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Forget the Wage Gap: Let's Talk About the Raise Gap

By Maurie Backman – Aug 13, 2018 at 8:28AM

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New data shows that women who ask for more money at work are less likely to get it. And that's a challenge they need to overcome.

You'll hear a lot in the news about how women continue to suffer from the ever-frustrating wage gap. It's said that females only earn about $0.75 to $0.80 for every dollar earned by their similarly qualified male counterparts, and that speaks to a gross inequality that's plagued the workforce for years.

But new data from Credit Loan reveals that in addition to earning less money from the get-go, women are also statistically less likely to be granted raises upon asking. In a recent study, 13.3% of men who asked for more money at work got exactly what they wanted. Meanwhile, 12.7% got some sort of salary boost, albeit not the ultimate number they were hoping for.

Woman in business suit with serious expression and crossed arms


Things didn't shake out as well for women, however. Among those who asked for raises, only 9.1% got precisely what they wanted, while 9.5% got a smaller increase than requested.

All told, a greater percentage of men got a raise in some shape or form, which means women need to step up their game when it comes to negotiating for more money. Here's how.

1. Go in armed with research

It's one thing to claim you deserve more money, but it's another thing to prove to your manager that you're statistically underpaid. Therefore, if you dig up research showing that the average person with your job title makes more money than you do, your boss will have a harder time saying no to you. There are plenty of online resources that can help with this sort of research, but you may want to start with job site Glassdoor -- it has a "Know Your Worth" tool that lets you compare salary data by region and job description. Once you compile some data that helps make your case, it's a simple matter of presenting it to your boss and letting those numbers speak for themselves.

2. Talk up your contributions

Helpful as it is to show that other people in your field are making more money than you are, you should also be ready to prove to your boss why you deserve top dollar. Before you sit down to negotiate more money, come up with a list of the ways you've made a meaningful impact at your company. Maybe the new hire training program you rolled out resulted in better employee retention. Maybe your accounting prowess saved the company $50,000 last quarter. Talking specifics is a good way to build your case, so prepare those points in advance of that conversation.

3. Exude confidence

Woman are often pegged as emotional when tough conversations need to be had. So rather than approach that discussion from a place of desperation or anger, do it from a place of confidence. Firmly tell your boss that you're a skilled worker who deserves the best salary the company is able to offer. The more self-assured you come off, the greater your chances of getting what you want.

4. Don't play the gender card

It's easy enough to point a finger at your employer and demand earnings equality. But unless you can definitively prove that your company consistently pays male employees more than females, you're playing a very dangerous angle that could come back to bite you.

If you accuse your manager of underpaying you on the basis of your being a woman, your boss might get defensive and stop listening. Or, your manager might get insulted and put an end to the conversation right there.

Remember, there are plenty of industries in which women typically earn more than men, so don't assume that your current salary has anything to do with your gender. Instead, focus on the data you collect and the unique skills you bring to the table.

Negotiating a raise can be challenging regardless of whether you're male or female, so the key is to go in ready. The better you prepare for that conversation, the greater your chances of it going the way you want it to.

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