The good news regarding the gender pay gap is that the difference between the earnings of women and men has shrunk. But significant disparity in how men and women are paid still remains. The uncontrolled gender pay gap, which takes the ratio of median earnings of all women to all men, decreased by $0.05 since 2015. However, women still make only $0.79 for every dollar men make in 2019.
However, few work situations are more stressful than having a private chat with your boss about money. The thought of negotiating a higher salary can make even the most confident employee feel a little awkward. But if you are a great employee, and believe that you deserve a raise for everything you do for your company, you may have to bring up the subject. Because the sad truth is that 9 times out of 10, your employer is not going to offer to pay you more money out of the blue. Get what you think you deserve by being proactive. Try the four expert techniques below to improve your chances.
1. Timing is Everything
Of course, you never want to start a conversation about getting more money if your boss is busy or having a bad day; but when is the best time to ask for a raise? That can depend on your company. Many companies have an annual employee review, and this is obviously a good time to talk about your compensation, especially if your boss just finished praising your work. But not all businesses offer performance reviews, and not all reviews coincide with the annual departmental budget adjustment period. The most reliable approach is to talk to coworkers to find out when people typical receive raises in your company, and make an appointment to speak to your boss a few weeks before that date.
2. Do Your Research
Knowing what other people are earning on average for doing a similar job before asking for a raise gives you critical information. But that doesn't mean it is appropriate to start quizzing other employees at your office about how much they are making. Instead, use sites like PayScale, Salary, or Glassdoor to find out what others in your region are bringing home. While asking coworkers about precise numbers may get you in trouble, finding out what the general raise percentage range is for your company won't raise too many eyebrows. This should give you enough information to make a rough estimate of what your boss will think of as a fair request.
3. Keep It Simple and Focus on Your Achievements
You don't have to create a full PowerPoint presentation on why the company should pay you more, in fact, doing so may have the opposite effect you want. A better approach is to highlight what you have already brought to the table and remind your boss of any new responsibilities you have taken on since joining the company. Avoid talking about your personal financial situation or comparing your current salary to others. Always have a specific number in mind before talking to your boss in case she asks for one.
4. Prepare For Rejection
It is a rare boss who will approve your salary increase on the spot. More likely, you will receive a noncommittal answer. If you get a 'maybe,' find out when your boss may be able to tell you for sure. Aim for a specific date for a followup meeting, and send an email to your manager to confirm the time. Unfortunately, there is a chance your manager will refuse your request for a raise. As long as you respond politely, there is still hope. Find out if there are any specifics you need to improve to secure an increase in pay. The reason for the refusal may be something as simple as you are already earning the highest salary possible in your current position or that you haven't worked at the company long enough.
Asking for a raise is difficult, but by taking steps today your future will be brighter.
Angela Dorsey is the founder and financial advisor at Dorsey Wealth Management, a fee-only financial planning firm based in Torrance, California, helping women prepare for retirement. Angela earned a BS in computer science from Loyola Marymount University, an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management, and spent 20 years as a Senior Compensation Specialist in large corporations before becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). That background gave her the tools to couple with her passion for empowering women to make the best financial decisions possible. Angela lives in Torrance, California, with her husband. She enjoys spending time at the beach or surrounded by nature. To learn more about Angela, connect with her on LinkedIn.
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