If you’re like a lot of women, it’s been a while since you’ve asked for a raise — or perhaps you’ve never asked. Surprisingly, given how much most of us want more money and many of us deserve to be making more, many women never ask for a higher salary because they feel nervous about initiating the conversation, or they’re worried about sounding entitled or greedy.
But asking for a raise is a very normal part of having a job. You shouldn’t feel guilty. If you avoid doing it out of discomfort, you’re potentially giving up a significant amount of money — just to avoid a conversation that could be as short as five minutes. Asking for a raise can be an intimidating prospect, we get it. But there are steps you can take to get better and more comfortable making the big ask.
Why You Should Ask for a Raise
You should ask for that raise because data shows that if you ask for it, you have a pretty good chance of getting it, regardless of where you are in your career.
It’s true: A recent study by the Ellevate Network found that seventy-five percent of respondents received a pay bump when they requested it. The annual Ellevate Impact Survey surveyed the Ellevate community of hundreds of professional women who are leading the charge in their fields or making their way up the ranks — and the results showed that younger professionals had a 68% success rate when asking for a raise, and mid-career professionals were the most successful with an 80% success rate.
Now, exactly how many of those women do you think got a salary decrease? Zero. You read that right: zero. Seventy-five percent got a raise and zero got a decrease. So the lesson here is: Ask.
This is great news, right? Right! But, it means nothing if we aren’t asking for that raise, and surprisingly, the fact is women aren’t asking. While the average rate of success of women asking for a raise is 75%, according to the same survey, only 37% of respondents reported asking for a raise in 2015.
So, really, getting that raise you so badly want is really just a matter of building up the courage to make that ask, and knowing you’re work and how to negotiate to get what you want.
Now that we know the facts, you’re ready to go in and ask for that raise you deserve. Here’s your 7-step strategy for exactly how to ask for more money at work.
1. Believe In Yourself
First and foremost, you need to be prepared to be your own best advocate and believe (truly believe) you deserve the raise. Having confidence in yourself will attract your boss to believe what you already know: that you deserve more for your efforts. Without it, your insecurities in requesting a raise might show through.
Interestingly, men are more likely than women to ask for a raise. And as a result, many women are leaving money on the table. “Unfortunately, for a whole bunch of different reasons we do so at significantly lower rates,” says Sallie Krawcheck, the CEO of Ellevest, a women-led digital investing platform.
Think about it this way: If you don’t believe in yourself, why should your company? However, you can’t just call in confidence the morning of the big day. It takes practice and your words should be ingrained in your daily habits. Start with some simple mantras to remind yourself of your irreplaceability. After a while, the idea will resonate and stick and if you believe in yourself, they will too.
2. Keep A Record of Your Work
You might think it will be easy to remember your professional accomplishments when the time comes, but it’s safer to keep track now than to be sorry later. Log your triumphs as they occur, whether it’s week by week or at the end of each day. Start a journal or simply log bullet points in your calendar. Maybe share them in an email with your team each week. All these notes will serve as evidence when you need it most.
3. Do Your Research & Determine What You’re Worth
There’s a myriad of online resources that can help you check whether a raise would be reasonable, and how much that raise should logically be. Try starting with favorites like Glassdoor, Fairygodboss and PayScale. This resource will assist you in comparing average salaries of the job you have, as well as the job you want. Much of the time, salary is based more on how well you stand up and negotiate for yourself rather than your seniority and skillset.
4. Discuss With Those You Trust
Share your findings with people you trust in your company, as well as with a senior mentor and your partner at home. Get feedback from your inner circle on all sides and don’t shy away from topics that might seem inappropriate — like your salary. While you don’t want to let other people make up your mind, it never hurts to hear their advice and diverse viewpoints and use them as added perspectives.
5. Deliver Your Pitch with Confidence
While the pitch is important, your work ethic is what ultimately decides your reward. Don’t sit idly by as the work days drag on. Motivate yourself and stay focused. If you find yourself consistently slacking at the office, you might not be in the right place. Find the role that’s best for you because once you do, you will stay passionate and engaged.
6. Educate Yourself and Be Prepared
It’s important to go into the meeting ready to refute crazy claims. The gender pay gap is real and surprisingly enough, some people still choose not to believe it. Be armed and ready with this information so you can cite your evidence when the time comes. If your boss tries to argue that women choose lower-paying jobs or (even worse) that women have less ambition, present your boss with the facts. One crazy statistic? In 2015, female full-time, year-round workers made 80 cents to the dollar when compared to equivalent male counterparts, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. That’s a 20 percent gap!
7. Practice Your Negotiation Skills
When it’s finally time to deliver your pitch, make sure you’re ready. Rehearse every part of your speech. Having the right words planned will make the whole process a lot easier, especially if you tend to get nervous. If we have the knowledge, the science actually shows that we negotiate better than men.
So, there you have it: You should ask for a raise — because chances are if you do ask, you’ll get it. Now, what if we told you that you could make more money even if you didn’t get the courage to ask for the raise — or you did and you struck out?
BONUS: Don’t wait for the raise to start investing. (Seriously.)
According to Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder, and CEO of Ellevest, an innovative digital investment platform for women, you could be making more money tomorrow (like a lot more) if you just start investing today. The reason is pretty self-explanatory — by investing your money steadily today, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the power of compounding.
“So yes, absolutely ask for the frickin’ raise. But also invest the money you make already,” says Krawcheck.
To that end, sign up for a free personalized financial plan with Ellevest today, and start investing in your biggest goals. The platform is well-designed, easy-to-use, and speaks to our unique financial needs — whether that be planning for retirement, that Aussie vacation, or starting a family. The best part? The advisors at Ellevest are incredibly knowledgeable and will help you every step of the
We hear from a lot of women that they think they need to be a financial expert before they get started investing. You don’t. You only really need to know six basic things. That’s right: Six basic things before you get started. Here they are.
For when you don’t have a retirement fund…
Don’t sound the alarm – yet. Ellevest can get you set up in less than 10 minutes so you can reach all of your money goals. Sans judgment, finance jargon, and trust issues. Crisis averted. Get into it here.*
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