13 Hacks For Getting A Pay Rise From High-Flying Women

September 28, 2016

How to ask for what you deserve. 

The end of the year is fast approaching – and so is annual pay review time.

Even though it’s 2016, there’s still a pay gap between the genders, and women are on the losing side of it. On average, we’re earning 79 cents to every dollar made by men. This gap exists no matter what industry or job we enter into, and lifestyle choices only account for around 10 per cent of the disparity.

“There is absolutely a pay gap,” says The Remarkable Woman founder, Shivani Gopal.

“As much as six months ago it was 18 per cent, and has since dropped to 16.9 per cent. People have rejoiced and said “great, it isn’t a problem anymore”, but it is definitely still a problem. If they were earning 16 per cent less than their neighbor, it would be a problem for them, too.”

Because of this, it falls on us be more assertive, and openly ask our employers for what we’re worth. In fact, not asking for a pay rise is something pay gap deniers often use to ‘debunk’ the gap. But a recent study found women are most definitely asking for more money – we just aren’t getting it.

On the positive side, the study found younger women are becoming increasingly forthright when it comes to demanding a bigger pay packet, negotiating salaries more than the previous generation. So hopefully, the gap is on its way to closing even more. To speed the process up, here’s some advice from women at the top of their career game on how you can score that well-deserved raise…

1. Negotiate your pay at the beginning

“By not negotiating their job at the beginning of their career, women are leaving anywhere between $1 million and $1.5 million on the table in lost earnings over their lifetime. They wait to be offered a salary increase, they wait to be offered a promotion, and they wait to be assigned the task or team or job they want. And those things typically don’t happen very often.” –Linda Babcock, Carnegie Mellon University economist.

2. Know your worth

“If you are a valuable member of the team and you know what you’re worth in dollars and productivity, as well as the immeasurable value, like customer and coworker compliments, bring those things to the meeting. When you’ve got a star employee talking about their worth and saying they’d like to be paid their worth, you suddenly have a leader wanting to keep you, and this is when the tables turn in your favor.” –Shivani Gopal, The Remarkable Woman founder.

3. Do your research first

“Raises are rarely going to be awarded if your only reason for asking is “because I’ve been here the longest” or “because someone else in another team got one”. Focus on having some clear and persuasive things you know are worth paying more for. Think about the ways you have gone the extra mile or picked up additional projects. It’s those aspects you need to highlight.” –Bee Horton, senior digital marketing manager.

4. Be able to demonstrate your worth

“As a boss, I would really want to see the person who was approaching me for a pay rise was going above and beyond their standard hours and role, and was giving me 200 per cent. I’d want to see their passion was in alignment with my business before I evaluated their request. Be prepared to show me what you have done, and also any areas you’d like to grow into.” –Charlie De Haas, The Clean Treats Factory CEO.

5. Make yourself visible

“No one gets to the corner office by sitting on the side. Managers won’t promote a woman if they can’t see her, so we’ve got to get women to ‘sit at the table’.” –Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and bestselling author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

6. Don’t use the element of surprise

“Go in prepared. If you’re going to ask for a pay rise, book in a meeting with your leader and tell them what the meeting is about. Book it in advance, and let the idea germinate with them. Give the reasons for your raise in an email, so you can use those points to support your argument in person.” –Shivani Gopal, The Remarkable Woman founder.

7. Own your success

Women systematically underestimate their own abilities. Men attribute their success to themselves, and women attribute it to other external factors. If you ask a woman why they did a good job, what they’ll say is someone helped them, they got lucky… Why does this matter? Boy, it matters a lot, because no one gets the promotion if they don’t think they deserve their success, or they don’t even understand their own success.”–Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and bestselling author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

8. Be confident

“Sadly it is seen as socially acceptable for men to be assertive but not acceptable for women. In order to ask for a pay rise or promotion it’s essential to point out talents, abilities and skills, however many women were taught by their parents that doing so was showing off. As a result many women are reluctant to play up their strengths and are often passed over for promotion.” –Annie Ashdown, HuffPost UK blogger and bestselling author of, The Confidence Factor: 7 Secrets of Successful People.

9. Don’t be deterred by a ‘no’

“If you ask for a pay rise and you get a ‘yes’ that is fabulous. If you are told ‘no’ then ask why, and when will you be considered for one? Never take ‘no’ as the final answer. If may be a few months down the line until you get the results you want, but never give up.” –Nicci Roscoe, self-esteem and image expert.

10. Put in the hard work

“Women can get everything they’ve dreamed of, but we have to ask for it and we have to take those first steps. And you have to do the hard work to get to where you want to be. The new generation expect everything to be handed to them instead of doing everything they can to show they want to work for the business and for themselves. So if you want a pay rise, you should look at what extra things you are doing for the business and what kind of out-of-the-box thinking you have.”  –Charlie De Haas, The Clean Treats Factory CEO. 

 11. Band together

“My advice to women, whether in negotiating equal pay or achieving greater equality in the workplace more generally, is to work with your colleagues and fight for a fairer deal together. This way you put forward a strong, united voice, and you support each other, rather than going it alone.” –Margaret Hodge, British Labor MP.

12. Think like a man

“Men take jobs — and negotiate a higher salary — when they feel 60 per cent qualified, but women wait until they feel 100 per cent qualified and typically don’t negotiate. I spent two years at a job where I was sorely underpaid, and it really messed with my confidence. But once I started interviewing, no one batted an eye at my salary range, and I landed a better job at a 35 per cent increase.” —Cynthia Carlson, business development manager,

13. Be comfortable with awkward silences

“Become comfortable with occasional bouts of awkward silence. In sales, this is something that people are constantly trained in. You need to stop selling against yourself. That’s what happens when you keep talking. You need to ask a question, then shut up and give the other person a chance to respond.” –Katie Donovan, Equal Pay Negotiations founder.

Images via giphy.com, tumblr.com and imgur.com.

Comment: What tactics have worked well for you in the past in securing a pay rise or promotion?


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