There’s a little well known (but also sad) fact that women are not as confident when asking for a pay rise, when compared to men. Research by Mintel shows that 42% of men say they feel confident about asking for a rise, only 22% of women say the same.
To make matters worse, the gender pay gap among all employees between females and males was at 15.5% in 2020. Some studies show women do in fact ask for pay rises just as often as men, but men are more likely to be successful. The Harvard Business Review reports women who asked, obtained a pay rise 15% of the time, while men obtained a pay increase 20% of the time. Why does this happen you might ask? Well that's a whole other blog post...
But as we enter the New Year, we want to give you 5 things to consider before you pop the question...the ‘will you give me a pay rise’ question.
1. Understand how you’re performing (and gather feedback over time)
When going for a promotion or a pay increase, you will have to provide evidence of why you are deserving of the extra responsibilities and/or increase in salary. The first questions you should ask yourself are, ‘what am I doing that exceeds my current role?’ and 'how am I going above and beyond to show my value?', and more importantly 'why should I be rewarded for that?'. A great way to answer and back up these questions is by collecting evidence.
Whether it's creating a file where you store your feedback on a monthly basis or forwarding feedback onto your manager/supervisor, it is key to ensure other people are aware of the great work you are doing. You don’t want to get to the time of pitching for your promotion and everyone is surprised of all the great work you have done. Drip feeding your achievements and feedback from a early stage and on a regular basis will bolster your case for a higher salary.
When we are talking feedback, statistics are great! The more figures you have, the better. For example, if you have increased sales in your business by 150%, make sure you are able to quantify this and take this figure into your case for higher pay. Additionally, quotes from those you work with, your clients and supervisors will also go down a treat. Get them to give you a well rounded summary, compromising of both benefits and concerns of your performance over email (or Slack…whatever the cool kids are using these days).
2. Ensure you and your skills are valuable
We all want to be at that point in our career where we are ‘too good to loose’ by this we mean ensuring your contribution and the skills you have are so valuable to the organisation you work for, that if you were to leave (for example, you got offered more money from a rival organisation) that you would be too good to loose and your current workplace would have no other choice but to offer you more money.
You may have to up your skill level to tick this one off. There are some are some great online courses to help with this. Do a gap analysis of your skills and certifications. The key questions to ask are 'what skills do you currently have that are inline with your desires?' and 'what skills do you need for the future?'.
3. Understand the industry average and pay trends
So you’ve done the hard part of asking! Congratulations.
Now let’s get to grips with the money side of it. When it comes to asking for a new salary or a pay rise, walking into the room with a figure in your head shows you have done your research. A great way to do this is by researching the industry average for people with similar experiences, similar job roles and similar skills etc. This will give you a great insight into how people are being paid and what to ask for. One way to do this is by visiting Glassdoor.
And remember when we mentioned your current skill set, this can come in handy as your skills allow you be worth more. If a certain skill you have is rare in your industry or organisation, make sure you are including the value of this skill in your asking price.
4. Tell your growth story
50% of asking for a pay increase is talking about what you have done to deserve the increase and why you are worth the extra cost. The second half is what you will do after they give you that promotion or pay rise, may it be more responsibility, or taking on more managerial activities.
One way to capture this is by telling a story. We are all storytellers, so use this ability and get creative when telling your story. Personally, in my last promotion case, I used the analogy of a Mountain to explain the climb (cheesy I know) I had taken to get to the position I was and explain why I deserved to be promoted. The rest of the journey up the mountain covered what I will do after I got promoted. Simple but effective in explaining the two sides to the coin.
5. Time it right
The saying is true, timing really is key! There are a couple of circumstances where timing may be on your side...
At your performance review - whether your performance review is every 6 months or every year, you can use this as a dedicated slot to bring up your pay increase prospects.
After completing a project - the way we work is changing. Nowadays, our work is focussed around projects. You are given a brief, you do the work to meet the brief, complete it and repeat. The end of each project can be the perfect circuit breaker to take stock of what you have done and have that conversation with your manager.
When your manager is a good mood - knowing when to approach your manager is key! Over time, find out when your manager is happy or angry and swoop in when they’re in a good mood and get your raise!
When there are positive financial results - it is a fact of life that when a company is performing poorly, they will be a bit more strict when it comes to shelling out money for promotions and pay increases. So it’s best to ask when financial results and company morale is high.
It’s important for females (in particular) to know their worth and get paid for it too. So let’s ask more, let’s win more and get those numbers up!