like, toss in a “What’s your range for this role?

5. Know your worth, and ask for it the right way. See step one. By the time you get an offer, you should already know what you require. If they come in under your expectations, let them know! But like my mom used to say, “Todo se puede decir, pero depende en la manera que se dice”. MEANING – don’t turn it into a fight; it’s all about how you say it. Don’t turn it into an ultimatum. First, let them know you are excited that they’ve chosen you and made an offer. Then let them know what your expectation is, and why you feel you deserve it. Use sources like Glassdoor to offer ranges of other folks in the market, highlight unique skills and experience you bring (for example… are you bilingual?), etc. Make it clear you have reasons for asking for more.

6. Negotiate more than just salary. People often forget that the value companies deliver is through more than just a paycheck! With most companies, there are several points of negotiation. For instance – if their salary is locked at a certain point, work in an extra week of vacation (I’ve done it!). If it’s a startup, ask about stock options. Ask for commissions on sales. Ask for professional development opportunities, like partial payment of night classes or certifications. Ask for a mid-year salary bump assessment (ex: after 6 months of meeting job requirements, you get the extra 5% you asked for).

7. Close the deal. Once you get close, let them know you want the job. Make it clear. “I understand you can’t meet me at $75k. If you can meet me at $70,000 + 3% commission, I’m on board.”

In conclusion – know your worth, expect it, think beyond dollars and cents, and then deliver. In the words of our girl Gina Rodriguez….

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