Start Smart Salary Negotiation

The Start Smart Salary Negotiation for Students Workshops offer students an opportunity to learn about the gender wage gap and effective methods to alleviate this gap.

Sheridan College Foundation donors provided the funds to pay for licensing the workshop, which covered the cost of coordinating the salary negotiation curriculum, training facilitators, and reporting.  The workshop was free of charge to participants.

Wyoming ranks 49th in the nation for the wage gap.  Nationally, for every dollar a man earns, a woman earns 79 cents.  Unfortunately, in Wyoming, the gap for women is wider a 69 cents. Wyoming governor Matt Mead said, “It’s not just a women’s issue, it’s a men’s issue, it’s a family issue” when declaring “Equal Pay Day in Wyoming”.  He further elaborated that equal pay will keep Wyoming’s young graduates in Wyoming instead of leaving the state in search of a higher wage.

 AAUW’s research on the gender pay gap shows that, one year out of college, women are already paid significantly less than their male counterparts.  Women who negotiate increase their potential to earn higher salaries and better benefits packages, and these advantages add up over time.  Negotiation can help women get a fair wage as well as set a benchmark for future salary increases.  By negotiating fair and equitable salaries, women are better positioned to pay off indebtedness, such as student loans and mortgages, and to save for retirement – leading to greater economic security.

 Information on the Wyoming Wage Gap was offered via a poster that displayed county by county information provided by research conducted by the Wyoming Women’s Foundation.

Each participant received an interactive 27 page “Attendee Workbook”. Sample topics included information about AAUW, how the wage gap affects them, benchmarking salary and benefits, resumes, researching a target salary and benefits, creating a realistic budget, financial literacy and planning tools, developing a strategy, deflection techniques, responding to an offer and concluding the negotiation. The workbook was interactive with worksheets for participants to record their responses and research. An extensive list of benefits resources was provided. Websites as well as traditional hard-copy resources were offered.

Workshop Objectives:

By the end of this training, participants:

  • Understand the gender gap, including its causes and effects
  • Are able to identify the steps of salary and benefits negotiation
  • Develop a budget and a target salary and benefits package
  • Practice negotiation strategies and techniques in role-play exercises
  • Feel confident in their ability to negotiate salary and benefits packages


Reviewing a sample of post workshop surveys revealed the following:

  • 86% of participants believe that they will be somewhat or confident in negotiating a salary.
  • 94% of participants believe that they will implement ideas and concepts learned during the workshop.

A sample of student comments:

  • “Thank you! Both the visual and oral presentation were helpful, valuable, & relevant. Worth my time.”
  • “Great and needed workshop!”
  • “Great presentation! This will help me in the coming months after graduation.”

The following are the Start Smart Salary Negotiation Workshop Participants
from the February 12, 2017 Workshop at Sheridan College