Before asking for a raise, ask yourself these three questions
In the last couple of decades, the gender pay gap has been a highly debated topic across the world. While some still argue the gender pay gap is nothing but a “feminist myth”, recent studies show this is a real issue across affecting working women all over Australia and the need to address it properly is now more urgent than ever.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the gender pay gap is now $261.10 per week with women being paid an average of 85 cents to every dollar earned by men.
As mostly affected by this remuneration differences, in today’s workplaces more and more women are being encouraged to defend their deserved rights, and that’s an important step forward I believe. However, experience taught me that when discussing payment, it’s easy to jump our own gun if we don’t have all the facts right, and end up destroying our chances of receiving better payment for our work.
A lot of my clients have asked me, and this question is probably on your mind as well, what’s the best way to ask for a raise and get it? Well, there are no guarantees that I can give you, but maybe what I’m about to tell you will shade some light. Before stepping into your supervisor’s office and ask for your extra payment, make sure you have all the information in place. Take some time to prepare, start by asking yourself these five questions.
Is it too soon to ask for a raise? Some companies have very strict policies on this topic so make sure you know what’s your company’s policy. It sounds a little old-school, I know, however it’s important to know that most employers would still want to make sure you truly understand your role, what’s expected from you and you’re not planning to leave right after you get your raise. I remember in my first agency recruitment role there was a policy stating that in order to be considered for a raise the employee had to have been there for at least twelve months. But after my first six months I thought I was ready for it and went to my manager to discuss money. He didn’t say no to my invitation but he didn't say yes to my raise either, sending me back to read the policy one more time.
Have I chosen the right time? You might be feeling this is the right time for you, but what about your employer? Is there enough budget to sustain your salary enhancement? Is your employer going through a transition period or facing bankruptcy? Back in my working days as an agency recruiter, when my twelve months were up I went back to try my luck with my raise and to my surprise I was turned down once more. “Budget cuts” she said, as the company was negotiating its merger. It sure wasn’t the answer I was hoping for but there was nothing I could do to change it.
Have I been giving all my best or just meeting the expectations? You might think that you have and you could be right. Yet, what if in your managers’ eyes it’s not quite what he or she expects? Meeting all your duties and requirements as outlined in your job description will keep your payment going, and maybe even secure you a long term role, but it will not result in an increase of your remuneration. So if you’ve been long enough with the company to be considered for a raise, in order to secure one, you must make sure you earned your raise before you go and ask for it.
Am I really worth that much? Think of a number that would be meaningful for you, and then research it. Find out how much someone in your position, experience, qualifications, working in a similar company and industry is currently worth. Websites such as glassdoor.com.au, payscale.com or even seek.com.au are of great help in that respect, providing you with a lot of valuable information on salaries.
What if there’s a refusal? There could be a lot of reasons behind one such response. Discrimination, budget cuts, gender pay gap, lack of training, not the right skills to name just a few. Whatever the reason, you need to be prepared for both refusal and acceptance. And if your manager comes back with a refusal, don’t be disheartened, it won’t necessarily mean that you’re not worth it, it could be that the timing is not quite yet right. Even so, you’ve found your courage and opened a conversation about money and that’s a great step in furthering your career.
Ioana brings over 13 years' international experience, spanning two continents, in supporting people from various backgrounds and cultures reach their career objectives. Her expertise includes career counselling, job search coaching, and outplacement consulting, having worked with a diverse range of people including students and young graduates, people looking to upgrade their career, parents, people with special needs and migrants.
Ioana is a member of the FlexCoach panel of career and executive coaches.