A Salary Surprise

Angela is a policewoman who has worked five years each for two suburban police forces in a major metropolitan area. She is the only woman at her rank, and her present boss is the Chief of Police. She was given a promotion two years ago but recently found out through the Open Records Act that she is the least paid of her rank; her salary is even below that of recent hires. What should her next move be to solve this inequity?

When Angela came to see me and told me her story, I was once again confronted with this age-old dilemma of women not being equally compensated for doing the same work as men.

I immediately began asking questions of Angela to bring me up to speed with her situation. Some of the questions included:

  • Have you worked for the same boss over these 5 years?
  • How many positions have you held?
  • At what salary did you start?
  • How have you progressed? What does it usually take to advance?
  • What is the culture at the police force?
  • How many people hold the same position that you hold and what are their salaries?
  • How many years have each been with the police force?

 It became obvious that Angela needed negotiation training. We spent 45 minutes discussing negotiation skills. She needed to be well prepared, and like any business meeting, have an agenda ready that enumerated her main points. I advised her to ask for a salary above the highest for her rank. That would allow some wiggle room to compromise on a figure acceptable to both parties.

Have you had this experience or do you know of a woman in this situation? I’d love to hear from you.

More information about negotiating skills is in my book NEWORK. WorkLife. Transition. Balance. www.neworkthebook.com.

Contact Kammer & Associates at 404-459-5980 or kammer@mindspring.com.