Your Questions Answered: Do I Share How Much I Make?

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 #BUILTBYGIRLS community.


How transparent should you be when asked how much you make?

Answer the question “How much do you make?” with how much you expect to make in this job given the competitive market rate of the role you are interviewing for. You can use phrasing such as:

“Based on my experience doing _____ for [insert period of time], I’m exploring roles in the $xxx - $xxx range.”**

Do not respond to a question about how much you are currently making with a number. Why? Because you are probably being paid below market. There’s a ton of research that suggests women don’t ask, and when we do, we undervalue our worth. In Women Don’t Ask, Sara Laschever and Linda Babcock present studies illustrating women’s propensity to assume things are non-negotiable or ask for less. In one study, researchers asked kids, 1st - 10th grade, to perform a small task and pay themselves what they deserved in the form of Hershey’s kisses. No matter what age, girls consistently undervalued themselves - between 30 and 78% less! I duplicated the study and found similar results.


A below-market salary from the past does not need to carry forward to your next job. This is why many states have made it illegal for employers to ask candidates their current salary. Your past does not need to be your future.

Read more from Raffi here and subscribe to Dear Nasty.