It’s a fact, most women earn less than men in the same roles and while some of that can be accounted for as gender inequality, the sad fact is that a large portion is simply due to women not asking for more – whether it be through a sense of humility or the anxiety around the money question, we simply aren’t asking for what we’re worth. The converse can actually be true though if we just have some confidence and assuredness of what we’re worth. As an example, I have always earned on average, double what any former partner or friend has earned because in business I wear a different face to my day-to-day, I am confident, assertive, I know my worth and my strengths and I self-promote like there’s no tomorrow because it’s the only place where that quality is revered rather than reviled.
Here we give you our tips for tackling the tricky questions:
Why Do You Deserve a Raise?
Just because you’re a woman, doesn’t mean you deserve more money. You need to go in there with solid factual evidence as to what you’re worth. This isn’t isolated to women, men will happily walk in and announce their strengths without hesitation. It’s this same moxy that we need to apply to ourselves. Make a list of what you personally contribute to the business, what improvements you’ve implemented, how those improvements have contributed to the business’ bottom line, if you’re in sales – how much revenue do you bring in, if you’re in account management, list the revenue and quality of clients you bring in.
Self Promote! – I know it’s difficult, but in business/ in your career, it’s an imperative. Create a mask if you need to, a second face you put on when you need to in these situations to enable you to promote your self and your abilities without hesitation – if you know that you bring in ten times as much revenue as Tim in Account Management, then point it out in cold hard numbers (without referencing poor Tim specifically).
What do you Want?
Great, you have your list together, you have your meeting scheduled, but if your boss asks you the question, you can’t choose this as the time to clam up. What precisely are you hoping to gain? – is it job flexibility? a 2% raise in salary? a bonus? Go in there with your base requirements and your wish requirements. For example, you’re going for a job interview, you’re currently on $65k p.a. and your base requirement is a $5k raise, taking you to $70k as a base salary requirement. Your ‘wish’ requirement though is $75k and that’s what you’ll ask for. It’s like haggling – you start high and you both work your way to a happy medium which is likely your base requirement (still giving you a $5k raise) but you’ll actually find that if you put a good enough case forward and you’re confident in what you’re asking, you’ll usually find that 9 times out of 10, you’ll actually get your wish requirement, or closer to it than your base.
Know your worth. You’ve compiled your list, you know what you want and your list gives you the ‘why’ but it’s here that you’ll expand on it. Know who you’re speaking to, know their management style so that you can assess how best to get through to them. When you go in to the meeting, if it’s say, regarding a raise, the first issue on the table is that you want a raise, you then need to back it up. Here’s your internal agenda (definitely* do not *phrase it this way to your manager, this is for your brain only.)
- I want a raise.
- This is how much I want.
- This is why you should give me a raise.
- This is what other people in this role are earning versus my current income.
- Here is the evidence to support my request.
- Based on this evidence, this is why I should get the raise. (reiteration)
Rehearsal and Go Time!
Practice your negotiation conversation with a friend who is impartial ie not someone you work with. If you’re not used to negotiations, you’re likely to hit the ‘umm’s and ‘ahh’s pretty early on so you’ll probably need to run through it a few times. Rehearse what you’ll say and practice maintaining eye contact and proper posture as you say it. Too many women avert their eyes when talking about money as if it’s taboo and it’s a dead giveaway that you’re not as confident as what you’re putting on. You should be firm but friendly, direct – do not ramble or complain, don’t get emotional about it, this is a business discussion and your cat’s vet bills don’t matter in the slightest right now. Rehearse it until you feel confident in every aspect of the conversation and then go in there and put forward your case confidently and assertively.
You can do it, you can be the assertive, self-promoting woman you need to be to get what you want. Negotiating is easy once you get the hang of it, just be confident in your worth and what you’re asking for.