Your Questions Answered: Should I Negotiate my Salary as an Intern?

Raffi Sapire is a salary negotiation coach, entrepreneur and former venture capitalist based in New York. She delivers answers to personal negotiation questions to your inbox each week at NastyGap, and this week she’s answering questions from the BBG community. See below for three answers to your burning questions.


As an intern, is it good to negotiate starting salary?

To answer your question personally, I need more context on your internship, your salary, and whether it is below/above the average intern salary for your industry. When you are an intern, you’re there to learn or to get a foot in the door in an industry you want to build a career in. At the same time, negotiation is a skill that improves when you practice. For that reason, I think it is good to practice negotiating your salary in a data-driven, positive way, even if the offer is already market rate.

Statistics are helpful to keep in mind when in doubt. Women don’t ask for more as often as men.  In fact, men may be initiating four times as many negotiations as women. In a study, Linda Babcock conducted a study that looked at the starting salaries of students graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with their master’s degrees. There was a big difference in who negotiated their salary and who had accepted the initial offer. While only 7 percent of the female students negotiated, 57 percent (eight times as many) of the men had asked for more money. The study goes on to explain that the gap between men and women’s salaries was almost exactly the difference between men’s and women’s average starting pay. This suggests that the salary differences between the men and the women might not exist if the women had negotiated their offers.

Read more from Raffi here and subscribe to Dear Nasty.

Header image via Women of Color in Tech.