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Negotiation skills need to start young

22 July 2013

We’ve seen and heard the accepted expert knowledge: women often don’t go for promotion, worrying that if they can’t do 100 per cent of the job, or at least 90 per cent, they shouldn’t apply. Their male peers will apply believing 60 per cent is good enough: the rest they’ll learn on the job. Women are also much less likely to ask for higher pay or pay rises, often because they lack the self-belief needed to walk in and negotiate for what they are worth.

A recent report on (which related to a survey by Westpac around the behaviours of children and parents when it comes to household chores and pocket money) revealed that “A household flaw allows boys to pocket more for doing household chores”. The July 16 piece from The Telegraph sparked Ruby’s interest around how parents and kids handle their household labour negotiations.

It seems, according to the piece, that children, no matter their gender, are savvy. If the jobs are categorised as pay-per-job, boys and girls will pick to do the ones that earn them more money and leave the less lucrative chores unchosen and undone. A flat pay structure of $$-for-jobs-done seems a more even way to parcel out chores and remuneration should, by rights, leave girls and boys able to negotiate for what they do. It should also lead to parity in chores. Every chore done forms part of the set amount you are paid. Mowing the lawn or doing the dishes are chores not a gender divide and are worth the same.

In a 2012 Westpac Report on Women’s Finances by Generation, we found Gen Y women to be more financially focused than previous generations and very good savers.

Young women: savvy savers and conscientious career women

Gen Y came out as the biggest savers, with 18% of Gen Y saving more than 20% of their income per month

Gen X saved 8%

Baby Boomers  saved 9%.

29% of Gen Ys already own their own home

58% of Gen Y said they would like to make it to the top in their career


The youngest women in the Gen Y cohort are around 14 years old, now, and if they’re anything like their older cohorts, saving and investing and looking after their own futures will be par for the course. Now, how do we change women’s attitude to step up to the plate, take that promotion, that next job and negotiate equal pay?