Student Voice


July 12, 2024

New salary negotiation workshop offered on campus

March 25, 2015

The first ever "Start Smart Salary Negotiation Workshop" will be held from 2-5 p.m. on April 8 in the St. Croix River Room in the University Center.

The event is open to all students and is free to register, but the three hour hands-on interactive workshop will be capped at 30 participants.

The workshop will be hosted by Career Services and presented by UW-River Falls Assistant Director of Career Services McKenna Pfeiffer and UW-Eau Claire Career Services Associate Director Staci Heidtke.

Heidtke has hosted this workshop at Eau Claire and received positive feedback from participants.

“Participants said it was incredibly helpful information, they received valuable knowledge for negotiating salaries and benefits,” Heidtke said.

The workshop will be discussing four main topics that could potentially affect any working adult, so it's important for students to attend to gain the skills and knowledge they will need in the future.

“It’s important for students to know that they can advocate for themselves,” Pfeiffer said. “The purpose of negotiation is to get paid fair-market value, and I think a lot of times students don’t understand that there are opportunities to negotiate.”

One topic that the workshop will cover is the gender wage gap. The gender wage gap is the income difference between men and women in earnings.

“It is an important workshop for any undergraduate to attend to learn about the wage gap and how it affects your long-term financial future,” Heidtke said.

The current gender wage gap translates to females earning $0.78 on the dollar compared to their male counterparts.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the pay gap between men and women is smaller than it was in 1960, but if progress continues at the same rate as the last few decades, the income divide won’t close until 2058.

Students will also learn how to develop a personal budget to determine salary needs.

“We will look at developing a bare-bones budget. Having students think through realistic price tags associated with living expenses such as rent, car payments, and student loan payments so they know what they need to live,” Pfeiffer said.

As students prepare to graduate they will also need to think about negotiating their first salary.

“The workshop offers an opportunity to practice wage negotiation- not an easy thing to do but an essential part of the job search,” Heidtke said.

The workshop will teach students how to benchmark salary and benefits.

“Students have to do research and understand what the fair market value in the geographic region they are seeking and applying for jobs,” Pfeiffer said.

When it comes to thinking about salary and benefits, Pfeiffer emphasizes that it is all about building a case.

“When it comes to negotiation, students have to build a case founded on skills, experiences, and education they bring, and what benefits they will bring to that company,” Pfeiffer said.

Start Smart Salary Negotiation Workshops are held all across the country and are a partnership between American Association of University Women and the Wage Project.

This is the first time that an event like this will be available to UWRF students. In the past, students could only meet one-on-one with a Career Services advisor or attend a class presentation to learn about these topics, but now seemed like the right time to host this event.

“Spring seems like the right time to host an event like this with the volume of graduates in May,” Pfeiffer said.

For more information or to register for the workshop, go to