How Women in the Workplace can Negotiate Success

How Women in the Workplace can Negotiate Success
May Huxley

5 mins

How Women in the Workplace can Negotiate Success

Get advice on how you can drive a successful career in STEM from our own female leaders working across Impellam, and Ginette Harvey, Founder of Harper and Gray.

Women in the workplace face a growing salary gap – especially in STEM.

While in 2021 SRG’s research showed an overall gender pay gap of 19.4%, in 2022 the gap expanded to 28%. This means that women are paid £6600 under what men in the STEM industry earn.

Intersectionality, the idea that multiple elements contribute to a person’s identity, lends a further lens to the situation. Factors like social class, disability, sexuality, ethnicity and more, can further exacerbate not only wage gaps, but also discrimination and a lack of career progression for women in the workplace. 

While bridging gaps relies on organisations proactively driving inclusion strategies, Ginette Harvey, Founder of Harper and Gray, believes that women can play a role in negotiating their own success in the workplace.

For International Women’s Day 2023, a panel discussion from senior leaders across LorienCarbon60, Guidant and SRG (all part of Impellam Group) was accompanied by a speech from Ginette Harvey. These initiatives brought the ways the ways in which women can navigate the world of work and activate a successful career to the fore to inspire and empower our teams working across STEM.

Read on to find out more about:

  • How negotiation skills impact women in the workplace
  • Key insights from the panel discussion
  • Negotiation hurdles and skills for success

How negotiation skills impact women in the workplace

Ginette Harvey is an advocate for gender equality in leadership and is the founder of Harper and Gray – a diversity consultancy helping organisations drive true equity into talent management.

Ginette reflected on her experience in advising women working their way through the recruitment process and the impact that an absence of self-negotiation had on career advancement. 

Ginette explained:

“The facts around this are very stark, 20% of professional women say they never negotiate in the workplace at all, even though they recognise negotiation as appropriate and even necessary”. 

Ginette explored the impact this has on gender equity in the workforce, “Women, particularly women of colour, remain drastically underrepresented in the C-suite. While 1 in 4 C-suite employees are women, just 1 in 20 C-suite employees are women of colour”. 

Ginette explained how workplace dynamics can contribute to perpetuating this divide, “when we look at women entering the leadership ranks, 37% of female leaders have had a co-worker receive credit for their idea, and women leaders are twice as likely as men to be mistaken for a junior employee”.

Ginette highlighted a pervading theme where despite women in the workplace being statistically more likely to be held to a higher standard than men, women remain less likely to ask for promotions.  

Ginette suggests that while organisational initiatives play a key role in bridging gaps, self-advocacy and negotiation techniques can play an important part in accelerating progress. 

Key insights from the panel discussion

Our panel of speakers reflected on the importance of self-advocacy for women in the workplace, drawing on their own experiences and providing advice for success.

Panel speakers included:

Joanna Fagbadegun, Sales Director, Lorien
Yasmin Amar, Client Services Manager, Guidant
Audrey McCulloch, Operations Director, SRG
Danielle Clarke, Director, Guidant

 As you have progressed throughout your career, how has your approach to work and life shifted?

Joanna Fagbadegun, Sales Director, Lorien

Joanna Fagbadegun reflected on how her approach to her career has shifted across time. She highlighted the importance of complementing ambition and career advancement with the rhythm of both personal and work life to attain a sense of balance and meaningful accomplishment. 

Joanna explained that while she takes a more medium-term strategic approach to aspects of both her work and home life today, some key aspects of her approach to work and life have remained the same – such as maintaining high standards, building a strong network of contacts, mentors and advocates, and actively advocating for progressions and opportunities.

Yasmin Amar, Client Services Manager, Guidant

Yasmin Amar has worked in Guidant for over four years, over the course of which she has supported multiple accounts and developed her career.  

Yasmin explained how earlier in her career, her hesitation to advocate for herself resulted in moving between roles in pursuit of career advancement and development. Yasmin reflected on how her journey with self advocation has evolved over time, and emphasised the importance of setting goals and proactively advocating for oneself when working towards them.

Audrey McCulloch, Operational Director, STEM

Audrey reflected on how her relationship with her professional commitments have evolved over time, and how re-considering priorities led her to adapting her role to better suit her goals and ambitions. 

Audrey explained how it can become easy to over-focus on work in preference to personal ambitions, and highlighted how her efforts to re-balance her work and personal life has brought value toher career, and altered her perspective for the better. 

Audrey emphasized the importance of leading clear conversations to negotiate for oneself at work and overcoming self-doubt with self-belief.

Danielle Clarke, Director Supplier Relationship Management, Guidant

Danielle Clark explored the role that the Impellam Group  played in inspiring her career and enabling her to negotiate for herself at work. Danielle highlighted that a key motivation for joining Guidant was down to the high number of women in leadership roles who were mothers and juggling senior positions with family life.  

Danielle explained how having women advocates in the company facilitated self-advocation and empowerment which has supported her in her own career in realising her ambitions.

Negotiation hurdles and skills for success

Ginette Harvey explored three key hurdles to negotiation that women in the workplace face, before revealing skills for success to overcome each. 

These were:

1. The Confidence Gap

Ginette explained that while men in the workplace often have a sense of self-confidence, women in the workplace attribute this sense of confidence with perfectionism. As an example, she explained how while men can be more likely to apply to a role where they meet just some of the criteria, women can be more likely to take a more detailed approach and avoid applying where some criteria is not met.
Ginette suggested that taking a more liberal approach to assessing criteria in preference of being highly detailed can help accelerate the careers of women in the workplace.

2. The Expectations Gap

Ginette highlighted that women’s expectations on salary are on average 30% lower than men. She highlighted that this trend is evident from the beginning of a person’s career, even within graduate positions. 
Referencing salary guides to establish whether your wage is typical or below the market average is incredibly important as a woman in the workplace.

3. The Gratitude Gap

Ginette highlighted that women often express gratitude in the workplace for being given more responsibility and can miss the opportunity to negotiate when promotions or more responsibility is provided to enable a more meaningful and powerful work experience. 
Establishing mentees and identifying advocates in your workplace to help support negotiations can help support a more balanced approach to work. 

Accelerate your career with Impellam Group 

Impellam is a connected group providing global workforce and specialist recruitment solutions. Our 2000 people and market leading brands work across a broad spectrum of industries and job categories throughout North America, the UK and Europe and Asia Pac.


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