One of the reasons women still make only 77% of what their male counterparts earn is because they don't ask for raises. Schedule a meeting with your boss and be clear that the purpose is to review your performance and discuss a salary increase.
Expert Tip: According to research conducted by Linda Babcock, professor of economics and author of Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want, "We find that men are about four times more likely to initiate negotiations to ask for what they want. Women are just more likely to accept the status quo – whatever they've been offered – and be happy with that."
Do your homework. Find out what others with your education and experience are making in similar level positions - both in your industry and in your geographic area. Use resources such as Careerbuilder.com, Salary.com or Payscale.com to arm yourself with crucial information that will help you negotiate a higher salary. Have a number in mind when you begin negotiations.
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Bring a list of accomplishments to your meeting and discuss your positive impact on the company. Focus on examples of how your work has increased earnings, cut costs, or improved customer satisfaction. Share written testimonials from colleagues or clients as well.
When is the right time to ask for a raise? Make your request when your star is shining brightly. This might be after you have completed a big project, received special recognition, or have taken on additional responsibilities. Another good time to request a raise would be after your organization receives good news and has a positive future financial outlook.
Studies show that women who take a direct approach in asking for a raise are perceived in a more negative light than men who request a raise in the same manner. Hannah Riley Bowles, an associate professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, concluded from her research that women should take a softer approach – for example, discussing why it makes sense for the organization or the decision-maker to grant the raise, instead of why the woman deserves the raise. "Make the company the focus," said Bowles.
There are a number of reasons why your boss may not be able to grant a salary increase. Avoid taking a hard line or threatening to leave your job if you do not get the raise you want. Think of other ways your organization can compensate you. Consider asking for a more flexible schedule, additional vacation time, or stock options.
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