432 more years… that’s what the American Association of University Women (AAUW) says it will take Latinas to achieve equal pay. 

This year Latina Equal Payday is December 8 — six weeks later than last year — and serves as a reminder of the increasingly widening pay gap Latinas face in the United States. In fact, Latinas are paid 49 cents for every dollar paid to white men, less than any other demographic according to AAUW. 

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As a Latina and senior recruiter at LinkedIn, I know first-hand the impact pay inequity can have on a woman’s career, professional growth and overall net worth. Throughout my career, I’ve had times where I’ve arrived earlier and left later than colleagues, just to earn a fraction of what my peers make. I’m not alone. This is the reality for many Latinas, and there are many factors that contribute to this trend, including systemic barriers and academic inequities.

In today’s age of economic uncertainty, compensation conversations are happening earlier in the job search process. It’s important for Latinas to be prepared to speak about salary at a moment’s notice. If you are headed into negotiations for a new role, asking for a raise in your current role, or switching careers, here are some tactical ways to increase your success.

Research is the foundation for good negotiation 

Preparation is one of the top rules going into any interview and salary negotiation, so it’s important to do your research.

Take the job title and compare it to other similar titles on LinkedIn or other sites that offer salary insights. Rather than asking for an unspecified salary or raise, know the percentage or monetary amount you’re looking for. Note what other companies and industries are offering for similar roles. On LinkedIn, members can currently access salary information by leveraging the Salary job search filter to identify relevant job opportunities by pay range.

As part of your research, reach out to your network and mentors as they can provide advice, negotiating tips, and additional market analysis that can be instrumental in your research.

Also, start to get comfortable asking around how much others earn in similar roles. Reach out to old professors, former colleagues, peers, or that former manager who took an interest in your career. That’s why it is very important that we think about nurturing and growing our network, especially on LinkedIn, so we know who to turn to when the moment comes. 

Balancing act: your finances x market landscape 

Having an understanding of market rates and your finances will help you determine your ideal pay range and total compensation package, creating a good starting point when thinking about negotiating pay.

To start, take a good look at your finances as that will help guide you with what you need to earn in order to maintain or improve your standard of living. For example, if you are considering relocating from Florida to California, you want to take into account cost of living, state income tax, transportation, to name just a few factors.

Ask yourself questions like, “How much do I need to bring home in order to pay my bills?” Also, think about your savings, investments, and any other financial priorities. This will help you determine how much you need to earn and will help you craft your walk away number (the lowest offer — base salary and/or total compensation that you are willing to accept). 

Having this knowledge in advance will help you in negotiation and not get caught off-guard when someone asks you about your compensation expectations. While you do not have to give out exact numbers on the first call, you will be better prepared when you ask, “What is the salary range and overall compensation package for this role?”

Use direct language

It is important to use direct language when negotiating your salary. I always appreciate it when a candidate tells me exactly what they need and what they are looking for without using filler words.

A great response sounds like “I’m glad you asked. My salary range is between ___ and ____. Does that fall in line with what you are offering for this role?” Part of my responsibility is to be your partner and advocate. If you tell me exactly what you need, I can let you know if this is the right position, at the right leveling for you.

Feel comfortable asking about benefits, short-and-long-term incentives, variable compensation, and sign-on bonus.

Remember, your salary is not only your base but your total compensation package. You should never end the conversation with, “but I’m open to negotiation.” Instead, try “I have enjoyed this conversation very much. I look forward to learning more about the scope, impact, and responsibilities of this position and continuing the compensation conversation further down the line.”

Do not be afraid to ask the interviewer what their budget is for the role.

Know your worth

You can only avoid discussing actual numbers for so long.

Having a clear understanding of what that number is before going into the interview and negotiation process helps ensure that you are not settling and taking less than what you deserve.

As you are considering your ideal salary range and walk-away number, ask yourself questions like, “What makes me different or special?” “What are my soft and hard skills?” Maybe you speak more than one language, or have a lived experience that will help you relate to clients or stakeholders. Making sure you tell your professional story via your skills, experience, and what you uniquely bring to an organization makes you special and uniquely qualified for the role. 

Conducting research, advocating for yourself, and using effective, clear communication goes a long way when engaging in salary negotiations — especially for women of color. Today, there are many tools and resources that can help Latinas better prepare and advocate for the salary they want.

For example, LinkedIn Learning provides a number of online, on-demand courses focused on salary negotiation, compensation package, negotiating with confidence, interview preparation, asking for a raise and so many more that can help you upskill your negotiation and interviewing skills. Additionally, engage in conversations with your mentors and networks, join Groups and Newsletters on LinkedIn, and follow experts and creators who are talking about gender and pay equity. The better prepared you are to discuss compensation on every call, the more successful you will be when asking for what you deserve. 

In our efforts to bring awareness to Latina pay disparity, LinkedIn will offer the following courses for free through January 8, 2023.

Don’t forget to tap into your community for guidance, advice and support in advocating for pay equity in the workplace. Good luck!