top of page

California Bans Salary Question

Updated: Feb 4

California joined a growing list of states that are or have banned the salary question. Starting January 1, 2018, all employers are prohibited from asking current salary. And (this is big) if asked, are required to disclose a pay range for the job. Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, and Oregon passed similar laws with many more anticipated. This new law addresses an important issue of bridging the gender gap; however, is only a small step in the right direction.

Per Cara Heilmann, Founder of Ready Reset Go, “In the 20 plus years I’ve made employment offers, only one man did not negotiate. However about a third of the women did not.” Heilmann believes this reluctance to negotiate has more to do with the gender pay gap than a company’s attempt to lowball candidates coming from a lower wage.

When we speak with women and ask why they hesitate to negotiate a job offer, we hear these fears…

“What if it is a deal breaker?”

“What if I turn them off?”

“I wouldn’t know what to ask for.”

And the most prominent comment in our anecdotal study of asking women why they hesitate to negotiate is the comment, “I’m just happy to get an offer.”

Many women fear that if they negotiate hard, they will come across as too aggressive. “I recall one female executive who did just that,” said Heilmann. “Her negotiating tactics were definitely more aggressive. But, that wasn’t a big deal. What was surprising was that it was counter to the person we’ve come to know--and love--during the interview process.” Is there a way to negotiate hard but be true to ourselves?

“Amy did just that,” said Heilmann. “She was our top pick for an executive spot and she was an exceptional negotiator.” Heilmann recalls that through the entire back-and-forth process, Amy remained firm, resolute, and the amazing person the team was excited to bring on board. How did Amy do that?

Here are a few tips we recommend to ace the salary negotiation:

Tip # 1: Know your value. Research what other companies are paying someone like you. Come in the negotiation knowing what people like are getting paid. There are a few free sites that offer this information. There are also paid sites. However, the best information comes from networking.

Tip # 2: Know what should be on the table. If you are changing industries or types of companies (e.g., non-profit to profit), you might not be aware of what is typically offered. Do research and find out what should be on the table before an offer is made.

Tip # 3: Gather facts when an offer is made. Have the list prepared from the prior step and ask, “Is this included? Yes? What would that look like?” Get as much information about the offer when the offer is made. Ask for details.

Tip # 4: Show sincere appreciation and excitement. Companies know the negotiation is part of the process. And they are expecting you to attempt to negotiate. Continue to show your enthusiasm for the role so they know that you are still very interested in the company.

Tip # 5: Ask for time to consider the offer. A weekend? Or 24 hours? Time for you pull back and look at the entire offer.

Tip # 6: Talk with someone knowledgeable and unbiased. There are very few people we can talk to about a job offer that would be knowledgeable and unbiased. Of course we would recommend that you speak with a certified career coach with a strong reputation.

Tip # 7: Come back with one ask. Do not demand. Simply ask, “Is it possible to consider…based on my research...could we look at these items?” And ask once. There may be some negotiation after your ask. But don’t be that person who comes back with one thing after another. And once the negotiation is done…

Tip # 8: Be prepared with your response. What will be your answer when the company comes back with their best offer? Know what you will say so you do not drag it out.

Although we believe the hesitancy to negotiate contributes to the gender gap, men struggle with this as well. We’ve helped both men and women gain greater confidence about negotiating. If you are interested in learning more, contact us for details

6 views0 comments


bottom of page