It’s a sad fact that women are still paid less than men for doing the same job. One of the reasons this continues to be the case is that women typically don’t ask for raises. Since we can, and we should, let’s tackle this issue head on and be role models for the next generation.
You want to make more money. That’s no surprise, most people do, but how do you go about getting your company or your client to pay you more? Do you put on your best suit, walk into their office and announce that you’d like a bigger paycheck? You could, but you probably already know that’s not going to work.
The first step in getting a salary increase is to think about it, not from your own perspective, but from the perspective of your company and your boss. How can you make the case that you deserve a bigger paycheck? Here are some key questions to get you on the right track:
What do others get paid for the same role?
While you may think that your hard work and dedication are the main reason you deserve a raise, your employer will definitely be taking market rates for your position into consideration. By getting a sense (using tools such as Indeed or Salary.com) of what others are being paid for the job you have, you’ll be able to make a stronger case if you find you are being paid below the market.
Have your responsibilities increased?
In many organizations, pay levels are tied to certain responsibilities. A senior analyst gets paid more than an analyst, who in turn, typically makes more than an associate. If you’ve been in a role for a year or more, and your responsibilities have expanded, you may be able to make the case that you are doing a more senior role and should be compensated accordingly.
Can you get a better offer?
One of the best tactics for negotiating with your current boss is having a job offer in hand. That way, you can’t lose. If you don’t get what you want, you can just jump ship. Of course there are downsides to this strategy. It takes a long time to go through a job search and interview process, and while you’re doing it, you may disengage from your current role as you think about the potential for a new role. That, in turn, will hurt your case for a counter offer.
When you’re considering asking for more money, take your personal financial needs out of the picture. That may sound counter-intuitive, but the hard truth is that your employer doesn’t actually care whether you can pay for an extra vacation, your kids’ college fund, or the shiny new car you impulse bought when you went in for a brake job. If you want to get yourself a bigger paycheck, you have to think like a business owner. That means understanding what value your role brings to the business, as well as what it would cost them to replace you if you left.
The good news is that if you do have a solid business case, odds are in your favor that you’ll get the increase. It costs, on average, 6-9 months’ worth of salary to replace someone who quits. Your HR department knows that there’s a cost associated with you walking away.
The bad news is that you might not get what you want right away. Typically, even if your boss is on your side, it will take time and multiple approvals to get through the process. Be patient but be tenacious. With that said, if you’ve been pleasantly persistent for several months, and there’s no movement, consider the possibility that you’re not going to get what you’re looking for and be prepared to go find an employer that’s willing to pay you fair market value for your work.