More than half of women in Singapore feel underpaid

One in two female office workers in Singapore feel they are underpaid. And one of the reasons for that could be their negotiation skills.
By: | March 6, 2020

One in two female office workers in Singapore feel underpaid, according to the latest research by recruitment firm Robert Half.

The research found that 54% of the women surveyed are not satisfied with their pay compared to only 40% of their male counterparts.

And one of the contributing factors to the disparity is salary negotiation skills. 63% of men in Singapore secured additional salary with their current employer during the recruitment process while only 43% of women were able to do the same.

“Strong negotiation skills are a vital part of professional success, regardless of gender. We know that women often demonstrate exceptional negotiating skills in the workplace when driving business strategy, managing teams, meeting deadlines and liaising with stakeholders, as examples,” Fen Teo, Associate Director of Robert Half said.

“However, our research suggests that females are less likely to secure extra salary through negotiation when taking on a new role – although they want, need, and deserve it as much as their male counterparts.”

Teo shares five negotiation tips for both men and women candidates to secure a higher salary.

1) Know your number

Negotiating your salary is a lot easier if you can back up your request with hard data. Do some research: Find out what other companies are paying for similar positions, and check out resources like the Robert Half Salary Guide that shows typical salaries for someone with similar skills and experience across a range of roles and industries.

2) Allow space to negotiate

Once you’ve compiled information on current salaries, decide your optimum pay. Keep it realistic but add a bit extra onto your ideal salary to allow room to negotiate.

3) Make your pitch professional

Make a compelling business case for why you are worth your preferred salary. The best way to convince an employer is with hard evidence about the value you have added to your current or previous role. Being able to put a dollar value on the uptick in revenue or reduction in costs that have resulted from initiatives you have introduced can seal the deal.

4) Be tactful with timing

The most suitable time for a jobseeker to raise the matter of salary is right after receiving the initial job offer. For current employees, look for a moment when your contribution to the organisation really shines through. This may be on the successful completion of a project or after receiving great feedback from a business leader or client.

5) Consider alternatives

Conversations around a salary increase won’t always go your way – and there can be good reasons why an employer simply is not able to grant a higher salary immediately. This makes it worth taking a pre-emptive look at alternatives that could compensate for missing out on a higher salary. Non-monetary perks such as work from home options, flexible work hours or additional leave could help you enjoy greater work-life balance. If it turns out that you enjoy the role, it’s likely there will be opportunities to reignite discussions about a salary increase at a later date.

International Women’s Day Features:

Possibilities endless for women in the workplace – Jeanne Achille, Founder and CEO of The Devon Group

Organisations can do more to support women – Joy Koh, Head of Consulting APAC at Alexander Mann Solutions

We need to challenge stereotypes of women – Vivian Chua, Vice-President, Singapore Managing Director, HP

More needs to done to recognise women – Roselin Lee, Vice President of Human Resources, Shiseido Asia Pacific

Women should have equal access to leadership roles – Gladys Chun, Head of Legal, Compliance and Government Affairs, Lazada Group

Mentorship key to grooming women leaders – Giet Koh, Head of Account Management at Deliveroo Singapore