Even when we have legitimate reasons to ask for a raise, women are generally more reluctant than men to make the request of their employer. Only 57 percent of women say they’re comfortable asking for a raise or negotiating pay. Many fear that they would overstep if they countered the offer. Some women would rather change jobs in search of better pay than ask their boss for a bump in pay. What’s more, if the request for a raise is denied, women are less likely than men to ask the reason.
Such reluctance to ask for what we’re worth contributes to an ongoing gender pay disparity. Women on average earn about $.82 for every dollar men earn. Another cause is not knowing how much to expect to be compensated for a given position.
In a move toward better pay transparency, several states have required employers to provide a salary range for posted positions. Additionally, some states have laws that require employers to disclose the pay range for a position if an applicant requests it. The hope is that such disclosure will help reduce gender and racial pay gaps.
Especially for the introverted or those uncomfortable negotiating money matters, the efforts at pay transparency remove the uncertainty about how much salary to expect. (For those who live in a location where they need to do their own investigation, explore sites such as Glassdoor.com or PayScale.com to uncover what those in similar positions and experience earn.)
In the past, women generally left the amount of their compensation up to their bosses. They tended to accept whatever they were offered, including any amount of annual increase, in order to avoid any awkwardness. But it’s time for working women to rise up and realize their worth, especially in these times of labor shortages and employee retention challenges.
Whether you’re in the job search phase or have been with your company awhile, consider these valid reasons why you should ask for additional compensation.
You have more to offer than the competition.
If you’ve received a job offer, you now have the advantage. You know you’re considered the best of the bunch who they’ve interviewed. If the salary range was posted in the job announcement, but the salary offered is in the middle or low range, be sure to counter in the upper range — particularly if you meet or exceed all the qualifications. Or, if you know you bring more skills and experience than required, bump up your counter offer beyond the high amount. Point out the expertise you bring, and your ability to hit the ground running.
You’ve been in your position for a year or more.
Especially if your organization is lax about annual reviews, don’t let your one-year anniversary slip by without meeting with your boss or manager to discuss a raise. Plan ahead so that you’re prepared in case you’re not offered an annual bump. Have an amount in mind, and arguments for why it’s fair. To make your case, prepare a list of your accomplishments that show how you’ve added value to the company — preferably with quantifiable results. For example, show the percentage by which you increased consumer outreach or team productivity.
Your workload has increased.
As many business owners scramble to streamline and become more efficient in order to recoup losses due to the pandemic, oftentimes they refrain from replacing employees who leave and disperse the duties among remaining staff. If this means that your 40-hour work week often spills over into 46, 48, and even 50 hours, it’s time to adjust your salary proportionately, if not more. Keep track of these overtime hours and present them to your boss to start your discussion. If budgets are tight and a pay increase is off the table, negotiate for more time off or a more flexible schedule.
You have more responsibility.
If your boss has required that you take on more responsibility, you can infer that it means you’re considered up to the task. Build your case for a raise by making sure you achieve in your added tasks — and even go above and beyond expectations. Focus on how your work has added to your team’s efforts or contributed to the bottom line.
Your role has changed from the original job description.
If your job has morphed to fill a need or allow the company to pursue a new path, you have a strong case to make for your added value. Share what particular skills you developed to meet your new responsibilities, and offer ways that they can be applied in the future. Think in terms of your boss’s perspective and present a plan for what you plan to work on in the coming year. In this way, you appear indispensable.
These conversations are always best conducted face-to-face. When you request a meeting with your boss, say you’d like to discuss your career. Then during the meeting, exude confidence and positivity. Keep the conversation about your work, not your personal life.
One caveat to consider is making sure to rein in any urge to overstep. Your requests should be reasonable and made politely. If you come off as arrogant, demanding, or entitled, the employer will be less likely to agree to any added compensation or conditions. A measure of humility and a big dose of gratitude will ensure that you and the boss remain on good terms.
This article was written by Vicky Oliver and originally appeared on Switch.