How to Ask for a Raise As a Woman and Why You Should

Harsh reality: women are paid less than men.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, as of right now, women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man makes.

And for those who aren’t familiar with the gender wage gap- this isn’t due to taking maternity leave, or having less experience, or working less hours- this is the general salary gap.

For example:

A woman who has a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and 4 years experience, compared to her coworker- a man, who also has a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and 4 years experience will make 21% less than him.

On average: TWENTY ONE PERCENT yall.

So while our sister is making, say.. $63,200 a year- her male coworker is taking home $80,000.

Refer to photo below for a breakdown of how much a woman makes per white man’s dollar:


Are yall mad yet? Because you should be.

Although there are a ton of factors that contribute to the gap (a lot of them requiring a collective effort), there are a few ways we can take matters into our own hands.

One of them:

Asking for a raise.


The book “Women Don’t Ask” by Linda Babcock studies found that men are four times more likely than women to ask for a raise.

In fact, in a BusinessInsider interview with Barbara Corcoran (you may recognize her best on SharkTank- a businesswoman, investor, author, who built a multi-million dollar company) she states:

“Out of all the years I’ve been employing men and women in my company- to date, not one woman has asked me for a raise. Not one.”

And on top of that, upon getting hired: women also don’t negotiate salaries.

According to Forbes, research found that women were more likely to take the first salary offered to them, while men were eight times more likely to negotiate for a higher salary.


Additionally, gender wage gap concerns aside, I’m here to ask you if you’re really getting paid what you deserve.

Do you go above and beyond at your job? Have you put in the time and effort to really excel in your position and you feel like you deserve more? Do you feel like your work ethic is unmatched?

My guess is this: You answered yes to all of those questions. You know why? Because you chose to read this article in the first place.


Now, let me ask you this:

With a raise, could you use that extra money to pay off a credit card? Could you use that money to go on a guilt-free, much needed BaeCation? Could you make higher payments on your student loans?

Or maybe, it’s the small things. Like getting guilt-free iced coffee in the mornings and self-care massages for working so hard and wearing so many hats.

My guess is that you’re so selfless, always putting the needs of others before your own. This is where I come in to tell you to put yourself first for once.

Ladies, let’s get in formation.

I’m here to equip you with tips from the experts- let’s get you that raise!!!


Tip #1: Do Your Homework


“It’s important to know where your salary falls in comparison to company and industry standards,” Lesa Engelthaler, a senior associate at Victory Search Group says.

A simple salary check via Glassdoor or Indeed will do the trick.

Or, you can even check with HR to see what your range is for your “pay grade”. It’s also beneficial to see if they even give performance raises.” [source]


Tip #2 – Plant the Seed


Danielle Harlan, the founder and CEO of The Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential, told Forbes that “Preparation is probably the most important part of asking for a raise, and it should start months before you do the asking”.

She goes on further by saying that, “Once you’ve been in your role for six months, you could schedule a meeting with your supervisor to let them know that:

“While your first priority is to excel in your current role, your long-term goal is to advance and that you want to make sure you’re doing everything that you can to set yourself up for success.” —Seed planted!

Then, she says: “As you’re implementing the feedback your supervisor gave you over the next six months, be sure to keep careful track of your successes.”

According to Glassdoor, when you go in to ask for a raise, you want to look back to recent projects and periods of time where you went beyond what was expected and provided real value for your company. Always use specific performance data when possible.   [source]

Just like Shakira’s hips don’t lie- numbers don’t either sis. Show them the receipts!


Tip #3: Get the Timing Right


Indeed notes that “you should ask for a raise only when you know the company is in good financial health and preferably during an annual or quarterly review with your manager, if that’s something your company does.

If you don’t have a regular performance review, then the best time to ask for a raise is at the end of the fiscal year. Or, if you’re close to the end of a fiscal year, another good time to ask is when you’ve completed an especially impressive project or if “your boss has seemed particularly pleased with you lately,” according to The Cut’s “Get That Money” column.” [source]

Also advised: don’t ask at a high-stress time. If you can, wait until your manager is in a good mood.


Tip #4: It’s Okay to Ask in Writing (First)


Although many people will tell you that asking for a raise via email is taboo, sending an email to schedule a time to talk in person is perfectly fine, according to TheBalanceCareers.

It is completely human to feel mortified when discussing money, but it has to be done!

Even if you have to have a friend or your boyfriend hit “SEND”- do it! (I’ve legit had my boyfriend do this for me in the past, and as a result- I wasn’t able to “take back” the email, therefore giving me the nudge to finally get around to requesting a raise)


Here’s an example of a first email you can send:


Subject: Meeting Request – Your Name

Dear Mr. Matthews,

I am grateful for the opportunity to work for you as Development Coordinator for XYZ Nonprofit. Over the past two years, my responsibilities at XYZ have grown significantly, and I not only consistently complete all of these responsibilities, but I do so with an exceptional quality of work. I would, therefore, like to respectfully request a meeting to review my salary.

As you know, my salary has remained the same since I was hired in 20XX. Since then, I have happily added some duties to my workload that have allowed me to contribute even more to the company. For example, I volunteered to develop a quarterly newsletter, and am currently in charge of the writing, formatting, and printing of the publication. As you know, I also recently completed a graduate certificate program in grant writing.

I believe that my increasing contributions to the company and my new qualifications justify a pay raise.

I would love the opportunity to meet with you to discuss a raise in my salary. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Firstname Lastname
Development Coordinator
XYZ Nonprofit
123 East Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
555-555-5555
firstname.lastname@email.com

[source]


After sending that email, you now have to prepare.


Tip #5: Be Prepared for the Talk With This Checklist


via: [Indeed]

  • List your specific achievements and accomplishments.
    What have you accomplished throughout your tenure with the company? Make sure your achievements are specific and illustrate how you’ve provided value to the company. If possible, include exact measurements. For example, instead of saying “Increased my number of sales in 2018,” say, “I increased sales by 25% year over year, leading to an additional $40,000 in revenue for 2018.” You should also include any new skills you’ve developed during your time with the business and any new or additional responsibilities you’ve taken on.
  • The exact raise (dollar amount or percentage) you want to receive.
    According to ALL of the articles I’ve linked in this post, this one is the most important. You need to give a specific amount. It is important to come prepared with the salary increase you desire to appear prepared, alleviate confusion and make the process as quick as possible. Use Indeed Salaries to find out the average salary for your position, experience level and city to define an appropriate asking amount.

It’s important to practice so you go into the meeting with confidence and you don’t forget key points.


Tip #6: How to Act During the Meeting


Tips from [Glassdoor]:

  • Be confident. How is an employer going to feel comfortable giving you a raise if you’re unsure yourself?
  • Express gratitude. Expressing gratitude and appreciation for what you currently have at the company is a gracious and professional preface to an ask for more money.
  • Express enthusiasm. Sharing excitement for your future goals, and for the future goals of the company, is a way to show you’re invested in doing your job well.

Okay, I asked for a raise- now what?


Here are some of the things experts say to do after asking:

  • Follow up after the talk, get the ball rolling. Nothing more than a month of waiting.
  • If your request for a raise gets approved, get it in writing (email or formal letter) ASAP.
  • If they deny your request, have a back up plan.

“If the answer is no, all is not lost. This is a perfect opportunity to ask, “Can you tell me what you think it would take for me to earn a raise in the future? A decent manager should be able to explain to you what you’d need to do to earn more — which could be anything from “manage your work more autonomously” to “stop alienating all your co-workers” to “you’re at the top of the range for your position, so you’d have to be promoted to earn more money here.”

You can then assess whether you’re able and willing to follow the path your manager lays out (or whether a realistic path exists at all).

And if your manager isn’t able to give you specifics about how you can earn a raise in the future, that’s a useful signal that if you want more money, you may need to leave in order to get it somewhere else.” [source]


Treat your job like you’d treat someone you’re dating, or a friend, in a sense that if you always have to prove your worth (to your employer), it’s time to go.

No matter how much you love your job, and your coworkers- if there’s no room for growth, you’re only holding yourself back.

You belong where you are appreciated and valued. Period.


Conclusion


I hope you found these tips helpful! If you need more confidence boosters to ask, I’ve included a podcast and the YouTube link of Barbara Corcoran’s interview that’ll ignite the fire in you sista! (Seriously, watch it if you still have a lingering fear of asking after reading this)

Remember:

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

Ask for that raise. What’s on the other side of fear is…. more money.

Let’s do this!


Resources


Podcast: “Want a raise? How to negotiate for more with Diane Reichenberger of Mattel Inc..” from RISE podcast [Listen Here]

YouTube Video: “Barbara Corcoran explains how to ask for a raise” [Watch Here]

Article: “These Women Got Killer Raises, and You Can Too” via Glamour [Read here]


If you enjoyed this article, you’d probably love my [Self Care: How to Set Boundaries] post.


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