Salary workshops open students to negotiation

Mind the gap: Understanding the gender pay gap helps college students better negotiate their first compensation packages, according to the American Association of University Women.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Heads up, campus-to-corporate recruiters: An innovative workshop will prepare NYIT students to better negotiate their starting salaries and benefits.

The New York Institute of Technology has partnered with the American Association of University Women to bring a series of “Start Smart” sessions to NYIT’s Old Westbury Campus. The practicum is designed to provide students – women and men – with the knowledge they’ll need to go toe-to-toe in a compensation package tête-à-tête.

The two institutions have partnered before. In April 2016, the AAUW and NYIT hosted a Student Leadership Conference in New York City, designed to help female students embrace diversity in professional settings, gain a better understanding of gender-specific workplace issues and strengthen their professional voices. In 2016 and again this April, NYIT’s Manhattan campus welcomed similar Start Smart workshops.

There are two versions of the AAUW workshops – Start Smart, for college students, and Work Smart, for professional women – both focused on the tools job-seekers need to secure the best benefits. Both incarnations also educate participants on issues such as the gender pay gap, in an attempt to help close it.

Start Smart has surfaced on Long Island before, most recently in April, when Stony Brook University held an AAUW salary-negotiation workshop for graduate students and post-docs.

Nada Anid: Well prepared.

While they do put particular emphasis on giving soon-to-be-professional women the skills and confidence to successfully negotiate their compensation packages, the workshops are beneficial to both women and men preparing to enter the workforce – and NYIT has been thrilled to partner with the AAUW on bringing additional workshops to Manhattan and now Westbury, according to Nada Anid, dean of Westbury’s School of Engineering & Computing Sciences.

“Our job is to prepare these students in every possible way,” Anid told Innovate LI. “Partnering with AAUW on programs that benefit our students, female students in particular, on salary and business negotiations and other important skills is a great opportunity.”

Boasting a 98 percent increase in the average participant’s “salary negotiation skills and knowledge,” Start Smart combines reams of salary-focused data with top-tier negotiation tactics, all to help participants better decipher job-offer complexities. By understanding the market worth of their individual skills and qualifications, participants can learn to “successfully negotiate for fair pay for the rest of their careers,” according to AAUW.

The Old Westbury workshops (date TBA) are hardly NYIT’s only effort to encourage young women to forge their best professional destinies. The theme will be reinforced again Sept. 27, when the School of Engineering & Computing Sciences teams up with computer giant IBM to host #IBMCyberDay4Girls.

The day-long event is focused on meeting a future workforce need – an estimated 1.5 million new positions will need to be filled by 2020 in cybersecurity alone, according to IBM – while encouraging young girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Programmed specifically for students in grades six through eight, the CyberDay seminars are designed to raise cybersecurity awareness at a critical juncture – precisely when peer pressures and other factors push many girls away from science and math.

Encouraging those youngsters to explore a different path – like helping young adults prepare for tough workplace negotiations – is all part of NYIT’s mission of empowerment, according to Anid.

“We want to inspire these young women,” the dean said. “By discussing the importance of cybersecurity and sharing information about future career opportunities in cybersecurity, we want to capture their imaginations and help them overcome the social pressures that turn girls away from pursuing STEM careers.”


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