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Why is it so hard to ask for a pay rise?

We’ve all been there… at your performance review you are told what a great job you’re doing and that you will get XX percentage pay rise in-line with company profits, you say ‘thank you very much’, leave the room, and curse yourself for not asking for more! Why is it so hard for us to talk about how much we’re really worth to the company? Most of the time it’s because we haven’t prepared sufficiently by knowing the market or we’re simply too embarrassed to ask.

In a 2006 survey (UK), 80% of women felt underpaid but two-thirds had never asked for more money (source: Why women won’t ask for a pay rise). Often if women are assertive in the workplace they are viewed negatively, so most keep quiet, do their job well and hope that this will get them recognised and duly compensated. In this article How Women Should Ask For A Raise, the author offers some advice on how to go about asking for a raise:

  1. Lean in. Women are too quick to assume they can’t handle more responsibility, which can also bring a higher salary.
  2. Build relationships in your industry and your company. Women tend to form relationships that are less up than across or down.
  3. Know your value. Just Google salary calculator in your sector and you’ll find a wealth of information that can help you to find out your market value. Recruiters and Executive Search firms can also assist with market rates.
  4. Talk up your accomplishments.
  5. Take advantage of a win. Consider initiating a salary discussion when you have completed a successful project for example.
  6.  Keep emotions out of it.

So next time your performance review comes around, remember to prepare to have a conversation about your salary, do your homework!


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