Sallie Krawcheck is the current CEO of Ellevest (a digital investment platform for women), is a former CFO and CEO at Citigroup and Merrill Lynch respectively, and is a self-described “financial feminist”. She speaks here to women, but this advice can be applied across the board to anyone who is marginalized in the workplace or wants to jumpstart their personal wealth. For Krawcheck, the best career advice no one is talking about is actually financial advice: invest. Make your money work while you do, so that you have more financial freedom to make confident decisions in your career: ask for a promotion, quit the job that doesn’t treat you well, or test your own business ideas. If you have money in the bank, you are free to play looser with your decisions. Men do it, and women should too. Remember this: “Ladies, we will not be equal with men until we are financially equal with men,” Krawcheck says. Her second piece of advice is to ask for more money from your very first job, and to plant the seeds of a 12-pronged pay-rise request far in advance. Twelve prongs? Yep. It will all makes sense once you hear out her incredible guide to negotiating a salary increase and closing the gender pay gap. Sallie Krawcheck is the author of Own It: The Power of Women at Work.
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Sallie Krawcheck: So there is so much career advice for women. The best career advice that you are not getting is to invest.
“What? What? That has absolutely nothing to do with my performance on the job!” Yes, but it does have to do with having more money. And if you are investing to the same extent that the guys are, that will on average—and has historically—added to your wealth hundreds of thousands of dollars, for some women millions of dollars, over the course of their lives.
What happens when you’ve got more money? You can play looser, right? You can, with more confidence, go in, ask for that promotion, for that overseas assignment, quit that job you cannot stand because that boss is such a jerk. Start your own business, test your own business. The degrees of freedom when we’ve got more money are substantial. And I’ll even take it all the way to: it will also help us get to equality with men. That confidence in the workforce, that equality. Ladies, we will not be equal with men until we are financially equal with men. So the best career advice you’re not getting is to invest.
I wish I didn’t have to give you this advice. I wish every company out there just let you be you; accept that you’re just not comfortable going in and negotiating for the raise and not to force you to do it. Close that gender pay gap, pay everybody exactly what they’re worth, and not make negotiating a core part of getting compensated in this country. So I wish I didn’t have to do that. But I do. And so we have to accept the world as it is today, and so ladies, you’ve got to negotiate from the first job. You just have to. Let me give you the example why.
So I managed a lot of people over a lot of years and I will tell you that every year almost every guy who reported to me, before bonus time would come into my office and tell me how much they wanted to make. And every guy every year typically told me more than he was in the budget for. And so, think about what happens, right: Jim and Mary. Jim and Mary are both in the budget for a bonus or a raise of five each. Jim comes in, tells me he wants ten—I never hear from Mary. I giggle to myself, “That Jim, he’s so crazy, you know, we’re never paying him ten.”
Well comes around time to put the budget together, give out the raises or the bonuses, and I know—my HR head and I both know Jim wants ten. Well, you know, we’re not going to pay him ten but, you know, his office door was closed the other day and the guys down the street are looking for someone like Jim. And by the way, he made a really good point, I totally forgot about that project he did. We’ll pay him seven.
Now how much does Mary make? The answer usually is five. The right answer, of course, is three. Just because Jim asked for more and I choose to give him more doesn’t mean my bonus pool goes up. It doesn’t mean my budget goes up. And so there is to some extent a zero sum game.
All right ladies. Now that I’ve convinced you, how do we approach it? With facts and in advance. So much of the advice to us is sort of in the meeting, in the moment. You have to start planting those seeds well before. First of all you need to know how much you should be making and go to a Payscale.com or a GetRaised or Comparably or Hired—any of these services that are popping up. Talk to your friends. Have two glasses of wine—or four, you know—and have the conversations. So know how much you should make. Have the conversation in advance with your boss about what are, if possible, the metrics. How many new—you know, quantify it to the extent you can. How many new reports? What kind of client satisfaction score? How many new clients? What in sales? How many clean audits? Whatever it is you can quantify. What does success look like?
So set that up: “This is success for me, for the department, for the company. Here’s what I need to achieve this year. Here’s what I want to make.” Get an agreement and then the negotiation at the end of the year is not a negotiation. To the extent, of course, that you come in, you’ve done that or haven’t done it. Never have one ask and take no for an answer. That if you’re told no on the raise, or even if you’re told yes, come in with 12 other requests, right.“I want to take a coding class that the company pays for. I want to have a stint in marketing. I want to work overseas for a period of time. I want to be mentored by XYZ. I want to work on this big project. I want to, I want to, I want to.” And if by number 20, you know, typically your boss is going to say yes to something that can turn into professional advancement or money down the road. And if he or she says no to all 20 I think you’ve gotten a pretty clear message there as well.