Latina Equal Pay Day: Tips to Level Up and Make More Money

Take steps to combat the staggering statistics behind this national issue

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Today is Latina Equal Pay Day, which highlights a national issue not only within the advertising world but across all industries. It takes the average Latina nearly 23 months to earn what white non-Hispanic men earn in 12 months for the same role. This directly influences how we will be able to care for our families and elders because we are leaving money on the table.

No matter the job we hold in the marketing industry, we have a responsibility to advocate for ourselves every single time and teach our young Latinas how to navigate the workforce. Teach them to speak up for themselves in a strategic way and ask for what they’re worth plus interest—because we are behind.

As a daughter of Mexican immigrants born in the ’80s, I was in my early 30s working for the ad industry for nearly eight years when I realized the meaning of Latina Equal Pay Day and the misperceptions that exist in our community that can hold us back. Reflecting on this time, I am sharing tips to level up while making money and invited fellow Adweek Mentees to weigh in.

Know the full package

To level up, it’s important to own your full self at work. Go through the motions of conducting a self-assessment to practice talking about why everyone should know you are the real deal at work.

We must always be proactive at work by ensuring managers are aware of our efforts and thought process to drive results. Keep a list of your accomplishments—this collection of personal receipts will help you evaluate a future job offer, new role and benefits package.

Always negotiate

In our community, there is a complex misperception fueled by our immigrant parents who may have had factory jobs or other low-paying, inequitable industries. Oftentimes we were told to be thankful for that first offer, with the fear that the job offer will be rescinded if we negotiate.

To combat and unlearn this notion, Adweek mentee Noemi Garcia advises to not accept the first offer—it’s a disservice to yourself and your community. As first-generation Latina/e women, there’s an enormous generational wealth gap that still needs to be overcome. Negotiation is the answer to this issue.

Adweek mentee Deanna Herandez takes this a step further by advising staying away from the wage references your family used that were perceived to be a substantial amount of money. First-generation college-educated women are worthy of earning much more than ever thought possible.

Now that we have established these facts, it’s time to build our negotiation strategy.

Develop your BATNA

A BATNA is an acronym for “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” It is your personal course of action that will take place if your first offer isn’t accepted.

For example, job seekers with multiple offer letters have a strong BATNA because they have leverage. Others may want to prioritize negotiating other aspects of the offer letter besides salary like tuition reimbursement or equity ownership. The stronger your BATNA, the more leverage you have in a negotiation.

Ask yourself: Besides money, what else is important to you at this juncture of your career? Cultivate your BATNA throughout the year by up-skilling and developing an exit plan if you need to move from your role unexpectedly.

To further help build your BATNA, Adweek mentee Andrea Cicola recommends the power of networking. Seek out the communities and organizations where you can find advocacy and mentorship. In the process, stay curious and receptive, and never doubt your worth or what sets you apart; as a result, you will be able to build confidence to negotiate the compensation you deserve in the future.

What’s your bottom line?

Once a BATNA is built, develop your reservation price. In a salary negotiation, it is the lowest amount you can agree to.

Your new final offer should be better than your alternate options (BATNA). Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the marketplace value for this role? Based on your current salary, are you giving yourself a raise by accepting this offer?
  • Do you know anyone in your network who has or has had a similar job title? Confidentially ask if they would be willing to share the salary range for the role. Keep in mind industry, company type (nonprofit vs. for profit) and gender bias.
  • Now that you have a starting point, is your reservation price 5%, 10% or 20% higher than your starting offer?

Practice the art of conversation

When you make a counteroffer, be prepared to anchor on a salary range first. Practice expressing gratitude for the first offer and speaking about your unique attributes to be rewarded with the salary and job you want.

Negotiators who are precise about their desired salary range and priorities are positively viewed as more informed and confident. Always provide rationale by knowing your accomplishments and the stats of the marketplace, and articulate the value you will bring to the table. End the conversation by asking, “Given my experience, what is most important to the team in this role?”

By acting upon these steps, you will be making a dent in combating the staggering stats that Latina Equal Pay Day highlights. Support us in making change by paying it forward. Share your negotiation experience with your Latina peers and coach them to advocate for themselves every single time they are ready to level up.