Are you too scared or worried to ask for a pay raise or higher contract rate?

Ok, real quick, people. This content I’m doing is part of my remix of black history month, where instead of only focusing on the past, I want to help you improve yourselves so that tomorrow’s black history will be more vibrant and promising. There’s an article from Business Insider that came out a few days ago that covers how our young people, young brothas and sistas coming out of college looking for their first tech jobs, are somehow not getting the kinds of first job salaries that others get.

So I’m going to read some of this article and provide commentary and advice so that you understand that business is war. Even if you’re not going into business for yourself, instead going to work for another big company, you are a business warrior, not a slave. You can’t have the slave mentality and expect victorious warrior outcomes. You have to choose who you are for the rest of your life: a worker slave or a business warrior. This is especially important when negotiating you first salary out of college, and all subsequent salaries and contract rates for those going into business for themselves. It’s all the same success mindset.

Ok let’s dig into this article:

Tech workers are quitting in droves to land higher salaries, but job seekers from underrepresented backgrounds say their experiences interviewing at giants like Google make them doubt they have the same leverage

Insider reported that the job market had given tech workers more leverage in salary negotiations.

But some developers from underrepresented backgrounds expressed doubt this extended to everyone.

They cited experiences of being undervalued at the negotiation table at big firms like Google.

The tech industry can’t seem to hire fast enough. With tech employees quitting their jobs in droves, job seekers are buzzing about having more leverage to negotiate better benefits and, in some cases, almost double their pay. But this might not be the reality for everyone.

While women and employees of color are most likely to quit their jobs and look elsewhere during the “Great Resignation,” some tech workers from underrepresented backgrounds feel this newfound leverage doesn’t apply equally to them.

Pay inequalities in the industry have long been documented, and while some are optimistic the Great Resignation can improve compensation and workplace culture for underrepresented workers, experiences of being undervalued at the negotiation table have others hesitant to try to take advantage of the moment.

Aaron Turner, for example, is a senior software engineer at the cloud-computing company Fastly who grew up in a lower income neighborhood in Long Beach, California. He told Insider that while some of his friends were able to get a pay bump because of the current job market, he was wary of trying to do the same.

“While he feels “comfortable to speak” his mind and “valued” at his job, he said this wasn’t the case when he was interviewing and working at different Big Tech companies. He said that when Google saw he had no competing offers when he accepted an engineering role in 2018, the company refused to increase its offer. It wasn’t until after he accepted the initial job offer that he learned he was the “lowest-paid engineer for his level,” he said. Google didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Stop right there. Notice what Google did to him. They low balled him. You can even say they financially pimp slapped him. And what did he do? He tucked his tail and went to work there anyway. People, this is how you lose leverage. You have to get multiple job offers, even if some are lower paying. A warrior mindset won’t let the enemy win. Going back to our guy here, and I’m sure he’s a nice guy who lacks info, he was presumably not happy to later learn that he was the lowest paid engineer. Duh! That’s because business is war. Google came ready for battle. They did their intelligence work on this brotha, but he didn’t do any counterintelligence on Google. In war, you prepare to defend yourself against a formidable enemy by first sizing up the enemy’s strength. Let’s continue…

“I’m stuck in a balancing act because do I want to go somewhere where I will get paid a lot more money, or do I want to keep working in a place where I like the technology, the people, and I know no one’s going to turn around say something because they subconsciously think I am below them?” Turner said.

Stop right there. Sadly, this is a defeated, worker slave mindset. Why the hell is there a question if you should go somewhere else for more money or not? Did you not see how Google financially back handed you right off the rip? But like a wounded victim, you worry about leaving the abuser. Folks, don’t do this. And if anyone knows someone like this, have them watch this video asap. Go where you make more money. Period. That’s how you win in business. Don’t concede the battle to the enemy and let them dictate terms that will keep you in a low income bracket the rest of your life. Our community already has the lowest incomes, so let’s change black history so that we bump that up much more. Let’s continue…

“April Christina Curley, who worked at Google as a campus recruiter for historically Black universities and colleges and an internship lead until she was fired in 2020, said she frequently saw how candidates, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, felt too “scared to say no” to the initial job offer — and that companies like Google knew “how to take advantage of this.”

Stop right there. Notice this sistas was fired by Google. See the pattern here? And Google is not unlike any other company. Business is war. They fire you at will, so why are you so loyal to them that you’re willing to stay stuck in a lower income job because you “feel” undervalued or at a disadvantage? Continue…

“Recruiters know how to create an offer that’s competitive based on the school a candidate went to. So students coming from Stanford or MIT know what an appropriate offer is, and the recruiter won’t offer anything less than it,” Curley said. “Many of my students come from low- and poor-income areas, so they don’t have the networks or the touch points to negotiate against the initial offer.”

“This is why Curley had to constantly “informally” coach HBCU students on what Google’s salary ranges were, she said, something she was actively discouraged by management to do.”

Stop. This sista did a good thing by providing corporate intelligence to the disadvantaged students. Google, like any corporate military, gathered intelligence on various colleges so that they can offer the best pay for the best return on their money. This might sound unfair, but once again, business is war. Companies are at war to defend their money, and so YOU have to be at war, like a pirate, to take some of that money. Learn how they’re distributing that money so that you can offer enough value to seize it. In STEM, this is kinda easy to do if you stick to the toughest careers in STEM, and not take the easy way out. Let’s continue…

“Another developer from a low-income neighborhood, who is job hunting and want to remain anonymous, told Insider that when they interviewed at a big tech company, they were given an initial offer lower than market rate for that position. Despite others in that role making higher salaries, they said the company told them they had no leverage because their competing offers “were not as good as what they were paying.”

Stop. See how the company did their homework? Business is war. Not only do companies find out if you have counteroffers, they find out how much they are. And that’s fine. When you’re fresh out of college, you have to pay your dues. But I strongly advise you not to stay at the first company longer than 2 years. Yes, that goes against what a lot of campus career advisors might say because you want your resume to look like you’re loyal, blah blah blah. Ummm…no. Most job recruiters understand that you’re going to move around for more money (heck, they do it themselves, trust me, I know a lot of them). Let’s continue…

“Pay transparency can be especially difficult, and Insider has previously reported on how tech companies pressure or retaliate against workers who try to speak up about their salaries.”

Stop. Notice how companies use war tactics to protect their salary info. If companies are at war against you, why aren’t you likewise at war? This is where employees, especially among our people, lose out because we feel we have to be faithful and loyal to companies that don’t feel the same way about you. This is not about being mean, but about leveling the playing field so that you get the outcome you want that is also acceptable to the company. Let’s continue…

“Early on in your career, you just don’t know,” Brandon Robinson, an engineer in Michigan, said, “especially if it’s more money than you’ve ever made in your entire life. How do you tell somebody who’s making $50,000, getting $120,000, that they have to negotiate it up to $140,000. Growing up, I wasn’t taught these things.”

Stop. How do I tell them? I tell them to ask, and have multiple companies evaluating you. If 3 companies offer you a range of $110k through $130k, for instance, then that’s your market value. So when you go on to the next group of companies on your list, you can confidently tell them your range is 110k to 130k. They can either take it or leave it. What’s the big deal? If only one counteroffers $100k, and you need to pay rent in 2 weeks, then you better take it because that’s not far from your market value. And in 1 year, your value will go up, so test the market then to see what you get. Go fishing for corporate dollars.

I won’t read the rest of the article but hopefully you get the idea by now. Business is war, whether you’re a small business owner or employee of a major company. You have something they want, and they have something you want. You are both on equal footing at the negotiating table. If you need one on one coaching on this topic so that you get the outcome you want, book a session with me.

Until the next video, brothas and sistas, take care.

Links:

Underrepresented Tech Workers Wary of ‘Great Resignation’ Pay Leverage (businessinsider.com)

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