Natalie Portman: Kutcher was paid 3x as much for No Strings Attached

Natalie Portman was paid 3x less than her co-star

Here are 5 salary negotiation tips to remember

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Oscar-winning Hollywood actress Natalie Portman is the latest celebrity to speak out against the huge gender wage gap in the entertainment industry. According to Portman, her co-star Ashton Kutcher in the 2011 film No Strings Attached was paid three times as much as her.

“I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with ‘quotes’ in Hollywood… His [quote] was three times higher than mine so they said he should get three times more. I wasn’t as pissed as I should have been. I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy,” Portman told Marie Claire.

This isn’t the first instance of a high-profile actress making public her struggle with getting equal pay. After a document leak in 2015 revealed that Jennifer Lawrence was paid much less than her male American Hustle coworkers, she went on to say that she was angry at herself. “‘I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.”

Salary negotiation can be tough as it is, without having to break through a systemically discriminatory pay structure. I feel for ya, J-Law. Now, for those who are going through the negotiation process for a lot less than millions of dollars, here are some tips to help.

1. Be the first to make a move

Set the tone for the negotiation by being the first one to put an offer on the table according to careers site Monster. The rest of the negotiation will work off that first number and hopefully the end result will be in the range you want it to be.

2. Know what to ask for

Do some digging to see what the expected earnings for your position are. You don’t want to ask for a 10% raise when you should be asking for a 3% bump instead, or in the case of Portman, a 300% raise instead of a 10% one.

3. Give a range rather than a specific number

Studies show that those who provide ranges for salary expectations (or selling your car) get a higher end price than those who provide a single figure. “Open with a price of $7,000 for your car, and you’ll get counter-offered $6,500. But open the bidding with a range of $7,000 to $7,500, and the bidding starts at $7,000,” according to Canadian Business.

4. Don’t name drop

Maybe saying, ‘Hey! Ashton Kutcher is getting paid three times as much as me” would help big-name stars like Portman or Lawrence, but for us regular folk, because dropping names could make you seem petty in an office environment. Plus, you don’t want to make enemies with George in accounting, do you?

5. Don’t say ‘yes’ too quickly

Accept an offer too early and you’ll regret it later on. Even if you’re okay with the offer, say you’ll respond in a given amount of time.


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