In 2016, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WEGA) reported that Australian women earn 17.7% less per week on average than their male counterparts. Not only are we paid less, but we’re also much less likely to ask for a pay rise. Harvard researchers found that women who did were shut down sooner than men, and they were viewed negatively during the critical hiring process.
Because of this, research from Yale and the University of Texas found that women are keeping quiet about a pay rise to avoid backlash, embarrassment and rejection. So, how are we supposed to close the pay gap if we can’t speak up and ask for what we’re worth?
The thing is, though, we not only can ask for a pay rise but also get it, too. And here’s how…
Step 1 – Change your perspective
First things first – you are absolutely within your rights to ask for appropriate, equal compensation for your work. Your pay should reflect your value and if it doesn’t, you have as much right as your male colleagues to open a discussion.
Too many women are intimidated by salary negotiation, but recruitment expert Charlotte Rimmer suggests that we’re approaching it all wrong.
We’re more likely than men to judge our value on personal factors, such as how well-liked we are, but Rimmer cautions us to look at this from a purely business perspective.
Your boss is making financial decisions based on profit, loss and return on investment, and those numbers are hard to argue with. Speak to what motivates them and frame your request in the value you provide, not the benefits you want.
Step 2 – Do your research
It’s important to have a good idea of the typical pay rate within your market, taking into account your industry, experience and location. Finding out what other people in similar roles are getting paid will help you to judge how competitive your own pay is and set a reasonable expectation for a raise.
Research similar jobs to yours on online job boards, speak to local recruitment agencies, or contact a professional business association. They often conduct detailed salary surveys and organise industry networking events, so you can meet others in similar roles.
Step 3 – Know your worth
Your salary proposal should break down exactly what you bring to the business. Don’t assume that your boss is keeping track of your accomplishments, and don’t be afraid to bring attention to them. Make a list of everything you’ve achieved and how this has helped the company.
- Are your superior sales skills driving up profits?
- Are your streamlined systems saving time and money?
- Are you closing lucrative contracts left and right?
Put it in your business case and back it up with hard numbers. If you’ve taken on extra responsibilities, pulled out all the stops on a special project or gone above and beyond for a client, include this too.
Step 4 – Pick your moment
When you ask is just as important as how. If pay rises at your company are based on annual reviews in June, you’re unlikely to get a raise in January, so keep this in mind and prepare for it.
When the time is right, arrange a formal meeting with your boss with plenty of warning. No doubt he or she will want time to do their own research and preparation. They’ll appreciate the advance notice, and it’s more likely they’ll be in the position to act on your request.
What if they say no?
Despite your best efforts, sometimes a pay rise just isn’t on the cards. Don’t be afraid to find out why. Often this is for business reasons outside of your control, such as budgets. In that case it may be less of a ‘no’ and more of a ‘not yet’. Ask to review the situation at a future date when circumstances have changed.
Sometimes, your boss simply may not feel that you’re delivering the value needed to justify a raise. This can be tough to hear, but use it as an opportunity for constructive feedback. Ask what results your boss needs to see from you, set an appropriate timeframe for a review and then come back ready to show how you’ve taken their feedback on board.
Remember, equal pay is not a favour, it’s a right.
If you’re bringing value, you absolutely deserve to be compensated for it. By following these steps, you’ll be able to define your value and structure a compelling argument for your pay rise. And if you need further support, be sure to take advantage of my free coaching offer below. Good luck!
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