The Confidence Factor for Women: Working harder for less

What to do during one critical meeting.

Career advice for women leaders.

(actual letter)

Dear Carol,

I am on a promotion track to a senior level position in my firm. The first 2 rounds of the interview process went very well. Now, it is time to talk salary and I have started to see the writing on the wall already.

I made an initial compensation demand when I applied for the promotion, which I was told would be discussed if we get through the initial qualification interviews. Now that I have passed, the director started a correspondence with me recently stating that “Normally, we start new hires at a base quotient until they have passed the probation period of 2 years.” However, the salary grade is almost 7% more than my current salary, which is extremely low for a senior level position with my new level of responsibilities.

I have a few days to go until the formal conversation, but with all of the correspondence we have had, I see that they are not willing to consider compensating me for my value. I have discussed the countless overtime, holidays I have given up, the sacrifice to my family, and still they do not seem to care. I began to consider taking the 7% for now and waiting the 2 years to see if they will consider the 40% increase I requested. Your thoughts.

Thank you,

Tired of fighting


Dear Tired of Fighting,

Congratulations on making it through the initial round of interviews for your promotion. I completely understand your feeling of battling it out at the negotiation table, and I want to assure you that settling will not work.

In other words, you were promoted to a new level of responsibility with the same level of compensation. There could be a few factors that are contributing to this inconsiderate level of remittance:

  1. They are seeking to include more women at the top, starting with you.
  2. They believe that you care more about the title and role of leadership than the compensation.

I advise thousands of women in the workplace and business, who settle for less compensation just to annex a title to their name. In the end, the decision makers never “pay” more than what you ask for, and by ending the negotiation, you are settling for a premium level contribution with mid level compensation package, a nice parking spot and great office.

Image courtesy of Jopwell

Here are a few key strategies to remember before your meeting:

  • Take the emotion out of the negotiation process for a moment and remember why you are the best candidate for the opportunity.
  • Never use your personal sacrifices as a negotiation strategy.
  • Do your research. Learn the average on-boarding process of your predecessors and their compensation ranges, so you can figure out if you are part of the value gap that hinders women leaders. Use that at your discovery meeting as data.
  • Meet in the middle. They are at 7% and you are at 40%. If there is a guarantee, in writing, that you will have an evaluation meeting midway during your probation period, there is a chance that you can start at 25% and work your way to 40% in one year.

Whatever you decide, settling for less than you are worth is not an option. Women are not encouraged to negotiate, which hinders our ability to close the gap. Remember, how you start will dictate your tenure. Remain firm and make sure they honor your value.

Good luck!

— Carol

Carol Sankar is a high level business consultant and the founder of The Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership, which is a global executive leadership firm focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives for high level women. Carol has been featured at TEDx, The Steve Harvey Show, Bounce TV, Inroads, The Society for Diversity, SHRM, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Homevestors and more. For more details, visit

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