(StatePoint) As advocates continue to put gender equity under a microscope and some progress has been made, there’s still a long way to go. The income gap between men and women has yet to be closed, and while employers have a huge role to play in creating a level playing field, many women could advocate for themselves more effectively during salary negotiations.
A recent Randstad US survey found that 60 percent of women have never negotiated their pay. Additionally, roughly half of the women surveyed (51 percent) also said they’re more likely to leave a job because they’re underpaid, rather than ask their manager for a raise.
Asking for more money can be stressful, particularly for women. Research has shown that women have a tendency to both underestimate their value and avoid assertiveness (an essential skill for negotiating). These factors make negotiating more difficult, but no less important — which is why you should be extra prepared. According to the experts at Randstad US, here’s how:
1. Know your value. Seventy-four percent of millennials expect a pay raise every year in order to stay at their companies, versus 62 percent of boomers and 66 percent of all workers. It appears younger generations know their value and aren’t shy about asking for fair compensation when it counts most — during salary negotiations. Do the same! Take inventory of your achievements, new skills and contributions that demonstrate your value, and be prepared to showcase those once negotiations start.
2. Know your market. Sixty percent of all workers surveyed wish their employers would publish salary or pay ranges for what each role earns across the company. Even if your company doesn’t do this, you’ll still want to familiarize yourself with the going pay rates in your industry. There are plenty of resources online (including Randstad’s comprehensive salary guide) to help with your research.
3. Know when to speak up. Be proactive. If you didn’t receive a raise in your last performance review or if you don’t have formal performance reviews, consider scheduling a meeting with your supervisor to talk about your performance and compensation. Of course, if the company has been cutting budgets or is struggling to meet its business goals, it’s probably best to wait to ask for a raise. Instead, use this time to ask your manager for feedback: What are you doing well? How would they like to see you improve? Show your manager that you want to do your job better, and then go make it happen. Then, revisit that pay conversation a few months later.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do is advocate for yourself. For your employer, it’s all about the return on investment, and if you can make a solid case, most employers are willing to negotiate rather than lose you to one of their competitors.