Rebel Diaries

Mia Smithson - Empowering Women To Get Higher Paying Jobs

April 17, 2023 Mia Smithson Season 2 Episode 52
Rebel Diaries
Mia Smithson - Empowering Women To Get Higher Paying Jobs
Show Notes Transcript

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Mia is the CEO & Founder of The $30K Program™. She empowers women to get higher-paying jobs they ADORE by teaching them how to effectively package skills and strategically negotiate with confidence. She was the  Global Director of Talent Management overseeing hiring and leadership for 400+ employees and 450+ contractors in 7 countries. She also trained 100+ hiring managers and interviewed 5,000+ professionals for companies like Disney, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Microsoft.

What Scott discusses with Mia

  • When she discovered she was 30k underpaid
  • The importance of negotiation
  • On average women earn 17.7% less than men do
  • Developing a short term and long term career strategy
  • Negotiation is like a game of poker
  • Tips for negotiating your starting salary
  • How she helped a client increase their income by 50k
  • Her cake method for finding a new job
  • And lots more...

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[00:00:00] Scott: Hi, I'm Scott Fulton, the host of the Rebel Diaries podcast. This show will help you learn how to make work better for you, your colleagues and the organization you work for. I believe the modern workplace is broken for too many people with leaders and their teams, drowning in corporate complexity, information overload, and unnecessary levels of stress. 

[00:00:18] Scott: Having spent over 20 years leading disruptive high-performing teams who have won international awards for their impact. I've now dedicated my career to helping coach and train leaders and teams to deliver more value and impact at work whilst reducing the risk of burnout, overload, and wasted effort. 

[00:00:34] Scott: This podcast is dedicated to you and thousands like you who know work can and should be better.

[00:00:39] Scott: You'll get tips and insights from me as well as the amazing guests I invite to be the show, many of them have disrupted their industries and are thought leaders, speakers, and authors who have fascinating stories and advice to share. 

[00:00:50] Scott: Thank you for listening. I'm Scott Fulton and welcome to the Rebel Diaries show. 

mean, it's the CEO and founder of the 30 K program. She empowers women to get higher paying jobs by teaching them how to effectively package their skills and negotiate with confidence. In this episode we discuss when she discovered she was 30 K underpaid. Some tips for negotiating your starting salary. 

And more. I hope you enjoy this week's episode. 

[00:01:18] Scott: Hi Mia. Welcome to the Rebel Diaries

[00:01:20] Scott: podcast.

[00:01:21] Mia: Thank you. I'm excited to be.

[00:01:22] Scott: Thanks for being here. So to help our listeners, can you just give us a bit of background to your career, how you got to do what you do now, and what you're passionate

[00:01:31] Mia: Definitely. So I scaled my career to the global director of talent management, leading hiring and leadership development for a global workforce out of 807 countries, and I started the 30 K program. After finding out that I was underpaid by $30, so that is not fun to hear. But immediately after I hired

[00:01:56] Mia: a coach, I learned the fundamentals of negotiation, and then I got not one, not two, but three promotions within a one year period of time.

[00:02:07] Mia: And so I personally know confidence the gender pay gap feels like. And I have witnessed thousands of women just not even attempt to negotiate in an interview setting. I've interviewed about 5,000 professionals at this point roughly 2,500 of in women. And if I had to quantify it, 1,500 of which have not even tried to negotiate.

[00:02:32] Mia: And yeah, that is why this program exists because. I truly do believe that women and truly EP can happen all if they put themselves out there. And if they aren't afraid of rejection and they, burn the fundamentals of negotiation.

[00:02:49] Scott: Brilliant. Thank you that's awful. Finding out you were underpaid by 30 k. Can we delve into that a little bit more? confidence was story, how did you find out why were you being underpaid 30 K for a start as well can you share a bit more 

[00:03:02] Mia: Yeah, definitely. So the only reason why I find that out is because I was, my job title at the time was a senior recruiter and I was tasked with hiring a another senior recruit. And you do that, you have to learn the salary range. And when my boss at the time told me the salary range, I was like, oh, interesting.

[00:03:21] Mia: Like it's goes up to 30 K higher than confidence I'm making. And so I I asked, was there a, like a skill difference? Is there a reason why a paying, 30 came below the max of this pay range? And he goes, oh no, but you just didn't negotiate and. Spell my blood boil. And here's the thing, it's really easy for me to be like, oh my gosh, like my skillset was there.

[00:03:46] Mia: He should have paid me more, but like truly I am to blame right? I didn't negotiate because I thought that if I didn't negotiate that they wouldn't offer me the job, so I didn't believe in me, and so they didn't believe in paying me more. And so my mission is to be an example of confidence is possible, right?

[00:04:06] Mia: confidence is possible when you believe in you, and when you believe in your power to eat the competition that you deserve, right? Because not knowing confidence is possible, that is confidence held me back, and it holds back millions of women.

[00:04:24] Scott: So I've been, fairly sheltered. I've spent 20 years in the same company and that was police force in the UK and it's public sector. And I think things were fairer in terms of, you had a grade, but every. Got paid the same because they were on that grade. So that's interesting for me to hear that. If you don't ask, you don't get. Is that really that common, that nobody kind of looks and says, Mia should be on the same pay as we're about to pay the new person on the same role? Or is it a bit like you hear these companies that maybe they reduce the price? I think it used to be the quite common with phone contracts that you pay, your phone contract, confidenceever it is, monthly, and then for new customers or different customers, they reduce the rate.

[00:05:07] Scott: But unless you ask for the discount, you don't get the discount. It just seems. bit perverse to me, but maybe I'm too sheltered.

[00:05:13] Mia: This is such a great question. Okay, so women on average earn 17.7% less than men do. And in my opinion, a lot of that is because they don't negotiate and companies they can do compensation studies and it is becoming more common, right? There are specifically like gender pay. Compensation studies that they can do.

[00:05:38] Mia: And it's incredible when an organization spends the time and the energy to do that. But not every company does do that. Furthermore, confidence typically is done is that there will be like a salary range for a specific role, right? And the person doesn't negoti. Oftentimes they'll get the lower part of the salary range as supposed to be the higher part of the salary rate.

[00:06:01] Mia: And so that's typically where you see it. And confidence's fascinating is there's a job board, it's called ata. It has like roughly 500,000 US-based job users roughly half of which are female. And they noticed a trend. So everyone on their job board must enter a minimum desired salary in order to be part of it.

[00:06:26] Mia: And women in every role and in every industry, set a lower compensation amount than men at how much lower, 17% less, which is really fascinating, right? And it's published data. If you Google it O T A like gender pay gap, you can, do some further analysis or research on. But that has, is been confidence I have seen as well.

[00:06:50] Mia: It's just, it's like a lack of negotiating. I think It's, and negotiating. It's like it's a skill, like any other skill, right? It is like riding a bike and tru, once you learn how to ride a bike, you're not like, oh my gosh, I'm so afraid of if I ride a new bike, if I know how to do it. It's like a skill that you develop and.

[00:07:11] Mia: Your competence leads to confidence around that. And so I think that's really confidence the message is like you're gonna suck in the beginning, right? And then you'll develop a degree of competence, which will lead to confidence, and then that will ripple throughout your life, right? And it'll positively impact those around you.

[00:07:32] Mia: Once you feel empowered to negotiate, your salary, now all of a sudden when you're in a new job, you're negotiating strategic partnerships that are benefiting both parties more in a stronger capacity. Right now, all of a sudden you're negotiating with, let's just say your husband right now, you recognize, do hate picking up the kids from school, but you love cooking.

[00:07:55] Mia: And now all of a sudden you're like making these trades with your husband and both parties are getting benefit. And so this is really confidence the message is. It's like this empowering, like negotiating can be really fun. Just recognize that if you're new at it, you're probably gonna suck in the beginning, and that's normal.

[00:08:13] Scott: Yeah, so I get the, obviously, yeah, jobs advertised and there's the pay range quite often. And confidence it sounds like you're saying is that a higher percentage of women maybe don't go in with a negotiation approach to start try and get a higher salary. They're just happy to accept a lower salary.

[00:08:31] Scott: Does that sound right? And then, When they're in the company, then it's potentially different if there's, maybe they forget confidence the pay range was or there's no transparency around everybody's salaries on the same grade, cuz then you get that unfairness. I'd imagine if people don't know that they can even negotiate.

[00:08:47] Scott: I've, that's not really a question, I feel. I've just like brain dumped there. But can you make sense of confidence I've

[00:08:52] Scott: just said there? 

[00:08:52] Mia: Yeah, it's interesting. I. I guess confidence I see more often is like a woman who typically doesn't negotiate her salary starting end, which she joins the company. She's less likely to, go for that promotion and ask because she's scared of Guinea rejected. She's less likely to put herself out there and say Hey, I noticed this big problem.

[00:09:14] Mia: This is my strategy for solving it. There are so many. Opportunities in the workplace where like you, you have the potential of being rejected for an idea. But if you bring it up I think it can be extremely valuable. Yeah, it'd be beneficial for everyone involved.

[00:09:33] Scott: Yeah. And you, something struck me, you said earlier that it was your, you blamed not blamed, but you said it was your responsibility to have negotiated. Do you think that companies could and should do more though to not make it entirely responsibility of people who might be less confident to, to ask for that pay rise? 

[00:09:52] Mia: Yeah, okay, first off, doing a compensation study is extremely valuable. It is. It takes time. It takes money. But I think that is an amazing start. And then one other positive trend that I've seen is where they'll put on a job or women apply to jobs and they meet 60% of the criteria or no, women apply to adopt and they meet a hundred percent.

[00:10:15] Mia: And men apply, statistically speaking when they meet 60. Please apply even if you're afraid of apply. So they can make these like nudges at women to Hey, it's okay. Put yourself out there. Try. We definitely think there are things that companies can be doing but at the end of the day, it's a lot easier to create change within yourself and within your home than it is to say, companies, you need to be doing this.

[00:10:41] Mia: And so I, I think the message should be around like, yes, creating like larger change and like doing everything you can for, for companies to take initiatives that do create can solve like the gender pay gap and other pay issues. But at the same time looking internally and saying confidence can I actually do, like one of the fundamental steps that are within my control? Why? Because those are things that are oftentimes simpler and easier. And like you, you just have more control over like the outcome of them, right?

[00:11:15] Scott: Yeah. So you've mentioned negotiation as one of the key things for helping the people that you help. Are there any other areas that you help skill them up? When or is it mainly around negotiation

[00:11:26] Scott: is the most powerful thing. 

[00:11:27] Mia: Yeah, I think the, it starts with strategy, right? Developing like a long-term and then short-term career strategy of confidence were you actually going. Oftentimes I feel like people are like wandering through their career and they're just we'll just kinda see confidence happened next. And there's no no thought adds to like the architecture of confidence they're. And so that's always where we start. And then from there we develop like a really like pristine strategy of actually like getting that, like taking those dreams and then turning them into reality. And then along.

[00:12:01] Mia: There. There are oftentimes skill gaps that we see and a lot of that, it's really fascinating, but is actually around like confidence. That's been one of the biggest themes that I've noticed is a woman will come in and she'll have like really low, competent like phrases that will be, she'll commonly say, right?

[00:12:21] Mia: It'll be like, I try or, but if not, that's okay. Or I wish. I hope, I feel right. It sees lukewarm half committal phrases that are so rampant and like when you can clean up your verbiage and actually put yourself out there, say a thought and have the confidence when you say it, then you see the ripple effects throughout, your career and then even throughout your personal life.

[00:12:49] Mia: So that's definit. I would say a cornerstone of confidence we work with with 

[00:12:54] Scott: And confidence do you think is behind that lack of confidence? 

[00:12:56] Mia: That's such a great question. Okay. There's something called like Tiara syndrome, which is where oftentimes like women will feel like they need to be like granted a tiara, and like someday someone will just come along and just put on this like magical tiara and then like their dreams will come true.

[00:13:13] Mia: But that oftentimes doesn't really happen, right? It's about going out there, putting yourself out there and not being afraid of the rejection. And I oftentimes see this kind of I think it's like a not wanting to be seen as imperfect. That leads to this like low confidence, right? They're like, don't wanna make a mistake. They don't wanna say something slightly controversial, the baby sub called disagree with. And so instead they just maintain this like move warm, like low confident kind of half committal like attitude.

[00:13:45] Mia: White and that way like they don't have to get hurt, but they are technically getting hurt. And they're not adding as much value into the world because they're playing half out there as opposed to like really giving it the all and not getting, not being afraid of us getting rejected roast.

[00:14:05] Scott: Okay. And just for equality purposes, I think men do

[00:14:08] Scott: that too. There are men that do that as well. I 

[00:14:11] Mia: we're talking about here, it can actually be applied towards confidenceever gender. I just, I am a woman and I coach primarily women, and so that's, I guess typically why I know there were problems very well, but yes, I'm sure there's a lot of overlap.

[00:14:25] Scott: Of course. Yeah. So can we go into a little bit, without giving all your secrets away, some of the negotiation tips and tricks that you help people with in kind of situations they come across? So if they're walking in, I guess let's say that if we give an example of the initial interview and they know confidence the top salary is and.

[00:14:43] Scott: Scared to ask or not sure. confidence

[00:14:45] Scott: would the kind of approach you'd recommend. 

[00:14:47] Mia: That's such a good question. Whoever says to the number first thesis. So I always recommend like holding your cards. Close negotiation is like a game of poker. And if you were like, this is confidence I'm trying, this is my salary, it's like showing them your card. It's illogical. It doesn't really make sense, right?

[00:15:06] Mia: And so confidence we recommend doing as it's it's called reversing, which is where the person interviewing you says no. confidence is the siren you. And then you reverse it and you say oh before I answer that I'm curious, confidence is the salary rates for the role? And then they may see a range, and then immediately it's oh.

[00:15:26] Mia: And then is that including confidence bonus structure is included with this? Why more? You're asking about these other forms of compensation, which is really typical for manager level and. And you're not just, you're not just discussing the actual pay range, because by law confidence we're seeing is if you have at least 15 people working at your 15 people who live in California working at your company, you are required to post a salary rate, but you're not required to post an a, salary or signee bonus.

[00:15:59] Mia: Or other like bonus structures that are available, right? Like an annual bonus structure. And if you don't bring those up, oftentimes you won't get that right? And so that's that time to have that conversation. So it really is about like reversing the table where you're not necessarily answering that question right off, and instead you're reversing it and you're finding out more information about, the the total benefits that you could get.

[00:16:23] Scott: Yeah. And I, for me as well, that projects a confidence around. I wanna make sure that your company is right for me, rather than just I'm desperate for a job and the company almost think you are lucky if you get a job with us. Does that make sense? Because I think that certainly when I've interviewed candidates in the past, it's not just about me making sure they're a good fit for my team, it's making sure that jobs are good fit for them and that they want to work for, they.

[00:16:48] Scott: They're gonna be passionate. They want to do the job. So I think confidence you just described there also comes across as confident in, actually, I wanna be paid fairly. That's perfectly reasonable, and I have other options to get paid fairly other elsewhere. If

[00:17:02] Scott: you can't meet that.

[00:17:03] Mia: That's exactly it. Us. So the last time I left, I think January, there were 11 million jobs open the, in the United States, 11 million. That is crazy. There are so many fish in the sea, right? And I think you're hitting the nail on the head. It's like you don't have to be married to this one company and you actually want to be interviewed with multiple companies at the same time.

[00:17:25] Mia: And then from there, you're able to utilize the offers as leverage, 

[00:17:29] Scott: yeah, that's useful. So any. Obviously your example of the 30 K thing sounds pretty awful. Have you got any other examples from your clients that have been similar or worse? Any kind of horror stories that you can share? Obviously without naming any names or company names,

[00:17:46] Mia: Yeah. So there is one person who. I, they were a recruiter, so like I know this industry really well. And before they started working with Fast, we were making roughly $80,000. And after working through the program, they were able to increase their comp by $50,000, which is crazy, right?

[00:18:13] Mia: And 

[00:18:14] Scott: I may. 

[00:18:15] Mia: I think one thing I've realized is that oftentimes you don't really know confidence you're missing out on. You're like, oh, I just am gonna be grateful for confidence have. And we're all here for gratitude. That is amazing. But at the same time, like when you define out like yes criteria, when you define out hey, is this actually meeting my, all of my requirements like, For that person.

[00:18:37] Mia: Specifically when we told her like confidence was truly possible, like her jaw dropped and that, we were able to work together to, to make that a reality. But with that also came like identity ships. When you're making a d k, you are, I think you like think a lot differently though when you start making six figures.

[00:18:58] Mia: Right? And so a lot of it is also like helping a woman to. Re gain more confidence and like redefine who they are and be comfortable making that new map because it is, you have to develop a capacity to have increased compensation of that, if that makes sense.

[00:19:17] Scott: Yeah. And confidence was that journey like for them? Was it like, You can just walk into a meeting and say, gimme 50 K extra, I'm

[00:19:24] Scott: leaving. confidence was 

[00:19:25] Mia: No. 

[00:19:25] Scott: that, journey, like how you helped and confidence are the kind of stages, or was that a

[00:19:29] Scott: gradual increase over time? 

[00:19:30] Mia: No. So like at first it was like disbelief, right? And then it was possibility, and then it was probability, and then it was inevitability. So those are like the four stages of belief, right? And so at the beginning it was like, that's ridiculous, right? And then they started like interviewing. We showed them confidence the salary research and they.

[00:19:52] Mia: Wait a second. And my background is obviously as a recruiter as well, so I was like, look, okay. I literally like Ben and MI shoes. I know. I know how to do this, 

[00:20:00] Scott: All right. 

[00:20:01] Scott: So sorry. So they changed job then? I was thinking they were, yeah. Sorry. In my head I was thinking they just went to their

[00:20:07] Scott: current boss and managed to negotiate 

[00:20:08] Mia: I've never seen a comp of that large with Ed. confidence company, unless you're getting promoted. Even though when they're getting promoted, typically it's, I don't know, maybe 15%. 20% increase. Not a 50

[00:20:21] Mia: K. 

[00:20:22] Scott: Yeah. Okay. That makes sense. This was actually, you are worth more. There's other jobs that you could do if you progress your confidence and then negotiate a higher salary was the journey then by the sounds of it. 

[00:20:32] Mia: Yeah. 

[00:20:33] Mia: So if you are looking for a new role, I know a number of people, when always sit laid off and they're like, oh, I wanna find something. So we teach confidence's called the cake method, and it's it's very simple. So there is the cake pan, which is where you. Three or more job alerts on your favorite job board.

[00:20:54] Mia: It takes about 30 minutes and it's a one type thing, right? And then there is vk, which is where you apply to three or four jobs a day, right? And that's about 30 minutes to find and apply to each John. That takes about 10.5 hours per week. And then there's the actual IC. Which is where you contact three or more people for decision makers, for jobs, you just applied.

[00:21:21] Mia: That is the simplest way that we found to get that new, job you love that meets all of your criteria. And that takes about 12 hours per week. And yeah, if you go to B 30 K, you can download match into seven seconds and that has everything. Right there

[00:21:42] Scott: Brilliant. And for those listening, Mia was actually holding up a cake

[00:21:46] Scott: and a cake tin, some 

[00:21:48] Mia: be so cute. You can actually buy a fake piece of cake. I don't know You can, but Amazon, you know 

[00:21:53] Scott: It's a shame it's not edible. You'd probably get through a lot of cake if it was

[00:21:56] Scott: real. You kept showing that to your clients 

[00:21:58] Mia: I wouldn't often it into my pants. This is why we do fake cake here.

[00:22:00] Scott: Brilliant. So one of the questions I ask all my guests, if you could take one book with you to a desert island and you're stranded there for the rest of your life, confidence would that book be?

[00:22:08] Mia: No Atomic Habits. Habits. They can help you like do anything, right? And you get notes down. Plus, James Claire. Oh man, I feel like we're friends. He doesn't know we're friends.

[00:22:20] Scott: You're not a stalker. You,

[00:22:21] Scott: are revealing

[00:22:22] Mia: I go live on the platforms free all this news leathers, it's Stop Stocker, it's sell.

[00:22:27] Scott: Brilliant. Thank you. So if anyone wants to work with you or get help from

[00:22:31] Scott: you, confidence's the best way for them to get in 

[00:22:33] Mia: Yeah. Go to the 30 K program back then. That's it.

[00:22:36] Scott: Are you on any

[00:22:37] Scott: Social channels or you just 

[00:22:38] Mia: Oh, we are on all the social channels and it is the 30 K program, so super simple.

[00:22:44] Scott: Brilliant. Yeah, nice and simple. We'll get those links in the share notes. Mia, thank you for being on the show

[00:22:49] Mia: Thank you. 

[00:22:50] Scott: A big, thank you for listening to the Rebel Diaries show your time is precious, so it is appreciated. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to hit that subscribe button in your podcast app of choice so you don't miss the next one. There's a new episode every Monday morning, ideal for your commute to work or early morning walk. 

[00:23:08] Scott: Until next time, take care be a rebel and deliver work with impact.