5 Strategies for Salary Negotiation as a Latina

In this article, Meredith Schneider talks about the wage gap Latinas experience, how to evaluate and do research on your skills as well as the company, and gives tips and resources to negotiate with potential employers.

  • Gender and racial pay gaps are becoming more obvious and less tolerable.
  • This is especially true as Latinas assess their financial and social stability needs.
  • Latinas suffer the most, with incomes averaging about half of a white man’s salary for the same job.
  • Advocating for equal pay can be easier with some confidence and additional resources.

Living with the effects of pay gaps can be brutal on those who are in the minority, especially women and people of color. A March 2021 study by the National Women’s Law Center reported that Hispanic women receive the lowest earnings of any group, a mere average of $0.55 for every dollar paid to white men for doing the same job. If the pay gap issue is not addressed soon, it could take another 185 years for Latina women to earn the same amount their white male counterparts earn.

Source: NWLC Wage Gap for Latina Women State Rankings

This is where salary negotiation comes into play. Knowing your worth and addressing your income expectations upfront can significantly aid your career trajectory and earning potential. Here are some helpful strategies on how to negotiate salary, especially as a Latina.

Conduct a Self Worth Audit Before and After Applying for a New Job

Before you go through with the interview process, ensure that you are seeking out work that correctly aligns with your goals. Maria Gironas, senior media partnerships manager at Reddit, likes to conduct a self-worth audit about once a year.

“Do the math of what your life looks like now,” she instructed. “Get an idea of your expenses and your goals and how much you want to spend and such.”

Are there bilingual stipends available in your field? Research pay for the job you are interested in, and what the wage gap looks like in that particular industry. This research can help you know what you are getting into before applying a job.

But pay gap issues may arise after a Latina has been hired, too, in the form of lower raises and fewer promotions compared to white men and women, according to data from Lean In.

Fintech professional and Latina Astrid Garay explained, “The more educated you are on what the average salary is for your position and industry, the better prepared you will be to not only ask for a raise, but to also make sure you are not being underpaid.”

Cast Aside Any Feelings of Guilt

Latinas may grow up in a culture that could value family over everything. This can dredge up feelings of guilt when considering what their worth is heading into a new job. Having a higher salary expectation in mind can make them feel like they are acting selfishly because they are prioritizing themselves.

  • “Sometimes, as a child of immigrants — being Latino in particular — you’ll always feel like you need to take care of your family,” Gironas said. “[But] If you don’t take care of yourself first and foremost, you won’t be able to properly take care of your family.”

If you are lucky enough to have a recruiter helping you, be upfront with them about your financial needs. Do you have a family? Are there any medical expenses, student loans, or big purchases to consider? They are your advocate throughout the hiring process — and often into your first few months on the job.

Familiarize Yourself With the Work

For Garay, she’s always been fascinated with technology and chose to pursue an engineering degree from Princeton University to help solve real-world problems. “I often find myself being fearful of rejection or experiencing imposter syndrome in the workplace because I don’t think I am competent, and I doubt my own skillset,” she said.

Work cultures often prompt BIPOCS to doubt their own abilities and experience imposter syndrome. But as a Latina, you can work to overcome this falsity by becoming well-versed with the community or client base and familiarizing yourself with the company’s work, mission, and goals.

Doing this can also help you create your elevator pitch when it comes time to negotiate a raise or higher opening salary. Outline how you will approach your ask, detail your accomplishments, and finalize any ideas you may have for the future.

“Remember to always be positive and communicate very clearly and effectively as to what you are looking for in terms of a salary increase and growth within the company,” Garay said.

Nix the Income Non-Disclosure Agreement

Many companies will include clauses in their contracts that specifically ask that you not share your income with your colleagues. This is a red flag. Under the National Labor Relations Act, all employees are granted the right to communicate their wages with their coworkers. Having the ability to discuss your earnings can help protect you and your coworkers.

“I will never forget when a fellow young female coworker of mine who was helping me adjust to my new role as seller on the team said, ‘I want to share with you my pay progression, because I think it’s super important for us as women in an industry that we are very underrepresented in, to make sure we are getting paid fairly,'” explained Garay. “I appreciated her transparency with me and her support for my career that ever since then, I want to do the same for others.”

Open Up Negotiation Every Time

Once you receive a job offer, be ready to start a negotiation conversation, even if you are happy with the offer.

If culturally you may have been conditioned not to show confidence, then every woman, and especially those of color, should prepare to assert confidence in their professional abilities during negotiation conversations. This can impress a potential employer.

“You are at the stage where the employer really wants you as an employee, so it is a great opportunity to show them that you are a confident future employee that knows what you have to offer,” Garay said. “Even if you are happy with your offer, you should still negotiate. The worst that can happen is that they say no … and the best that can happen is that you get more money than you expected.”

Once you secure the job, it’s time to look ahead to approaching raises. Garray suggested keeping a list of accomplishments that have contributed positively to your work.

“Don’t forget to write down even the little things. I always keep a list of my accomplishments so that when reviews come, I am well prepared to discuss my achievements and leverage this list when asking for a salary raise and/or promotion,” Garay said.

Resources for Salary Negotiation

Looking for a little extra help in the negotiation process? Here are free resources to prepare you for a higher salary, whether you are just beginning the job hunt or waist-deep in interviews.

  • The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement is a non-profit with many detailed resources.
  • IMdiversity offers job listings, minority resources, and deep-dive articles that discuss approaching diversity in the workplace.
  • 81cents helps underrepresented minorities nevigate tough career conversations through a free resource library or a paid custom-built market value report.
  • AAUW has online salary negotiation courses that can help you set your target salary, create a strategy, and practice.
  • The SmartAsset Paycheck Calculator factors in taxes, holidays, and details that a simple math check may miss.
  • Salary.com lists salary information on positions in many fields and is the most popular salary search site.
  • Salary Expert offers free salary reports based on education, experience, and other information. It details career salary potential based on recent market rates and cost of living analysis.

Bottom Line

Be confident and know your worth. The best career advice Garay has ever received was, “You don’t get the opportunities you don’t ask for.” And if you didn’t get the raise you asked for, set up a conversation to discuss the next steps and create specific goals to help you achieve that raise.

  • “It is important for us [Latinas] to take pride in the hard work we do and advocate for ourselves when it comes to pay so that we can get one step closer to bridging that gap,” Garay said.

Frequently Asked Questions About Salary Negotiation

How much is a reasonable salary negotiation?

If you are approaching a new job, a good benchmark is to seek a salary that is about 10-20% more than what you are currently making. A reasonable salary negotiation is, on average, about 5-7% above the offer made.

If the company negotiates down, you may still make a little more than what was offered. If you have been offered a salary far below your expectations and requirements and a 5-7% boost will not help you meet your needs, you may want to reconsider the job offer.

Is six months too soon to ask for a raise?

Six months is not too soon to ask for a raise, especially if you have innovated in your position in a short time. In fact, six months is a good benchmark to consider approaching your boss about a raise if you believe you have contributed enough to warrant one.

In some positions, it can take several months to get acquainted with the team and software, let alone experience growth or aid the company’s income. Consider the growth you may have created, processes you have streamlined, and any other benefits you have brought to the team.

Should you always negotiate salary?

While you certainly do not always need to negotiate a salary — the benefits outweigh the risks. Asking for a reasonable amount of extra pay and backing it up with an elevator pitch about your experience and dedication to the role can notify your employer of your talent and confidence. This may help instill more respect and trust in your work ethic and set you up for more opportunities down the road.

By Stephanie Ramirez-Cisneros
Stephanie Ramirez-Cisneros Senior Peer Consultant