Navigating Fair Compensation Like a Main Character
Posted: Friday, Mar 08

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Navigating Fair Compensation Like a Main Character
From KBI

The world continues to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women across various industries, it’s imperative to remind ourselves of the not so celebratory experiences that women encounter. Suzanne Vos, a recognised international Innovation Leader and professional public speaker steps forward to share her candid encounters with being asked to provide her expertise at commercial events for reduced rates or worse, for free.

Vos recounts a particular instance where a prominent financial institution in Australia approached her to deliver a keynote on innovation as part of their campaign to showcase women leaders. Initially, there was an understanding about a budget for her services, but as time progressed, it transpired that there was no budget available, leaving Vos puzzled by the sudden change.

Vos touches on her experiences with other organisations, where she was expected to provide strategic guidance and run off-site leadership programs without fair compensation for her expertise and effort. In reflecting on these occurrences, Vos shares her insights into the motivations behind such requests, acknowledging that while some may stem from genuine misalignments and misunderstandings, others border on opportunism.

“But as time progressed, they shared that there was no budget available, and they asked me if I was willing to do the engagement for free.”

In response to these challenges, Vos adopts a forward-thinking approach, focusing on the importance of clearly communicating boundaries and ensuring a fair exchange of value. She advocates for individuals to recognise their worth, especially when providing valuable expertise, and encourages them to consider the long-term implications of taking on work for reduced rates or for nothing.

The Innovation Leader provides advice for emerging professionals, acknowledging the need for a strategic approach when building a brand initially and then ultimately transitioning from offering services for free, to confidently setting fair rates that align with the expertise and experience provided. The practical insights and nuanced understanding of managing the dynamic between compensation, and doing work for free is not always easy. Vos shared her opinion as a guiding light for others who are experiencing similar challenges on how to fairly ask for compensation, without drawing the short straw.

Vos reiterated the importance of taking a moment for introspection when making decisions about offering expertise at reduced rates or for free, emphasising the significance of weighing up the opportunity cost.

“There comes a point, that I need to draw a line when doing things for free, and making sure that there’s food on the table.”

The Production Team
The KBI Production Team is a staff of specialist technology professionals with a detailed understanding across much of cybersecurity and emerging technology. With many decades of collective industry experience, as well as expertise in marketing & communications, we bring news and analysis of the cybersecurity industry.
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