The Silence around Salary and Why Women Should Break It

It’s important for women to be willing to talk about salary.  Remaining silent keeps us trapped in current limitations.  If we are not comfortable discussing salary, we will avoid initiating negotiations with employers and we won’t share useful data points with those we know, like and trust.

This infographic by Turbo (below) shares some of the reasons women don’t talk about money and how to break the silence.  It gives data suggesting the origins of the issue and how it’s adding up to a wealth disparity.  I appreciate that the visual ends on a hopeful note by sharing some tips and ways we can all benefit.  Let me elaborate on a few of the tips.

Speak to colleagues (#1) – Talking to others is a great way to informally benchmark salary information (it’s most useful if you seek out those who hold similar roles in comparable organizations).  I know it’s not an easy ask and you need to approach it in a tactful manner.  Since it is a tough topic, start with people you know well and trust.  I practice this by sharing my hourly rate with colleagues who ask.  In return, many are happy to share their rate when I conduct periodic market research for my industry.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate pay (#3 and 4) –  And be prepared when you ask! You can read a previous post I wrote that shares preparation strategies on finding your leverage and doing market research. I learned much of what I know about salary negotiation from Karen Chopra (her book and training).  I can say from personal experience, her tactics work!

The data shows it’s in your best interest to try to negotiate your salary:

  • Surveys consistently suggest that men are more likely to negotiate than women and that those who attempt it are often successful. In fact,’s 2011 survey stated that 84% of employers expect candidates to try.
  • Linda Babcock who wrote Women Don’t Ask suggests the price of not negotiating your first job can range from $500,000 (for men) to 2 Million (for women) over your lifetime.

Encourage frank conversations:

  • If you are in HR, speak up when you see gaps that seem discriminatory or suspicious. Advocate for fair pay practices.
  • Share information with your colleagues (you can give a range rather than an exact figure if that’s more comfortable).
  • If there is a girl in your life, begin the conversation and share resources she can use to become more comfortable with negotiating salary.
  • If you are a working woman, challenge yourself to ask for a raise or to negotiate the next time you receive a job offer.



Photo by Alexander Mils from Pexels

Infographic by Turbo