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Career Development

Kunjal Tanna speaking at TECH(K)NOW Day in March, 2017
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About this talk

You will learn about: salary negotiation for women (including talks about new regulations coming up on equal pay), confidently applying for a job you don’t have ALL the skills for (yet), areas you should consider developing skills in, presenting yourself well in interview, how to get the most out of your relationship with your recruiter, re-entering the workforce after a break, making your CV stand out.


- Hi guys, I'm Kunjal. I've been a recruiter for the last 15 years working in the UK and the US. This is a picture of me from the Houston Rodeo. Facebook reminded me of this this morning so I thought I'd share it with you guys it normally gets a few laughs, so before I get too serious talking about negotiation, I thought I'd share that with you. In my job as a recruiter, negotiation's always played a really, really huge part of my role. I'm going to talk to you guys today about why as women we need to negotiate more and how to get better at it. I'm not a big fan of public speaking, so I'm actually gonna get a video to do some of the work for me to start. - One pint please. - There you go. - One full pint please. - That is a full pint. - I'd like to take this please. - That's 10 pounds please. - [Man] What have you done? - So that's not cool, right? The good news, if you can call it good news, is that since that video was made, the gender pay gap has gone down to 18%. For you maths and numbers nerds out there, 20 years ago, the number was up as high as 27.5%. We're making progress but the real good news is that the government has mandated that as of April next year, any company that employs 250 or more people need to publish their pay data. We'll get a lot more transparency in terms of which industries are actually short changing us. But the fact remains that as it stands despite the fact that in 1970, the equal pay act was passed. Equal pay act basically prohibits any less favourable treatment of women in the workplace as it relates to pay or working conditions. Despite that, the gender pay gap does still exist. According to Fawcett who made that video, it'll take some 60 years to equalise it. Why does the pay gap exist? There's quite a few factors that contribute. First of all, there's out and out discrimination. Call it institutional sexism. But there's also the fact that women take on a disproportionate amount of the caregiving responsibilities for families. It shouldn't really be any surprise that the pay gap is bigger for women in their 40s than it is for younger women because guess what women go off to do when they're in their 20s and 30s? They go and have babies and they look after their families. There's also the fact that there is a concentration of women in those lower paying professions. Care work and leisure and at the opposite end of the scale those most senior positions are taken up largely by men. To this day there is still less than 10 female chief execs in FTSE 100 companies. What I'm going to talk about today is the fact that as women we are less likely to negotiate. There's actually quite a lot of debate as to whether that statement is true, but my personal opinion is that given the same situation, women are much less likely to go back and ask for more money. Of course that doesn't apply to every single person. I think there are some really, really good negotiators but because it is something that is quite an inherent problem for women, I think it's something important to get discussed. Let's look at two university graduates. We've got Ben and Laura. Ben and Laura went to the same university. They did the same degree. They had the same summer jobs. They've got exactly the same experience and they've just graduated. They interview for the same job. That job's offering between 25 and 30,000 pounds a year. They both do really well in the interview. They both get offered a job and they get offered 28,000 pounds each. So what happens is Laura is delighted. She's really, really happy. She thinks it's a generous offer. It's a great company, so she gladly accepts the role. Ben also loves the company. Thinks it's a really, really good brand name. Thinks that he respects the people that work at the company and he's got a lot to learn from the people who work there, but he goes back to ask for more money, because job spec says they'll pay up to 30,000 pounds. So he asks for more money and he ends up walking away with an offer of 29,000 pounds. It's just a difference of 1,000 pounds, right? What's the difference in the grand scheme of things? Well actually it's a huge difference because like Ben 57% of men will go back and negotiate on the initial offer that they get compared to just 7% of women. Regardless of gender, people who do go back and negotiate on the original offer will walk away on average with an additional 7% on top of the offer that was first made. Lady called Linda Babcock who wrote the book Women Don't Ask, she puts it like this. If you think of a salary of 100,000 pounds and one person goes in and negotiates and comes away with 107,000 and the other one doesn't, well then what's the cost of that? You might be sitting there thinking, well it's 7,000 pounds, it's not exactly a number that's worth risking my reputation over. But that's not exactly how you should be looking at that negotiation, at that number. Right, because that 7,000 pounds is compounded. If both you and your male counterpart who went in to negotiate that salary end up working at that company and you get treated equally throughout your time there. You get promotions at the same time, you get the same salary increases, then 35 years later, you're gonna need to work an extra eight years to be financially as well off as your male counterpart who's been negotiating all that time. I get it, 7,000 pounds isn't really a number that's worth risking your reputation over, but for me, eight years of your life, that definitely is. Let's go back to Ben and Laura. They're both in their dream jobs, slightly different salaries. In their first two years working for that company, Ben asks for a pay rise four times. He doesn't get it every single time, but it doesn't stop him from asking again and again. In that same space of time, how many times do you think Laura asked? She asked once. And that one time that she asked, she asked for a third of the total that Ben asked for. That's how the pay gap keeps growing. From the very first job offer that Ben got, and every time he gets an opportunity to negotiate, Ben goes in and asks for more and more and more, and sometimes he comes away with a little bit more. That pay gap does keep growing. A few more years pass and both Laura and Ben are doing really, really well at work. Their bosses trust them, they give them really, really exciting projects to work on. Their clients love them. They're at that kind of middle management kind of level and they're working their way up the career ladders, so life's good. Their prospects are looking good. Laura is delighted when she discovers that she's pregnant. Weirdly right around the same time that Ben's girlfriend is pregnant. Laura goes off on maternity leave. In the 12 months that she takes to have a baby and care for the baby, Ben's still at work, and guess what? He asks for a couple more pay rises. He's got another mouth to feed now, so why wouldn't he? So then Laura comes back to work and she is ready to give it her all. She's really, really excited to stretch herself and get involved in those complex projects that she was working on before she went off to have her baby. But she's the main caregiver in her family. I know that's not always the case, but more often than not, the responsibility for caring for children does fall with the mother and it does in Laura's case. She can't necessarily work the same hours that she used to before she had the baby. She needs to get home in time to feed the kids, and bathe them, so she can't really be at work in the evenings wining and dining clients. Laura goes to talk to her boss to talk through her options, you know, to talk about whether she can have a flexible working condition. Can she work from home a couple of days a week? And her boss says to her she'll try and work with her to try and figure things out and to make it work, but for this job and for this specific team, she needs to be available in the evenings and a part time schedule just can't work. What she suggests is Laura interviews with another team where the demands on her time are gonna be a little bit less demanding I guess and she can definitely get home on time to look after her children in the evenings. But she will have to earn less money than she used to. Laura has to choose between taking the more demanding job that she loves and the one that pays her less but allows her to care for her family. For some women, that choice is made harder, really I should say the choice is made easier by the fact that child care is so expensive that quite often women are financially better off taking the lower paying job so they don't have to pay for nannies. Laura takes the less exciting, more practical job and that pay gap between her and Ben grows even bigger. It's not that she's not ambitious, she's just working with the options that she has in front of her. Remember she even asked her boss to try and figure out a way that she can stay on this career path that she wants to be on. The one that's more demanding, more exciting, so that she and Ben can continue on that same journey. That's part of the problem. Those top jobs, the ones that pay the most, they don't really favour flexible working. The top of that corporate career ladder is quite a hostile place for women who are looking to balance their caregiving responsibilities and demanding career. I know that not everyone's story is Laura's story. I'm sure there are women here today who have gone back to work after having their families and they're enjoying amazing career success and they get to spend tonnes of time with their family. I don't doubt that at all. I'm not here to talk about whether or not women can have it all. I'm really talking more about where and how the gender pay gap does keep on perpetuating itself. So let's backtrack. Remember Ben kept asking for pay rises all the time. Well why didn't Laura do the same? Well quite often it's because women don't want to appear to be greedy. We're raised quite often to believe that asking for money is a selfish trait. Sometimes it's because women don't want to risk their reputation with the person that they're asking. Whether it's their boss or their client or sometimes even their friend. One of the other reasons is that a lot of the people believe that women are better at negotiating for others than they are for themselves. In my career so far, I have managed some really, really exceptional salespeople and one of them's a girl called Karen. She is truly a fierce and fantastic recruiter. She's got really, really high belief in her service, in her expertise. When it comes to her justifying to a client why they should pay her a 30% fee instead of a 20% fee, she never ever fails. Right, because she believes in what she's offering the client. Similarly, if she's negotiating significant salary increase on behalf of one of her candidates, she never has a problem. She's really, really good at making customers feel good about quite often paying more than what they've originally come back with. But really at making them feel good about paying above what their budget number was. I can safely say she is better at negotiation on other people's behalf than any other guy I've ever managed but when it came to negotiating her end salary, she'd really, really struggle. She'd get really flustered and she'd get really combative and totally unlike the consultative person I'd hear on the phone to clients. My lesson to Karen was, look, it's okay to ask for more and it's okay to ask for more for yourself. But you need to do it in a way where we both go away feeling like we got a fair deal. If you throw around ultimatums, you're gonna make me resent you and that's not gonna get either of us anywhere. So for those of you who can relate to Karen and feel like it's easier to negotiate on other people's behalf, I've got a few things for you to think about. First of all, it's okay to ask for more and ask for more for yourself. Because you're not actually asking, you're trading or you're bartering, you're exchanging. I really encourage you to dehumanise your skills. Literally think of them as physical objects in front of you. So whether that's a new handbag, a pair of shoes, a sports car, a new kitchen, whatever that looks like, whatever works that helps you see them they're in front of you. Think of them individually and what is the value of each of those things. Everything has a price, so what's the monetary value of each of those things that are in front of you because they're for sale. You're not asking, you're presenting a set of skills that are available for exchange on the open market. But if you still struggle with asking for yourself then think of who else is relying on you having a positive result out of this conversation you're about to have. I've talked quite a lot about negotiating for salary but you can negotiate for so many things. Flexible working conditions, additional responsibilities, additional training, who else is relying on you getting a win out of this conversation? Does it mean if you end up with a better salary you can take your kids on that trip to Disney that you've wanted to take them on. Or does it mean you get to treat your best friend to a spa weekend for her birthday that's coming up. Or does the extra time in that flexible schedule you've agreed, does that mean you get to spend time caring for your elderly parents? If that's what works for you, then that's okay too. But if you struggle with that and if that fails then remember that it's your responsibility, it's our responsibility to womenkind to negotiate for more because the gender pay gap exists and it's up to every single one of us to ask for more so that we shrink that pay gap until it diminishes. Before I go through a process that should help you negotiate more confidently and more effectively, I wanna see if any of you identify with either of these two negotiators. First of all, we've got Polly the people pleaser. She doesn't like confrontation. She doesn't want to appear to be greedy or overly concerned with material wealth or motivated by money. She's really worried if she asks for more than she's gonna ruin that relationship that she's been building with her boss. She's already decided what the answer's gonna be. It's not gonna be a yes, so what's the point in asking anyway? Then there's Karen the combat soldier. We've already met Karen. Karen's approach to negotiating for herself was it's a battle and only one person can win. To all of you people who relate to either of those characters, I wanna say that it should always be a fair trade. Both parties should walk away feeling like they've won. A negotiation is just a discussion that allows two parties to come to an agreement. It impacts both parties so it should be mutually beneficial. Think of it like this, what's best for my employer and what's best for me and how do I get those two things to co-exist. The conversation should go something like this. If you do X, I'll do Y, or vice versa. If you're Polly and you don't negotiate, even though you're not overjoyed with the offer that you've got, then guess what, that feeling of dissatisfaction and resentment is just gonna keep growing. If you're like Karen, don't make the other person resent you. You don't wanna walk into a negotiation thinking let me see what I can get out of these assholes, I'm gonna milk them dry. You want them to value you. You want them to respect you. You want them to promote you. You want them to give you exciting projects to do. You've got to work with these people after this conversation is over. You need to reframe that mindset and think, you know what, I like this job, I like this company, I wanna be successful here. My employer wants and needs me to be successful. So what does that look like for both of us and how do we reach that state of equilibrium? Here's how in five steps. First of all prepare, don't wing it. Take the time to think about and research anything that could impact the decision the other person makes. What are they likely to push back on. What are competitors doing? What's going on at the company right now that might bear into the decision? Figure out the value of each of those skills that you've visualised in front of you. Look online or talk to a recruiter. Basically what you're doing is benchmarking your skills, but be careful when you're benchmarking because if you're asking your network and your network is made up of almost entirely of women which it likely will be because women tend to network with women. Then you're probably not gonna get a fair market value for your skills. So once you've done your research, you can set some boundaries. Those boundaries should be based on the facts that you've gathered, not just your emotions. The most important thing to figure out there is your breaking point. Your no deal point, the point of which you're going to walk away from the conversation because you're not getting what you want. You also need to establish in your mind that zone in which the trade's gonna happen, the negotiation zone. That's the range of salaries that based on your research, you think are fair and you'd be happy to accept. Remember, your boss is probably preparing as well. They're probably prepared to say no to your first request. Plan to negotiate with no. Remember Ben asked for four pay raises and he only got two, but it didn't stop him from asking again and again. Rather than being put off by a no, question it. If you asked for a pay raise and your boss says no, rather than get annoyed with her, ask her calmly how she's come to that decision. It may be that she has expectations of you around a specific project and once that's been completed, she'd be happy to grant the pay rise. Or it maybe that she's waiting for some budget numbers to come through and when they've come through in three or four weeks, she'd be happy to revisit the conversation. A no to your request, it shouldn't be seen as the end of your conversation, it should be seen as the beginning and that way you can turn those no's into a not entirely or not a yet. Also make sure you've got several different proposals planned, so let's just say you're going in to ask for a salary increase and a bonus review in six months. Well what if they come back and they offer you a salary increase but less than you were going in for, but they offer you a bonus review in three months. Well have you worked the numbers to figure out whether that's actually a good deal for you? If you do that ahead of time, then you'll have a plan for when you hear a no, you've got some alternatives that are already in front of you. Now you're ready to get into that negotiation. To take the lead and start the conversation. Think about the words that you've used. Don't apologise for it, welcome the conversation. It should sound something like, thanks for taking the time to meet with me. What I'd like to discuss with you today is and then whatever you're looking to negotiate. Make eye contact with the person you're talking to. I know a lot of these things sound quite trivial but your body language and your frame of mind when you enter into this conversation is gonna have a really huge impact on how confidently you can conduct that conversation. And then ask first. Statistically if you're the person who puts a proposal number out first, you're more likely to walk away with a favourable result. That applies for whoever puts that number out there first. Whether it's you or the person you're negotiating with. Confidently lay your proposal, your number out in front of the person first. Has anyone ever heard of the term called anchoring? One hand, two hands, two people have heard me this morning. All right, I'll explain then. Anchoring is when we become obsessed with the first piece of information that we get. It's so, so powerful. This is how our brain works. It gets information, it sees something or it hears something and it processes that information and it files it away. Let's just say for example you go into negotiate your salary with the boss. You've done your research, you've done your planning and you know that your skills, that you are worth 60,000 pounds and that's what you're going in, you're aiming to get that. You go back and forth with your boss. In that conversation, your boss comes up with a figure and says, I'm ready to offer you 52,000 pounds. Before you've said you're looking for 60,000 pounds. Now you know that 52,000 is less than what you're hoping for and it's less than what you're worth, but now 52,000 pounds is where the negotiation starts from because that's the number that's out there on the table. That 60,000 pounds is still sitting in your head. In the conversation that you and your boss have from now, you both keep saying the number, 52,000 pounds, 52,000 pounds, and you both become anchored to that number. You can ask them to justify or explain how they came to that 52,000 pounds and they'll be able to because they will have planned. They will have prepared to explain how they've come up with that number. You could end up in a situation where your boss suggests 52,000 pounds and you're thinking, well I wanted 60,000 pounds but now that sounds like a really weird number to say when they said 52,000. It sounds like such a long way, so I don't know, I'll meet them somewhere in the middle. I'll ask them for 55,000 pounds. Even though you know that you're worth 60,000 pounds. If you think that you're too smart to get anchored, then think again because the demographic that's most likely to get anchored is educated professionals who think they're too smart to get anchored. In a salary negotiation, don't allow your boss to come up with a number first. Get in the driver seat and ask for what you want for. If your boss is smart and let's face it, she probably is because she hired you, she's probably, her first offer probably isn't gonna be the best offer she can come up with. It's probably gonna be something fair, but not at the top end of her budget. Similarly, the first number that you ask for shouldn't be the one that you actually want. You need to ask for a tiny, tiny bit more. I always say that your first offer should make your boss feel ever so slightly uncomfortable. It should be just in their no deal point because everyone likes to feel like they've been met in the middle. Right, no one likes to feel like I gave everything away. You wanna feel like your boss met you somewhere and they wanna feel like you met them somewhere. If you ask for a little bit more, you're much more likely to get into that zone. Obviously you need to make it something that's not ridiculous and not that uncomfortable. We already talked about planning for when you hear no but also prepare to say no. You don't need to be rude or loud about it, but if that number that they come up with doesn't fall within your negotiation zone, so the range of salaries that you said you'd be willing to accept, then politely tell the person that it's not gonna work for you and ask them to come up with another offer. But be prepared to walk away if they don't come up with what's fair for you. For your final step, seal the deal, formalise it, get it written down, get it signed, get it documented and returned. That's it, in five steps, how to negotiate like a boss. I'll open it up for questions. - [Woman] Wonderful, thanks very much Kunjal. Any questions? - [Woman] Hi, so as a young person just starting out, that really alarmed me that the fact that the pay gap starts that early. How do you manage the demands of, everyday I feel so much pressure to get a job? I worry about it constantly. I feel like it's going to make me be like, anything, I'll take anything and then I'm somehow behind all my male colleagues and then I'm sitting there 10 years from now, and be like, what just happened? How do you manage that emotional side of it? - First of all, you're gonna get a job, so don't worry about that, okay? No one likes desperation. Have some value in terms of what you do. For me, it is all about preparing. It's that preparation around what are your skills worth? Take the gender out of the picture. What are your skills worth? If you look at a job description, what are they prepared to pay and that's kind of your starting point of the negotiation. They're not going to retract a job offer because you ask for more money. For clients, it is a really, really painful process to recruit, it takes a really long time to find the right person. If somebody goes back and asks for a little bit more money, they're more than likely to give them a little bit more money, maybe not everything that they ask for, but a little bit more because it's easier to do that than it is to start from scratch and have to start looking for a new candidate right from the beginning. Don't worry too much about what they're going to say, you've got nothing to lose and everything to gain by asking them. The worst thing they can say is do you know what, we can't honour that and you ask them to explain why. - [Woman] You advised to ask first for a salary and get the upper hand in anchoring. There are some job ads out there which do publish salary beforehand. If I see that number and I'm not quite happy with that and I actually want more, is it okay to apply and go and ask more? - Totally, 100%, it's the same answer, right? When employers are hiring, they've got their dream candidate in their head. Nine times out of 10, they're not going to pay what their dream candidate wants. If they see their dream candidate, you're dangling the carrot in front of them and all of a sudden they're like, you know what, what is it gonna take to get this person? I'll do what I need to do. It's not always going to happen and a lot of clients will have quite strict budgets that they just can't go beyond but ask the question. - [Woman] I agree with everything, but I noticed that your presentation puts all the responsibility on the woman candidates that doesn't ask for pay rise I'm going to give you a real situation that happened to me. I work on a contract basis and the client at the time offered me a full time position and the same happened to a friend of mine who was also a contract and got a similar offer but different things we're not competing for the same job. We both ask for more money especially because it's contracts are quite lucrative and permanent positions are not. The HR of the agency say to me, we do not negotiate, this is what we have. Either you take it or leave it, I left it happily. I of course making more money contracting. But this friend of mine was male. He negotiated and he got 20% of the original offer. So that makes me believe, although not a lot of HR people are prepared to negotiate with women 'cause they look at you and it's like I'm sorry, we do not negotiate with you, even if you ask. It is quite, what can you do? - I hate to say it but I think you're right. There is still, I don't know if anyone sat through the unconscious bias video earlier, but there is still a lot of unconscious bias and unfortunately that's a little bit outside of our hands in terms of what we as women can do. But I think you did the right thing to walk away from it because it set in a precedent for what you're prepared to take and what the company should expect to do to get somebody like that. I'm sorry that that happened to you. - [Woman] No, no, no, it was fine. I'm still making way more money than this guy. - Good. So you won. - [Woman] Brilliant, great, thanks Thanks very much, Kunjal.