Shortly after I graduated, I went into the field of education. I did one year of AmeriCorps service, mentoring and teaching students at an elementary school, and was paid a small stipend every two weeks. Once my year of service was over, I scrambled to find my next job. Eventually I landed an opportunity but I was so happy to be employed and thankful that I was getting paid more than just a bi-weekly stipend that I didn’t even think about negotiating my salary. Understandably so, as a millennial who graduated with a large sum of student loan debt, my first priority was to just get a job that paid, ASAP. I also didn’t feel like I had the right to negotiate my salary because I didn’t have much job experience or even all of the necessary skills posted in the job description.

However, not negotiating my salary was a huge mistake.

According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), “Black women were paid 63 percent of what white men were paid in 2014. That means it takes a black woman nearly eight extra months to be paid what the average white man took home back on December 31.” Further, white women on the other hand were paid 78 percent of what white men were paid in 2014, while Latina women earned 54 percent of what white men were paid in 2014.

Reading those statistics got me so upset because I know that there’s no sound basis for why women get paid less than men. It’s important to note that the gender pay gap also affects all women, no matter what career path you choose or how many degrees you earn. It’s also upsetting because gender-based pay inequity has some serious long-term consequences for us as women. According to a recent study conducted by the National Women’s Law Center, black women stand to lose $877,480 over the course of her career, in comparison to white men. In California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C., that number increases to $1 million dollars!  The money lost over the course of our careers, is money that can be saved for retirement and to make those purchases that allow for a better quality of life.

Although, there is much legislative work needed to be done to change the gender pay gap, I also believe that there are steps that we can take as millennials to make sure that we aren’t losing out on income. For starters, frank and open conversations around this issue are needed, as well as tools and resources so that we can learn the ins and outs of salary negotiation. One great place to start is

Lastly, know this — as a new graduate, you are worthy of earning more and have so much to offer to your future employer, even if you don’t necessarily have the years of experience. Ultimately, it’s about the value you bring. Therefore, I urge you to negotiate your salary the next time around.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Go into that meeting prepared with your pitch, know what you are going to say.
  • Practice your pitch beforehand so that you’ll feel more confident going into your meeting.
  • The best time to negotiate your salary is once an offer has been made, until then don’t mention anything about your salary.
  • Also know that they can say no. You have to ask yourself if you’re willing to walk away if the money isn’t right.
  • Look for salary negotiation workshops in your city or a city near you. Often they are free and provide very helpful information.
  • Look up and research questions and responses that employers might ask you during the salary negotiation and then tailor those responses to suit your needs.

Let’s get a discussion going, what are some other tips that you’ve used to negotiate your salary? Let us know in the comments below!

Cassandre is a blogger, writer, creator, and motivator.  She loves to use her writing and her voice to empower women to be their best selves. She recently launched her blog, which is dedicated to creating inspirational, raw content for women on their faith walk journeys. She also enjoys writing about issues related to personal development, womanism, and pop culture. When she is not writing, you can find her curled up reading a great book, planning her next adventure. or dancing the azonto to every song. 

Loving Blavity’s content? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss a headline!