Raising Expectations Will Help Land That Raise

Raising Expectations Will Help Land That Raise

One of the most difficult tasks we face during our work careers is the prospect of asking for a raise. It can be a nerve-racking experience, even for the most confident individual. And for various reasons, it’s even tougher for women.


When it comes to negotiating for salary, women fall far short of the accomplishments made by men. Several studies have outlined the disparity and some of the root causes. For instance, men will initiate salary negotiations about four times as often as women and women are 2.5 times more likely than men to feel apprehensive about negotiating for a raise.


“Men tend to see the world as mutable [and] women tend to see the rules as fixed, having rules they need to follow,” Rosina Becerra, a UCLA associate vice chancellor, recently told a campus publication. “Women need to see that we can change the environment. We need to feel like we’re doing good work and be able to talk about it.”


Conversation is a good start, but changing fundamental and long-held workplace attitudes among women is essential. Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, authors of the book “Women Don’t Ask,” reveal that women in general are simply thankful about getting a job or receiving a raise, and are unwilling to take that benefit to the next level. One survey published by the authors found that since women are more pessimistic about the amount available when negotiating takes place, they end up with, on average, 30 percent less than men. And that number can add up over time. In a study of Carnegie Mellon graduates, Babcock found that 57 percent of male students negotiated their starting salaries compared to just 7 percent of the female students. The result was the men ended up with a starting salary that averaged $4,000 more.


So what can be done to combat the problem? Simply put, negotiating for a raise is like any other job skill. If you don’t have it, you have to learn it. Don’t treat it like a trip to the dentist. Communicating about money in a professional manner is something any boss would expect a good employee to be able to accomplish.


Two main ideas to consider before you walk into the boss’ office to ask for a raise are first, analyze what your value is to the company and second, understand the current financial state of your company.  Since timing is everything when asking for a raise, being aware of those two factors will help you reach your goal.


If you conclude that a pay raise is justified and the timing is right, take the next step by setting up a meeting with your boss. Always do this face to face and never through email or on paper.


Approach the meeting like a job interview, but keep it light-hearted and non-threatening so both parties feel comfortable discussing the issue. When a number is thrown around for a raise, use percentages as opposed to dollars. Companies base everything on percentage increases or decreases these days, and rarely base salary increases on whole numbers. So, if you’re making $50,000 and think you deserve $55,000, put it in the context of a 10% raise.


When making your proposal, always shoot for a higher number than you think you can get, without getting carried away. This is a “negotiation.” Always shoot higher than the number you’re looking for, giving your boss room to come back with a lower number and feel like they’re saving the company money.

In making a presentation to your boss, have a complete understanding of your workplace accomplishments. Quantify improvements you’ve made, problems you’ve solved and particular victories you’ve had. Also know the market value of your job, comparing it to similar ones both inside and outside of your workplace. For most companies, the human resource departments have pay scales for particular jobs. Find out what the range is for your job, what the maximum salary would be, and how performance is evaluated. 

During negotiations, don’t ask for a raise based on personal financial obligations. If you’re asking for a raise because you just purchased a new house, are expecting triplets or want to buy a new Hummer, that’s not going to fly with your boss.


Asking for a raise may seem like a one-shot deal, but you should approach it as a long-term goal, laying the groundwork for the future.  You have to face the fact that you may be turned down, but that’s all part of the process. If you don’t ask, your boss may think you’re perfectly satisfied with your current salary. If you don’t get the raise you want for whatever reason, become more active and visible at work, and develop a plan that increases your negotiating power the next time you ask for that raise.


Teena Rose is a columnist, public speaker, and certified/published resume writer

<a href=http://www.resumebycprw.com> http://www.resumebycprw.com</a> with Resume to Referral. She’s authored several books, including "20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer" "How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag Book" and "Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales."



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Read more articles from Teena Rose by visiting

<a href=http://www.resumebycprw.com/resume_articles.htm> http://www.resumebycprw.com/resume_articles.htm</a>