Start smart salary negotiation for students

Associate Director of the Women's Center, Kathy Fischer, leads a Start Smart workshop for building salary negotiating skills for women on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2016. In one quoted statistic, women make about 10% less than a man after working the same job for two years. (Bill Heyne/The Daily Campus)

On Nov. 15 the Women’s Center held a salary negotiation workshop facilitated by associate director Kathy Fischer.  The workshop comes from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and it aims to close the pay gap by equipping women with knowledge in research and negotiation strategies in order to successfully negotiate their salary, a promotion and benefits.

The event began with completion of a pre-workshop survey, which would also be the post workshop survey. The opening data included seven percent of women are making less than men and after 10 years the gap increases to 12 percent less than men.

To guide you through the material an attendee workbook was given. It contained resources, questions, data and worksheets for budgeting and salary negotiation. Fischer began with a question from the workbook “What about negotiating your salary and benefits gives you anxiety?” A response included, “I fear not succeeding at the negotiations, in short the rejection.”

The four steps given to a salary negotiation are knowing your value, benchmark your salary and benefits, know your strategy and practice.

In addition to the negotiation component, a key role is knowing your value, then you can create a resume to best match the position. An activity to read over a resume along with a job description allowed students to discuss the candidate's qualifications that can help in benchmarking a salary.

However, in order to come up with a reasonable salary a realistic budget should be put together. Essential expenses, financial goals and obligations along with flexible spending helps to prepare you to negotiate and to establish a bottom line that is necessary in considering a job or raise.

The event ended with an interactive role-playing of an employer and employee. Students had the chance to negotiate a starting salary to a target salary.

“This experience helped prepare me for future employment opportunities and even helped boosted my confidence,” first-semester student Olivia Miller said.

Salonie Dave, a seventh-semester physiology and neurobiology major, highly recommends the workshop, because as a senior he has begun looking for a job, and this is the first time hearing about salary negotiation.

“I found specific tools to use when at the negotiation phase and appreciated the resources such as salary.com. Being familiar with the employer and employee side, I would recommend this workshop to all students,” graduate student Kelsey Keefe said.

In closing remarks, associate director Kathy Fischer expressed her hope that the participants came away from the workshop knowing their worth.

The Women’s Center will host this workshop again in spring 2017. A date will be announced on the website and the center is open for any role-playing or salary negotiation preparation.


Sharon Sorto is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at sharon.sorto@uconn.edu.