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017. Raise It Up!

It is no secret men in the workforce are generally paid more than woman for the same work. Today, women account for almost half of the workforce. On top of that, within the American household, women are the equal or main breadwinners in more than 40 percent of families. Women receive more college and graduate degrees than men, especially African American women when compared to African American men. Yet, on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men. Year after year, we have seen study after study regarding the gender pay gap. Over the last decade we have seen a decrease in the gap between men-to-women pay, but in the latest studies depicted women still made 78 cents to the dollar compared to their male counterparts. Knowing this, a multitude of women are fearful to ask for raises in fear of loss of their jobs, embarrassment or perhaps even a decrease in pay. But here is the thing, you work hard, excelling in your job duties and continuously go above and beyond to get the job done. Let’s face it you work just as many hard long hours, if not more, than your colleagues and you deserve it. It’s time you asked for the raise you rightfully deserve!

Almost everyone thinks they’re worth more money, but many people are reluctant to ask for it. Asking doesn’t guarantee that you will get a raise, but not asking may guarantee that you don’t. Asking for a raise is never easy and can sometimes even be awkward if not navigated appropriately. Most employers dread the awkward raise conversations, because most companies’ largest expense is employee wages and benefits. To an employer, higher pay means a larger expense. So how do you convince your employer you deserve that raise? Ready to speak up for what you want? Following these guidelines and you have a greater chance of getting that raise you deserve!

Timing is Everything

Sure this sound as cliché as it comes, but it is very true when it comes to asking for what you want. As far as the economy is concerned, salary freezes continue to dissolve and this may be your year to finally go for that raise. Businesses are back on the rise and are financially better suited for pay increases than they were a few years ago. Before you ask for a raise consider the financial position of your employer. Is the company in good standings? Is the company in the red? Has the company experienced growth for several consecutive quarters? Understanding your employer’s financial position will provide a good assessment of where the company is financially and its ability to honor your raise. If your company is enjoying fat profits, has record-breaking sales, and unprecedented expansion then by all means walk in there and ask for a raise. Things are clearly on the up and up and you need to strike while the iron is hot. On the other hand, if your company is facing layoffs or continuously looking for ways to cut back on expenses, now is not the right time. Secondly, in regards to timing, you must consider your time on the job and the time it has been since your last pay increase. In the past employees could expect to receive an annual pay increase for the time in service on the job. However, since the economic downturn at the beginning of the century, this has becomes less and less common.

Do Your Research

Do your research; make sure you know the market rate for your work. Have a clear assessment of what your job industry is being paid in your area, find out what competitors are paying, how are other individuals in your position making out. Look for any available information on your company’s website or in your employee handbook regarding your employer’s practices for pay increases or merit raises. If you are having difficulty, contact your HR department, they are usually willing to explain how things work and give you some idea of the pay range for your position. IN most cases your HR department can provide you with a position equity report, which is an internal and external pay analysis.

Focus on Your Value

Let’s face it, you may have various reason you want a raise you need more money to support your growing family, you are doing the work of three people, are trying to secure your financial future. Regardless of your reasoning when requesting a raise, it’s not about the why you need or deserve a raise; it’s all about the current and future value you add to your employer. Your focus should be on your strengths and what makes you valuable as an employee. You will only be given a raise because of the value you bring to the company, sell your boss on the fact that your performance makes you worthy of a raise. Highlight your accomplishments and hard work. If you have been with your company for a significant amount of time, add your continued company loyalty into your pitch. Confidence sells. If you don’t believe you deserve a raise, why should you expect your boss to think so?

Name the Right Price

Once you’ve made a raise request, got your timing right and proved you’re an asset to the company, without being too personal or pushy, your boss will likely ask how much of a raise you are desiring. You’ve made it this far and now you job is not to blow it! Naming the right price is instrumental in the outcome of the rest of the conversation, but this should be easy because you know your worth and have already done your research for your job industry. If you are still not sure what pay rate to suggest try using one of the salary wizard tools available online. On average pay increases range from about 1-to-5 percent but up to 10 percent, depending on your employer’s financial position, your job market value, and your value to the company. Instead of drilling now to a specific dollar amount, unless you’re confidence on that amount, request a ranged amount or percentage that you are comfortable with, which offers flexibility for your employer. Individuals who request a ranged pay increase are more likely to receive some salary adjustable versus those who request specified amounts.

Don’t Say No to No

Keep in mind there is a chance your employer may say no to your request for various reasons. It is best to plan how you will navigate this ahead of time. If you do receive a no, use this to inquire as to reasoning why the request cannot be honor. Based on the response, you can be prepared to explore other possibilities. Although your employer may not be able to honor a pay increase at this time, maybe it will consider a one-time bonus. If you company is not in the position to honor your request at this time, inquire as to when your request may be reconsidered or what you must do on your part to be considered for a pay increase. If a raise is not feasible because of the financial position of the company, shoot for a position or title change without a change in pay. Title changes signify professional growth and can be beneficial to you in the long run. Lastly, if your request is denied, if you are in the position, request to take on additional job duties and responsibilities without a pay increase. This shows your loyalty to the employer and that you are willing to step up and take initiative where it counts. Furthermore, typically when the time comes again to request a raise your argument just got a little stronger, because one of the best ways to get a raise is to prove that you are already doing the job.

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