Women: You Deserve More Money

The gender gap in the workplace has stalled in recent years, with women still earning 77 cents for every dollar a man makes in the workplace, the same as in 2011. And get this: even when we are our own bosses, we sell ourselves short. A new study developed by Babson College in partnership with Goldman Sachs discovered that female business owners paid themselves smaller salaries than men.

Workplace bias is partly to blame, but the gender pay gap is undeniably, also a factor of our own behavior, insecurities and low expectations as women. In Linda Babcock’s book, Women Don’t Ask, she, a professor of economics, outlines the following stats:

  • Men negotiate about four times as often as women.
  • When asked to describe the negotiation process, women said, “going to the dentist.” Men described it as “winning a ballgame.”
  • Women have far lower expectations when negotiating. If they do ask for more money, they request 30 percent less than men.
  • One in five women admit to never negotiating.

Excuses, excuses, right? If you think you deserve more money – and you very likely do – follow these steps to finally make it happen this year.

Gather Intel

Preparation is a major key to negotiating effectively. In the run-up to asking for more money, make sure you have knowledge of the following:

  • Your “salary range” or “salary band.” This provides a sense of your total earnings potential in your current job role. Every worker has a right to this information, which you can retrieve from Human Resources. Knowing where you lie on this range, whether, say, the 5th percentile or 95th percentile, can give you a sense of either how much room you have to grow in terms of earnings or if you ought to be in line for a promotion soon.
  • How you stack up against industry peers. To get a sense of how grossly underpaid you may be check out websites like Payscale.com and GlassDoor.com where you can find average salaries based on industry, experience and location.
  • How’s your company really doing? If you work for a publicly traded company you should be able to find out how healthy it is by simply doing a search for its latest quarterly statement, which can be found on either the company website or at SEC.gov/edgar. If it’s a private company then you may want to ask co-workers in accounting or finance what their sense of things are. This intel should serve as important context, as you position your request for more money. If the company is hiring more workers and posting gains in revenue, you should feel confident to ask for a bump in pay. Conversely, if the company is showing signs of weakness like cost cutting and closing down offices, you may want to better justify your raise by explaining how you can improve business and help to increase sales.

Highlight Your Performance

No matter how long you’ve been at the company or how popular you are among your coworkers, what matters most when negotiating a raise is your performance and your financial worth to the business. Are you someone who has proven she can boost the bottom line? Bring in more customers? Enhance the company’s visibility? Meet deadlines ahead of schedule? Deliver beyond expectations? Create a checklist of measurable accomplishments since you began working at the company and come to the meeting prepared to review them. Offer your manager a print out of these highlights for reinforcement.

Don’t Make It About You

Unfortunately women can face biases in the workplace when they ask for more money. Both male and female managers have negative feelings about female employees when they ask for a raise. In fact, as one Harvard study found, sometimes “it does hurt to ask.” To reconcile this, it may help to focus on the greater good. For starters, just by asking for a raise and taking the chance to negotiate shows you’re willing to stand up for what you believe in, an asset in any employee. Second, mention how your promoted efforts can benefit the overall company. By rewarding you with a raise, for example, you’ll be further motivated to spend more time, thought and execution to help advance the team.

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