© National Committee
on Pay Equity
What You
Can Do

One of the best ways to approach salary negotiation is to come armed with detailed information about the skills, responsibility, working conditions, and effort required for good job performance. Try writing an all inclusive job description which uses action verbs to highlight the duties and skills necessary to perform your job well. Use this information to discuss your job with your supervisor and to justify your request for a salary increase. Listed below are some things to consider in presenting your skills and job duties in a more favorable light, and some ideas for raising awareness about how your level of skill, responsibility, effort and working conditions compare with other positions within the organization.

  • What is your level of responsibility? Are you required to protect confidentiality? Are you trusted with acting on behalf of absent supervisors? Do you supervise other staff, or co-ordinate schedules of others? Do you shoulder the consequence of error to the organization? Are you required to prevent possible damage to equipment? Are you responsible for the physical or emotional well-being of others? What are the consequences of your error?
  • What skills do you have that might be overlooked? How many different types of equipment, office machines or computers are you responsible for operating, and how many new machines have you learned to use recently? Does your job require writing, editing and proofreading skills, and if so, are they reflected in your job description? Are you responsible for balancing several projects at once, or reporting to more than one supervisor? What mediation or negotiating skills are required; for instance, do you negotiate the price of office supplies, equipment, or services over the telephone?



  • What kind of working conditions do you have? Are you in an open office environment or other setting where the noise from office machinery, equipment or people is loud? Are there frequent distractions from people walking through your work space? Are you frequently interrupted by a telephone, or from the conversation of those around you? Is it the kind of environment where your clothes can get easily soiled from normal job duties; for instance, from lifting, moving or storing boxes of office supplies and equipment, or working with children or patients? Are you required to deal with complaints from the public or other upset, irrational people? Are you exposed to illness, bodily fluids, and other unpleasant duties? What type of lifting do you do, including people, boxes, equipment, etc? Is there stress from lack of control over work assignments, heavy workloads, extended hours in front of a video display terminal, dealing with terminally ill or other people?
  • What level of effort is required in your job? What type of concentration is required? What physical skills are required; for instance, do you use small muscle skills in typing? Does the job require careful listening skills, or close attention to detail? Are you required to make quick and accurate assessments of emergency situations before taking action? What training or education have you had which has helped you perform your job?
  • What kind of salary could you command for the same job, outside of the company? Would you consider looking for another job as a means of leveraging higher pay?
  • Has your job been traditionally held by women? If so, how do the skills, experience, working conditions, effort and responsibilities required for good job performance compare with the organization's other positions that have been traditionally held by men? Are the salaries comparable as well? Does your supervisor understand how the female-dominated jobs are comparable in skill, responsibility, etc. to the male-dominated positions? Are people of color represented in your job? Again, how do the work requirements of the job compare to others where there are no or few people of color, and are the salaries of comparable jobs similar as well?