If you’ve successfully held a position at work for a while or find that your responsibilities have multiplied, you may ask yourself: Is it time to ask for a raise?
Look, we know you may not feel very comfortable talking about it, and in a world where these things depend solely on merit you wouldn’t have to. But in the real world, learning when to ask for a raise is as important as doing a great job.
The good news is that it may not be as dire an experience as you imagine. While men are still more likely to get a raise in many fields, studies in some countries have found that up to 80% of the women who ask for a raise will get one (and that there are still many women who don’t).
According to PayScale’s latest 2023 Gender Pay Gap Report, in the U.S. women make only $0.83 for every $1 that men earn, and while the difference between the earnings of women and men has shrunk, women are still paid less than men for no real discernible reason. Whether that is because they’re more willing to ask or not, knowing what you deserve and negotiating according to your needs and aptitudes will be extremely important when the time to ask for a raise comes.
Do You Know Your Worth?
There is nothing wrong with a little modesty, but you shouldn’t downplay your strengths and talent. Especially not when it comes to what your work is worth or the confidence with which you talk yourself up. Be aware of your strengths, the things that make you invaluable to your company, and the ways in which you can contribute to its growth in the future. Remember, this is about business so be aware of what makes you a true asset to your employers – and, incidentally, to any other company that might be looking for someone with your abilities.
Talk to the coworkers most likely to be open about it or, if that makes you uncomfortable (or you’re afraid it’ll have consequences), go to Glassdoor, PayScale, or any other website dedicated to salary and income information to find out how much people in similar positions are making. According to Hannah Williams, the 26-year-old content creator behind Salary Transparent Street, open discussion of salaries is a powerful tool to fight pay inequity and it helps people in the same profession when it’s time to ask for a raise and negotiate.
What Is Salary Transparency and How to Use it to Ask for a Raise?
Salary transparency can be interpreted in different ways. For some, it means communicating and explaining pay practices. For others, it means full transparency around the salary or salary ranges for every role in the company. Research carried out by Talent.com shows that 74% of job seekers in England believe that salary transparency “creates a fairer environment for the worker and their colleagues.”
Four Things to Consider While Negotiating
1Be strategic: Don’t be afraid to take a little time and prepare to have that conversation. If it’s possible, schedule a meeting to get feedback on your work a few weeks before you ask for a raise. Buy yourself a little extra time to refine the aptitudes that make you indispensable. You should also make sure there is room to negotiate and that the timing is right.
2Talk yourself up: Don’t be afraid to brag about your accomplishments. In fact, you should be prepared to provide proof of all the ways in which you’ve had a positive impact on the projects you’ve been involved in, new hires, teamwork, and other important contributions. If you got feedback before arranging your meeting to ask for a raise, make sure you can show this progress and improvement.
3Rehearse: Write everything you want to say down, bring documents or a presentation if you need them, and ask a friend to help you rehearse so you can make sure that you’re focusing on what’s necessary. This is especially important if you’re feeling nervous about it. You can even consider talking to a coach about this and other important work conversations. But even if you’re feeling confident, knowing what you want to say can only help when you ask for a raise.
4Have A Number in Mind: Do your research, get a good idea of what the people in your role or similar roles are making. You can use a salary calculator on websites like LinkedIn or Salary.com and talk to friends who work at a similar level in a similarly sized organization, preferably in your same field. Gathering all this information will make it easier for you to know what to say when you are asked what your ideal salary is.
If the Answer Is No
If you ask for a raise and the answer is no, you can always see if there are other ways in which your hard work and the good it brings can be acknowledged. Can you get extra paid time off or other benefits? Is your manager or employer willing to revisit a raise in a few months? Can you think about working towards a promotion? It doesn’t need to happen right away, but if you’re still feeling underappreciated after you ask for a raise, maybe it’s time to start looking for a bigger change.