Bridging The Pay Gap: How And When To Ask For A Raise

Bridging the Pay Gap
Every few years someone does a study on the gender pay gap.  According to a recent survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, women make 20% less than men, with certain industries skewed even further towards the pay imbalance.  For example, women in finance, only earn 70.5 percent of their male counterparts’ salaries. So how do we overcome, and bridge the pay gap? When is the right time to ask for a raise? Read on!


Get Noticed!

Most women are taught from a young age to be polite and to not draw attention to ourselves. That’s why so many young women make the mistake of trying to fly under the radar at work. Since most companies are on an annual review process, you need to get noticed on early and often, so review time means “raise time”!


Don’t assume that your accomplishments will get noticed by management. Keep a running tally of your wins.  Every so often email this list to your boss.  A great pretense for this is to mention that you’re just trying to make him/her look good to his/her boss.  Serving up these accomplishments on a regular basis is a great way to pave the way to a solid raise at your annual review.  Don’t worry… you’re not bragging!  This is how business is done!


Things to Consider

Your boss has several concerns when looking at handing out raises

  • How long you’ve been with the company
  • Where you live and work and the costs of living associated with the area, and in relation to other geographical locations where company employs people
  • What precedents would be set for other employees by giving you a rise (this is often a significant issue for the company)
  • How valued you are to your boss and company
  • How easy it would be for them to replace you with someone of similar capability and value at the same or less salary
  • How much extra responsibility and/or you are prepared to take on


Put it in Writing

When you go in to negotiate it is important to have all your “here’s why I’m awesome” bullet points on a separate piece of paper.  Type it up and be prepared to give it to your boss. Think about phrasing these in terms of benefits to the company.  For example, instead of, “build strong client relationships”, use “strong client relationships have lead to a ten percent increase in business last quarter”.


Final Tips

  1. Always check in with your boss.  Ask questions like, “What are your top three goals?”  Make sure yours match!
  2. Do you really have to wait?  Nope!  If you build a strong case for your accomplishments and can show your boss how your achievements helped the company in a significant way there is a possibility that you can get an early raise.
  3. It’s always recommended that you prep your boss.  Say something like, “If I play a significant role in helping you achieve these goals over the next three months can we look at a raise?”
  4. ASK!  Again, the biggest mistake young women make it to sit back and hope for the best.  Your boss will respect you if you present a well thought out effort.  He/she may not be able to grant you the raise you want right away, but you’ve then planted the seed for next time!


Felena Hanson brings over fifteen years of marketing and management experience to the table.  She’s not only an industry expert but also a marketing professor, author, and international speaker.  For close to a decade Felena taught Marketing & Entrepreneurship at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, where helped thousands of young women with their career paths.  Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a unique, serene, café-like work and meeting space for accomplished, like-minded enterprising women. This vibrant space brings women together to work and collaborate, while giving them access to the tools they need to build successful businesses. Become a part of the community on Facebook.


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