Negotiate Like Your Life Depends on It

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A lot of us when changing jobs or accepting a promotion feel overwhelmed by the offer and either don't ask for more or ask a percentage more than the offer. Let's talk about why that's not enough and how we can change our attitudes towards negotiation.

22 min
09 Mar, 2023

AI Generated Video Summary

The Talk discusses the importance of negotiation, particularly in relation to the gender pay gap and gender parity. It emphasizes the need to address global reasons for negotiation and the impact of inflation and the cost of living. The Talk also highlights the values to consider when negotiating and provides tips on preparing for negotiation, making offers, and discussing perks. Recommended reading and references on negotiation are also provided.

1. Introduction to Negotiation

Short description:

I'm going to talk about negotiation and why we need it. I'll discuss the importance of negotiating based on personal values, how to begin, and what else is up for discussion. I'll also address the gender pay gap and the lack of data for the LGBTQ community.

Hello and welcome to Tech Lead JS. I am Sivangi, and I'm going to talk about negotiation. Why we need it, where do we even start? Who am I? I'm a software engineer in BGSS. I have a bachelor's in computer science and a master's in machine learning and data science. That was mainly because I love science fiction.

I predominantly work with JavaScript and Python. I am an Indian expat living in Newcastle, United Kingdom. I love traveling the world and eating delicious food. I am very passionate about empowering women in tech. I believe representation matters. If you can see it, you can be it.

For the past few years, I have been learning and raising awareness about personal finance among my family and friends. This has been a good opportunity to increase more awareness about basically talking about money. So, today's agenda. We are going to talk about why we need to negotiate. We are going to talk about why you personally need to negotiate and that would be based on your values. We are going to talk about how to begin or where to begin, what to say and also what else is up for discussion, apart from money.

So, why negotiate? I come from a middle class Indian family. We were taught that in order to be happy, you need to be satisfied with what you have. In order to save more for the future, you need to live below your means. Even in current media, it's always about cutting down on coffee and like simple pleasures in life and not about making more money. It has taken a lot of work to unlearn that not having money sucks. I would love to share some of that in today's talk, plus we'll try to normalise talking about money and other perks and we will hopefully see that money does not corrupt.

Now before I start talking about gender pay gap, I want to acknowledge the lack of data for LGBTQ community. I ensure that all these reasons are still true for people in under-represented groups. So this is a report by the International Labour Organisation. On average, women globally are paid about 20% less than men. So we do need to talk about gender pay gap. First of all, it is illegal to pay men and women differently for the same job in most countries. Like in the US, we have the Equal Pay Act.

2. Gender Pay Gap and Gender Parity

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In the UK, there is a high gender pay gap, even in developed countries. Companies with more than 250 employees are required to submit a gender pay gap report, which often highlights the low ratio of women in high-paying leadership roles. Women are underrepresented in senior and middle management positions worldwide. The Department for Work and Pensions has achieved a zero gender pay gap and good representation of women. Their anonymized interview process may be correlated with these outcomes. The Global Gender Gap Report benchmarks gender parity across various dimensions and covers 146 countries.

In the UK, it's the Equality Act. But here we are. This is a graph showing the gender wage gap in different countries. This is from OECD, which is Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. So we can see that even in some first world developed countries, there is a gender pay gap. Also, it is very high.

Particularly in UK, all companies with more than 250 employees are required to submit a gender pay gap report, stating the mean and median difference in the pay and bonuses between men and women in their company. It also includes the ratio of employees at different bands. I did my days of science project on this data. So going through the reports, we found that most companies with a significant pay gap claim that the gap comes from the low ratio of women in high paying leadership roles. Now this reason is kind of also the solution, one of the solutions that could be there for gender pay gap. To minimize the gender pay gap.

Here is a chart showing the proportion of women in senior and middle management positions around the world. It shows that women all over the world are underrepresented in high profile jobs which tend to be better paid. All is not lost so there is one company that I do want to highlight. Let's see how seamlessly this is going to work. This is Department for Work and Pensions. I used to work here before BJSS. They have got their gender pay gap down to zero. Amazing feat. Their representation of women is really good in all quarters. They do have a bonus gap that they are still working on which is something. I would like to go back to my presentation. That was actually quite good. My point here is, DWP's first step of interviews is anonymized. There could be a correlation between them actively trying to be unbiased and the high proportion of women in all levels plus the zero pay gap. Not all correlations are causation but this one just might be. Also the gender parity.

So, their Global Gender Gap Report benchmarks the current state and evolution of gender parity across four key dimensions- economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. These reports started in 2006 and they benchmarked 146 countries.

3. Gender and Racial Pay Gap

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According to them, it will take another 132 years to close the global gender gap. The Racial Pay Gap has worsened over the past 40 years. There is a taboo on talking about salaries, which leads to financial ignorance and reinforces the taboo. We should always negotiate due to global reasons and the impact of inflation and higher cost of living.

According to them, it will take another 132 years to close the global gender gap. Big thing to think about! Now, let's talk about the Racial Pay Gap. This data comes from a paper published by Stephanie Bornstein called Confronting the Racial Pay Gap. You will find it in my references in later slides. These charts show that the Racial Pay Gap in 1979 and 2019 and they show that it has actually gotten worse in the 40 years. Not talking about money, disproportionately affects women and people of color.

And the big one, Taboo on talking about salaries. So there has been a longstanding unspoken taboo on talking about salaries. In a lot of cultures, including mine, it is considered impolite to ask people how much they earn. I do not think this benefits us in any way. We have seen in the previous slides, how not talking about money is creating more gaps. Also, I would like to mention that I love companies that are transparent about salary bans and don't just hope that people would not negotiate and they can get away with paying people less than they are worth. I want to show you this vicious money taboo cycle that I saw in Forbes. It's about like, so there's a taboo on talking about money, which leads to financial ignorance. The financial ignorance leads to us making financial mistakes. We are ashamed about them. So we do not talk about it. We avoid talking about money which reinforces the taboo on talking about money. So the fact that there is a taboo is my number one reason that we should talk about it.

To round it off, these are some of the global reasons why we should always negotiate. There's also inflation and higher cost of living, which one would hope that the company would automatically adjust for. If they do not, bring it up. So this is where we are on the agenda. First we are going to talk about, find your why and align it with your values. Or rather the other way. So time to get a little personal and talk about goals. Take a paper and pen, or whatever you can, and make a list of 10 things that are important to you. Your goals, your values, your priorities. It's okay if you don't want to write, just mentally come up with a few. My main point here is that I want you to know that this is not something new that I'm talking about.

4. Values in Negotiation

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I'm going to talk about the values that are important to consider when negotiating. These values can vary based on personal experiences and beliefs. Some common values include health, relationships, education, retirement, buying a house, children, travel, and social causes. It's important to have your values sorted to know where to focus and ensure that you can fulfill your priorities.

It's already something that you know. And of course these values are going to vary based on your personal experiences and beliefs. I will try to list down some of the common ones, so you can go ahead and pause me and just think about this a little bit. Number one is health. Physical, mental, emotional health. Obviously a big goal, big priority. Relationships, friends and family kind of affect the health as well. Education, including higher education, personal growth and development. I also include hobbies because they do lead to personal development. Retirement. You might have heard of the FIRE movement which is Financial Independence, retire early. Big supporter of retiring early. You do want to enjoy your life and not wait till 65. Buying a house, it could be one of your values, you want to have a house with a yard. Children if you have some, are planning on having some, you want to give them a nice life, you want to set them up for the future, this is one of my value, things I value. Travel, I love traveling. I love learning about new cultures, eating good food, meeting new people, although I am a big introvert, so that, it's weird that I really enjoy meeting people while traveling. Social causes, great thing about the Internet, you can get involved with all the social causes that you are passionate about, you can sponsor artists, you can sponsor developers, you can sponsor a child's education, I am in the UK but I have the ability to sponsor education of children in India which is amazing. You can work for Animal Welfare, and a more accessible world, like, it's kind of annoying how we are ok with how inaccessible the world currently is for a lot of people, and like even in web development I try to have, like, make sure that more and more people can access it and it's not gatekeeping anyone, so that is one of my big values. You might have come up with a lot more.

5. Preparing for Negotiation

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So the point, why did we do this? So looking at these values, it's easy to see that none of them are evil or selfish, most of them require money and time. Like, it would be good if we had more money and time to work on these values. In conclusion, money does not corrupt. Money provides a means to do good for yourself and everyone around you. How to begin? First thing first, we're going to prepare. Research the market rate for your responsibilities. Talk about salaries and perks with your partners, colleagues, and friends. Make a list of your accomplishments. Now, come up with three numbers: the walkaway offer, the target offer, and the ideal offer.

So the point, why did we do this? So looking at these values, it's easy to see that none of them are evil or selfish, most of them require money and time. Like, it would be good if we had more money and time to work on these values. So when you're discussing a promotion or an offer, you need to keep in mind that you're not just asking the market value of the job, you're in fact making sure that you can fulfill your priorities. Having your value sorted would give you a good idea of where to focus.

In conclusion, money does not corrupt. Money provides a means to do good for yourself and everyone around you. Time to talk about the difficult conversations. How to begin? First thing first, we're going to prepare. I need you to go ahead and research the market rate for your responsibilities, the responsibilities you're going to take up. So it's quite simple. Again, Internet's great. You can go and look for the different salary bands on, Glassdoor. These are some really good sites for that. Talk about salaries and perks with your partners, with your colleagues and friends. Even ask people on LinkedIn what they make. want to make these conversations a norm. Everyone tells you to keep forgetting. But make a list of your accomplishments. It's really important. I call mine the brag list. It's really helpful during annual reviews or when you're applying for a promotion or even going for a new job and you have to update that CV that you did not update in a while.

Now that we are prepared, there are a number of tips and tricks to negotiation. But I will talk about the best thing that has actually worked for me. And at this point, getting information and deciding some numbers is going to be really good. So in terms of money, you need to come up with three numbers. These numbers are just for you. You do not tell them to any recruiters or managers or HR people. First of all, this walkaway offer. This is the minimum of what you want or need, whichever is higher. If you're into making budgets or have a general idea about your expenditure, this number is all that plus more so you can get started towards achieving your goals.

6. Negotiation Offers and Self-Worth

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The walkaway offer is the minimum worth. The happy offer is what you actually want. The insanely ridiculous high offer helps you overcome self-limitations. Always negotiate when offered more than your happy number. Research and come up with your own numbers based on your experience and responsibilities.

So we're calling this the walkaway offer because anything less than this is not really worth. Next is the offer you actually want, the happy offer. This is what the best in the industry, that is people like you, should be making. This is the number that helps you achieve your goal a lot faster. And lastly, you need to come up with an insanely ridiculous high offer that may seem unachievable. And why do you need to do that? You would be surprised to know how often we limit our own worth. I mean, imposter syndrome anyone. So this number should help you be okay, help you feel okay to negotiate when you're offered something which is more than your happy number because you should always negotiate. No exceptions. I have purposefully not added any example numbers here. You need to go and research and come up with these based on your own experience. Go and research and come up with these based on your circumstances and the kind of responsibilities you handle at work.

7. Negotiation Tips

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One of the rules of negotiation when going for a new job is to never be the first one to give the salary expectation and never disclose your current salary. When the offer you're given falls between your hell yes and happy offer, it's a very good place to be in. However, we still need to negotiate the benefits. For an average candidate, that salary would be a great place to start. Can we discuss getting a little closer to my happy number? In case you are given something that is close to your walkaway offer, we are not accepting.

One of the rules of negotiation when going for a new job is to never be the first one to give the salary expectation and never disclose your current salary. So you need to ask about the budget the company has for that role. Since you have prepared your own range, you know where that falls and are ready to talk accordingly.

Now, when you're ready to talk, this is what I would like you to do. I want you to be kind, optimistic and honest. It actually does not for just negotiation for any conversation. Good thing to do is be kind, be positive, be optimistic and obviously be honest. So what to say when? I learned this from Allyson Tafel Rabinovitz. She works with women, coaches them to get paid more. I have added a link to her website and the resources towards the end. Hashtag Women supporting other women.

Now, when the offer you're given falls between your hell yes and happy offer, it's a very good place to be in, first of all. We do not just go ahead and accept. There is still something we need to negotiate. Which is the benefits. So, I would go ahead and say something like, I appreciate the offer and look forward to discuss the benefits. You can pick one or two from the list in the next section.

This is where most of us would be. They will get an offer that is close to our happy number. So, here obviously we still want to negotiate and I would say something like this. We are in the same ballpark. For an average candidate, that salary would be a great place to start. However, I fully intend to make an above average contribution and have a demonstrated track record for doing so. This is why we have the accomplishment list. So, can we discuss getting a little close to my happy number? You can use these verbatim. These really work. Like this is a very difficult conversation to have. It's good to have some kind of script before you go into these. And, in case you are given something that is close to your walkaway offer, like more than that, less than that, we are not accepting. More than that.

8. Negotiation and Perks

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So, here, obviously, you have to negotiate. It's important to make it clear that this is below your range. Have a script for difficult conversations. Use your current position as leverage. Get comfortable talking about money. Discuss perks other than pay, such as paid time off, remote work, and training. Ask for what you value most. Start the conversation around perks. The 4-day workweek trials in the UK should be implemented for future employees. Concluding today's talk.

So, here, obviously, you have to negotiate. It's important to make it clear that this is below your range. So, this is what I would say. I am thrilled to be considered because we got a stay positive, but we are very far apart on salary. Could we discuss getting closer to the range you have decided for yourself?

So, again, I would reinforce difficult conversations to have. Have a script for them. You do not want to be taken by surprise and just accept. It always helps to have multiple offers at the same time. You can and actually, you should always also use your current position as a leverage when moving to a different company. This talk is more focused upon getting comfortable talking about money and acknowledging how much it affects our lives. I would link to some resources that I found very useful for detailed tips and on negotiation.

And looking at the agenda, we are almost towards the end. What else is up for discussion? So, there is more on the table. We did the difficult part of deciding the numbers. We are happy with the offer that we got. Now let's talk about the perks. These are some of the perks that are there other than pay. And you'll be surprised to know maybe that these are up for negotiation. Some companies would have a list of perks that they give their employees, which is But since we have a list of priorities at this point and we know which perks make sense to us, we should 100% discuss that. These come directly from what you value most. I would focus on paid time off, working remotely, a training budget plus leadership training. I love doing STEM events for kids, so volunteer days are great for me. And don't cost the company anything. In fact, it helps build the company's reputation. A lot of this depends on the company policy and sometimes you may end up getting a straight up no, we cannot do that. But it always worth asking. Sometimes things that mean a lot to you may not be something that the company has considered and would probably be willing to provide. And if nothing else, at least this starts the conversation around these perks so companies know what employees value today. The 4-day workweek trials happening in the UK, I think we should do it for everyone coming after us. So with that, we conclude today's talk.

9. Recommended Reading and References

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I recommend three books for further reading on negotiation: Never Split the Difference, 10 Rules for Negotiating a Job Offer, and Girls That Invest. These resources provide detailed tips on negotiation and personal finance. Additionally, I have provided a list of references used in the slides.

I do have a few reading recommendations. This is like my favorite book on negotiations. It's called Never Split the Difference, negotiating as if your life depended on it. Kind of ended up copying the, subconsciously copying the name for the talk. Then my 10 rules for negotiating a job offer by Haseeb Qureshi. Again, very very good blog. Very detailed tips on negotiation.

And this last one, Girls That Invest by Siman Sonya. It's a book and they have a podcast. It's about personal finance. Not exactly about negotiation, but when you're making a lot of money, I think concentrating on personal finance would be the next nice thing to do.

Here's a list of references that I have used in the slides. Good stuff. Go ahead. Look through them. And well, that's it. Thank you.

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