It is well-documented that women are not paid as much as men. Women generally earn 79 cents to every dollar earned by a man. Which is more of a reason for you to ask for a raise! The truth is, not only do we make less than men, we also ask for fewer raises. (which is part of the bigger issue) The Wall Street Journal cited a number of studies in an article over the gender wage gap. The research found men ask for more money when starting a new job more often than women, and they ask for raises more often than women. So if you feel underpaid there’s a good chance you are, and if you think you deserve a raise you are probably right.
Now to the tricky part. Actually asking for a raise. For some reason, most women are reluctant to ask for more money. Many feel like their hard work should be recognized without them having to ask for it. Good luck with that. Very rarely will a boss offer up more money as kudos for a job well done. (can you blame them?) I love asking for raises. When I deserve them. One boss I had said he had never had an employee ask for a raise as much as I had. But I was in a situation where I knew I was underpaid for what I was doing, so I did ask for a raise every chance I got. And guess what? I got a raise every time. My boss knew I was right, and pushed to get me the salary I was worth.
The Right Way to Ask for a Raise
- Schedule a time: Don’t just walk into your bosses office in the middle of the afternoon and ask for a raise. She or he may not have the allotted time scheduled to listen to the details of your request. You don’t know their schedule for the day and deciding to take up 20 minutes of it, unexpectedly, is not a good way to get what you want. Email your boss to schedule a time that works. You don’t have to say you want a raise in the email. You can say: I would like to schedule some time with you to discuss my future here at the company or I would love to sit down with you to talk about my job performance. This gives your boss time before the meeting to check out your file and get caught up with your current projects. As a former manager, I can tell you… we already have a good idea where you are going with this, so it gives us a chance to get prepared.
- Prepare your case: Now is the time to tell your boss how awesome YOU are. Have an outline of why you deserve a raise. Be prepared with examples. The big project you recently nailed. That high paying client you secured. Your commitment to the company. Your willingness to stay late or come in early if that is what is needed. Shine, shine, shine. This is not a review of your performance. You don’t need to bring up the areas you need to improve or that one mistake you made 3 weeks ago. This is YOUR meeting where YOU are asking for more money, so only highlight the good stuff. Pretend it’s like a job interview… no matter what your boss comes back with always try to circle it back around to your awesomeness.
- Don’t compare: Comparison is the thief of joy… and raises. Did you notice how I highlighted the YOU part in the above paragraph? That is because YOU should be the ONLY person you are talking about in this meeting. DO NOT bring up how you’ve heard Joe makes more than you, which isn’t fair since you’ve been here longer. DO NOT bring up how you deserve a raise since you always stay late because Sue leaves early every day. I can tell you from experience there is nothing worse than sitting down with an employee who puts down everyone else in an attempt to get what they want. Focus on yourself and what you bring to the table, don’t worry about anyone else.
- Be specific: Go in with an exact amount. Do you want a 10% percent raise? 5-thousand dollars more a year? Whatever that amount is, be sure to figure it out before you go into the meeting and drop that exact number. Be realistic here. Do your research. Figure out a number that you would be happy with and then go a tiny bit higher. (since you are probably worth more than you think)
As always, before asking for more money, you need to take into account the climate of your company. If you are doing extra work because 30 people were just laid off due to budget cuts… you may want to rethink that raise request for now. There you go. My best tips on how to ask for a raise. You may do all of the above and still not get a raise. That is always a chance. However, your boss will never fault you for asking for more money. It proves that you respect yourself and know your worth. Maybe she can’t make it happen this time, but in 6 months the budget will be there. (yes, you will have to ask again) Go get that money honey, you deserve it.