4 Super Research Strategies for Getting What You're Worth in Tech
“Most tech women think they need more confidence and better skills” to land the roles and salaries that bust them out of the wage and leadership ghetto in tech fields.
That’s according to Lauren Hasson, founder of DevelopHER, who has been flying around the country—quite literally—speaking,and on a mission to help women peel back the curtain on what it really takes to forge a path in the tech world, and to be the CEO of their own careers.
GROUND YOURSELF IN DATA
I sat down to talk with Hasson, who is also a software engineer in financial tech with 17 been-there-done-that years under her belt, to ask her specifically about salary research as the path to asking with confidence. We both roll our eyes about the never-ending stream of articles and posts advising women to speak up but don’t be too strong, sell yourself but don’t brag, do somersaults and pirouettes, but don’t make others feel less-than, etc.
To quell all that noise and enter into a salary conversation with your feet firmly planted, Hasson says, “you need to ground yourself in data,” and she offers four strategies for gathering data “so comprehensive that even your inner critic won’t be able to dispute it.”
Gather Data on Salary Sites: While most people are familiar with sites like glassdoor.com and salary.com, the key is to not only research your title, but like titles. If you’re a software engineer, you might also look at product engineer, or product developer. And, go up the ladder and look at senior and director level salaries—not only to get a sense of the trajectory, but to determine what role/title might actually fit your experience, education, strengths and skills.
Gather Public Information: You can gather a lot of intel by peeling through the company’s website, focusing on “our people” to get a sense of leadership, depth of expertise, apparent hiring strategies, hierarchy, gender balance, etc. Googling for company news on leadership, funding cycles, growth, hiring, layoffs, company culture, etc. (Crunchbase might be helpful here.) This information will reveal pain points that you may be uniquely poised to solve.
Gather Information from Your Network: To increase your chances of stepping out of the wage gap box, ask your male colleagues inside and outside your company what they are making or expect to make, and reach out to hiring managers and recruiters about companies/roles you might have your sights set on.
Gather Information on Yourself: What quantifiable results do you routinely produce? What are your strengths and superpowers? And what are the repeating themes in your work as a result of deploying those strengths? Answering those questions will reveal not only your hard skills and quantifiable impact, but what Hasson calls “your secret weapons”—intangibles, soft skills, and unique capabilities that can solve your employer’s pain and add value and give you leverage at the negotiation table.
NOW THAT YOU HAVE ALL THE DATA, WHAT DO YOU DO WITH IT?
Both Hasson and I recommend creating a spreadsheet that you bring to your negotiation. Share it with your negotiation partner. This data, along with a sequenced strategy and written scripts you’ve prepared in advance will help you respond to pushback objectively—not emotionally—and move the conversation toward agreement. Doing this also demonstrates your leadership in the hands of your potential employer.
TWO GREAT, SUPER AFFORDABLE OPTIONS FOR FURTHER LEARNING
Register for DevelopHer’s “The Negotiat[HER] Course.” She Negotiates’ subscribers can get 10% off Hasson’s online course designed specifically for tech women. Use code LGATES.
Watch my online course, “Asking for a Raise,” at Lynda.com or LinkedIn Learning and walk through the entire strategic planning process.