Not so Fun Fact: The World Economic Forum predicts women won’t earn the same as men until 2133.
You don’t have to wait more than 100 years to earn what you deserve and what men around you are already getting. My I’m Worth It workshop explores how we can begin to close the gap through determining our value in the workplace and how we ask for it.
Inspired by an American programme that a friend of mine delivered to women just about to graduate from university, I pitched the idea of this salary negotiation workshops to SheFest, Sheffield’s Festival for IWD (International Women’s Day).
The original programme was designed by two women who realised that women lose hundreds of thousands of dollars over their career because they don’t negotiate their first salary as effectively as their male counterparts.
It’s one contributing factor to the pay gap between men and women which in the UK has not improved for years.
And it’s the one we can do something about, right away. In a world where we often feel so little control over our circumstances – and let’s face it, levels of anxiety are so high right now – having some agency over an aspect of our lives as fundamental as our pay or conditions at work is pretty important.
My I’m Worth It workshop was borne out of this energy, trialled at a couple of International Women’s Day events and is now an ongoing workshop I offer. It is only three hours yet has had immediate impact for many of the women who participated.
The workshop uses action methods to encourage role naming, role-taking and role-coaching while recognising universal themes resulting in increased confidence during conversations about salary and fees.
On the day of the pilot workshop, a group of women arrived of varied ages, experience and confidence. I knew about half of them and it was clear that none of them came out of support for me as has occurred in other events I’ve delivered in Sheffield. This was a live issue for all of them.
After introductions and contracting, we warmed up with a simple spectrogram on the fairness of their wage at the moment and that opened up opportunities for naming roles, current and aspirational.
It was an easy leap to setting out a realistic scene using a few powerful sociodramatic techniques for role testing. The feedback demonstrated that the workshop had achieved its aims:
“Just wanted to say that, unexpectedly, I have put your workshop into action! I found out my job has been moved from Sheffield to Leeds due to a change in management of the grant I am working on.
Instead of just accepting the change I looked at what difference it would make to my work conditions and have negotiated working from home the majority of the time – and they agreed to pay any commuting costs – which I asked for but did not expect!
So – thank you Val – your inspirational workshop was timely and very useful for me!
“I very much enjoyed the workshop and the opportunity to share and hear others’ experiences of their work situations and goals for the future.
One of the best outcomes was appreciating that I’m not alone in negotiating my somewhat wobbly journey to the next step, career-wise. The encouragement from the group and the insights from the role play were really helpful.”
“I have good news! I now have a job description which I am satisfied with. I even negotiated the wording on it! In turn, I think the dynamic between me and “Paolo” has really improved since I asserted what I wanted. It feels more balanced. Thank you all for your invaluable help and brilliant advice!!
“Since attending your workshop, I’ve been so much more confident in asking for more money with each contract I undertake.
With every new job I’ve been hired or commissioned for this year, I’ve either asked for additional days pay to cover the actual time it would take me to undertake the work, or just asked for a pay rise in ongoing work. Every one of these requests has been agreed to.
So thanks to you I am earning more and feeling so much less worried about negotiating. The worst that can happen is that they say no. And they rarely do! Thank you!
No, you don’t have to wait 100 years for a pay rise. We created results in just three hours!