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December 21, 2010

Part-time salary negotiation: Expert Q&A

Today I'm excited to introduce a new feature on The Daily Asker: A series of expert Q&A's, in which I interview people who are excellent askers or negotiators about very specific topics. Think of these posts as kittens sprinkled with powdered sugar and armed with machetes.

Short. Sweet. And, when used correctly, lethally effective.

To kick things off I decided to focus on a subject that keeps sending people to my blog via Google keyword searches, and which is especially relevant in this economy:

Part-Time Salary Negotiation

Expert: Victoria Pynchon
Twitter bio: author, attorney mediator-arbitrator and negotiation trainer and consultant
Check out: "How to negotiate your job back after getting fired" via Forbes.
Why she rocks: She wants the world to be a better place for women and every day she is taking huge steps to make it that way. How? By teaching women to be better negotiators, more supportive of one another and, most importantly, their own best advocates.

When you negotiate a salary for a part-time job, is it any different from doing so for a full-time job?

Pynchon: In principle there's no difference between negotiating a part-time and a full-time salary. It comes down to doing a market value analysis, which means asking "What is the market paying?" and "What do I bring to the market, or the part-time job, that somebody else wouldn't?" This depends on the job and the industry. You can prorate your target salary based on annual compensation or work up from an hourly rate, but the idea is the same as with a full-time job. And yes, you should always negotiate.

Since part-time jobs don't usually include benefits, vacation time and whatever else is included in those bigger (but dwindling) compensation packages, does that change the negotiation game?

Pynchon: The best strategy is to focus on items that are of high value to you but low expense to your employer. If your employer has overhead, if your employer has full-time employees, it wouldn't cost that much more to add you to the health plan. You might be willing to work less per hour if they'd be willing to put you on the health plan. The problem is that people don't think. They just put you into a cubby hole: "You're part-time so you're not going to get health benefits." Why? What's the extra cost to the employer to provide you, a part-time employee, with health benefits? [RP: Here's one uber-detailed answer:]

What is a common pitfall with part-time salary negotiations and how do you work around it?

Pynchon: Professional people, especially women, are totally screwed by part-time employment, because they work way more than part time. And they're not being compensated for the additional time. They're just working harder. With part-time work for lawyers, I've never seen it work for anyone but the law firm. So that is something that should be negotiated. You need to address the hours worked, the schedule, the expectations and the workload, and how excess hours are going to be treated. Bring up these issues before you shake hands, or your earnings will be a lot smaller than what you bargained for.

Thank you, Vickie!

And now a question for you, readers:

Can you think of any specific scenarios you'd like addressed or topics you'd like to learn about in these short, tactical, expert Q&A's?
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