Came across this article: Women do ask for raises, they just don’t get them.
I’d like your thoughts on this.
I myself am in a high-stress position in that I ask and negotiate every single dang contract. And I am pretty good at it, if I say so myself.
I don’t let a single one go without trying to squeeze even an extra $5/hour out of them if I am able to (especially if I have the upper hand in spades), because $5/hour means $10K a year.
The article mentions that women in general, don’t work in very negotiation-friendly industries (minimum wage jobs, jobs with set salaries/tiers), but it says for the women who work in the same industries as men who have negotiation as a normal part of life, they still don’t get what they ask for.
Are women just not being taken seriously?
I could definitely see this happening.
A man says he wants more money, the company gets scared he might leave.
A woman says the same thing, but with a pre-conceived bias that she is ‘softer’ and less likely to leave (this is NOT TRUE by the way), the company thinks – Meh. She’s all talk. She won’t really go.
This I can totally see as being an issue. Just because you’re a woman, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a backbone of steel, and you can have one, but you need to damn well follow through.
If you say things like – I am going to leave one day, just watch me! …. but are still there 5 years later, they know you’re just a blowhard. You say things but you don’t mean it. You won’t actually leave for whatever variety of reasons such as:
- you’re a single mother and they’re taking advantage of the fact that you need this job and cannot have a pause in income (true story, I know someone who is in this position)
- people in general complain a lot but never do anything about it (e.g. leave and actually quit – I also know many people in this position)
- they think or KNOW you cannot get a better job with these benefits anywhere else and therefore have you in golden handcuffs (know lots of people in this position)
So when you say something, you better follow through. You can’t be crying wolf and blowing hot air.
FOLLOW THROUGH to show you are SERIOUS. Just like with a child, when you tell them “No”, be prepared to carry them kicking, screaming, losing their #$*@ out of the store without any groceries or whatever your cart is filled with.
If you have another job offer, be prepared to quit and take it, instead of just accepting the life at the company as your comfortable, cosy, norm.
Until you leave, you may not realize how much better it is outside of the zoo (your current workplace), or how much better it was to be IN the zoo than outside of it in the forest, foraging with the other wildebeests (e.g. you come back to the company but at a higher pay).
Some observations from my own experiences:
So let’s say they’re working in my industry, where negotiation is pretty much a way of life, especially as a contractor.
Maybe I’m just a special snowflake, but in my area, I am getting as much if not more than my male counterparts and I KNOW I am getting as much or more than my counterparts (male and female) for 2 reasons:
- My partner is a tall, white (privileged LOL) male with a decade more of experience than I, and even he makes the same rate as I do.
- I ask around / eavesdrop and get benchmarks from others.
I wonder if the reason why I do well in negotiations and getting what I want is mostly that..
I don’t need the money desperately
When your bills have to get paid, you have debts crawling up around the corner ready to bite you in your ass, you have a lot you have to consider if you’re going to just walk away from a contract.
As a result, I have an excellent poker face, and solid savings to back it. I save $100K – $200K before ending each contract because I never know when I am going to get my next one.
Or if I am going to quit the one I am on.
For every month I do work, I plow that equal amount of what I earned from savings into the stock market, thereby keeping my emergency fund high for any eventualities, and saving a bundle.
If you do have lots of bills, then you’re willing to go for much less than what you’re worth.
I am also MORE than willing to walk away from a contract and have told recruiters:
I’d rather sit at home eating bonbons watching Jerry Springer than go for that rate.
(Note: Both lies. I like money a lot, but not only do I not eat bonbons, I don’t have TV and therefore have no access to Mr. Springer, and if I did, I wouldn’t watch his show… if it is still around.)
Even if they come back to me and say that it is a no go (hasn’t happened yet :-P), that’s the worst that could happen?
I pretend to mull it over and then accept at the lower rate? I’d lose ‘face’ but you never know.
OR, I could just walk away (have done this only once and they learned their lesson GOOD.)
Learn how to leverage your upper hand advantage
The best is when I know when I have an upper hand – there aren’t many people (I can only think of one other) who do what I do and excel in my specialty, so when I have the advantage, you can bet I am going to milk it.
I am not going to get down on my knees and thank them for the job at such an amazing pay. Yeah, the pay is good, but can I get more?
It helps to have a greedy mindset. I know this is not very conventional to say, but for some of us who are rather shy about it all – GREED IS GOOD.
- If it helps, read this: Am I greedy for wanting more money?
Lastly, I know there is always $5/hour or $10K lying around on the table especially at my income range. $10K is ‘peanuts’ to these companies if they’re already in the 6-figure salaries, but if you’re at a minimum wage job earning $20K a year, $10K is a no-go.
I’d say any salary above $50K, always has about $2K – $30K lying around depending on the industry, the rarity of your skills, and how much they need you.
The way I see it – in my salary range, who is going to say no to a contract for $5/hour?
In my line of work, rarely anyone, especially not a recruiter who is making at least $40K – $60K off you, just by invoicing the client every month. JUST INVOICING. There’s a cash cow business if I ever saw one…
LESS words has MORE of an impact
Stop throwing extra words in there. Craft your speech down to the bare essentials. Too many words drains a person’s brain and dilutes your message.
Maybe women do ask, but they aren’t as forceful / clear because we weren’t taught this skill. Boys are taught to assert themselves. Girls are not. That’s just the way it was when I grew up and likely the same for you.
For instance – did your mother try to teach you more of the caregiving, thoughtful aspect of being a girl? My mom did.
She begged me to learn how to cook so I could care for my family, etc etc. She never even thought to ask or tell my brothers that.
Why do you think that is? It is because she never saw them in that light, as martyrs who had to self-sacrifice for the family, the way she did her entire life for us.
Luckily, I did not have such a gentle spirit (unluckily for my parents), and sort of have always gone with what I’ve wanted to do. My parents had a hell of a time raising me always asking me to less ‘loud’ and less ‘fierce’, by the way, but they are happy I am so independent and strong now.
Back to negotiations: There is a way of asking for a raise that has a greater impact.
In addition to not being taken seriously, maybe we aren’t being serious about it because we were never taught how to assert ourselves.
You know how there is a wishy-washy “oh I am just feeling the waters” way of asking, and another more forceful one with conviction?
I wonder which one they’re using in negotiations. I have no idea because I’m always forceful, but I’ve come to realize a lot of women doubt themselves (I get so many emails and DMs on this it isn’t funny and I try my best to shift their mindset.)
If you go into a negotiation and say things like:
So.. umm.. I hope I am not bothering you but….. I was wondering if I could talk about my salary. I feel like I deserve a raise because, well I did X.. and Y, and Z.
I mean I worked really hard on those projects, and they did a lot for the company and I want some more money.
Versus something more concrete and clear with numbers and facts that their manager can be hit over the head with, and take to THEIR manager who will likely then review all of the raises and decide who deserves what.
You need to give them something to go to bat with for you.
Something like this is much stronger and carries great conviction:
Thanks for taking the time. Let’s talk about my salary.
I have been tracking what I have done since my last review, and I have done X, Y, and Z.
Those three accomplishments/projects have brought X amount of money to the company and raised efficiency by Y percentage.
In addition, I have benchmarked my salary and accomplishments against the industry, and I would like _______as a raise.
How it works:
You set the tone – Time to talk money, my good person.
Use punctuation like periods, and bring your voice inflection DOWN to the end of the sentence/thought so you don’t sound confused or timid.
(I know, I know, please don’t all up in my grill in the comments about female vocal fry and being proto-masculine about speech patterns and supporting the patriarchy by doing so. I’m trying to get you more money here so you can speak however you want.)
You tell them what you have been up to since your last review.
You list your accomplishments.
You proceed to then lay out how those accomplishments brought benefits to the company with numbers (“I increased efficiency by doing reports in an hour instead of 20 hours which equals out to about $200/hour in saved company costs or $3800 every quarter.“).
Then you drive it home with — AND I am also not getting paid what I am meant to be paid.
Then sit back, and wait for an answer. If it isn’t satisfactory (as in you have been brushed off in one, then two reviews), as one manager has said – if you keep going to the well and the well is dry, it is time to find another well.
Quit with the female-oriented office busywork as well
And no, organizing things like company lunches, company goodbyes, charity drives, potluck lunches, team breakfasts, and all this thankless female-driven & female-laden office busy work DOES NOT COUNT towards your salary and bonus as an employee so you can stop all that #$*@! because the company doesn’t appreciate it money-wise.
So you can say “No” if someone asks you to keep an Excel sheet of names and amounts donated, or ask your manager very politely: Sure, and if I spend time doing this, what task should I put on hold?
Value your time. Give that to someone more junior, or an intern whose time is valued to the company, at a lower rate than yours.
You’ll just end up organizing and doing that job AND your own. Who wants to take on more work for no real recognition or pay? Not I, said the pig.
Don’t mess with that crap if you can. I know you’re doing it to be nice and helpful, but it makes you look like a doormat, I am sorry to say.
You can do things like I did, like buy boxes of candy or chocolate, or bring things for the office to share, but don’t BAKE anything, don’t ORGANIZE anything and don’t ever VOLUNTEER for these things. Keep your hand down, mouth zipped and wait.
If the manager wants it badly enough, they’ll do it themselves.
Also, stop washing other peoples’ dishes at the office. I know that pigs leave dishes in the sink.
Resist the urge to wash them. They need to realize elves don’t come along and do it overnight, and if you do it, you’ll just let them continue being disgusting pigs.
My time is valuable.
Stop undermining your time and yourself.
Timing is also key in asking for money
Be sure to ask before the company budgets are set for the quarter/year.. however your company works.
(It helps to make friends in Human Resources by the way.)
Once they have a pot of money and are distributing it amongst people, if you show up after this budget happens, you won’t get your raise.
Even if your review is AFTER the budget, try and corner your manager (“Could we meet for 10-15 minutes, briefly?“) to talk about your performance, and to put yourself in the forefront of their mind. Your name should float up when their manager asks: So who do you think we should reward this year?
Make sure you stake out your piece of that salary pie (mmmmm… delicious), and make sure you say it with strength and numbers.