Another day, another depressing stat about the barriers to success for working women.
While similar shares of men and women plan to ask for a raise this year (about 53% from each side), women are asking for much less. Whereas the majority of men plan to aim for a 6% to 10% increase in salary, the majority of women — more than half planning to negotiate — are setting their sights on 5% or less, according to a new report from Indeed.
Five percent *or less*!
Compare that to the 3% bump the average worker can expect this year — just barely enough to cover the rate of inflation — and 5% seems like a pretty minimal boost if you've put in the blood, sweat and tears to crush your job day after day. After all, three out of five people surveyed said they were asking for a raise because they felt they'd done the hard work to deserve it.
If you're fired up by these stats, here are some tips for making the case for what you really deserve.
Do your research. One of the hardest things about negotiating a raise is knowing how much to ask for. They key is to get straight to the numbers. Salary comparison sites like Glassdoor and Payscale can give you an idea of your market worth based on your title, years of experience and location. You might also ask around to other people in your field (but outside of your department) to know the going rate for your position. If your paycheck doesn't align with what you're hearing, start negotiating from there.
Gather your evidence. So what if you're a superstar who exceeded all her company goals last year? Time to ask for more. Make a strong case by keeping tabs on your achievements, especially if they're quantifiable improvements you made for your team, plus any accolades you received from peers and supervisors throughout the year. Here are more ways you can promote yourself at work.
Time it right. Companies are gearing up for annual reviews — also the time many workers receive their annual salary bumps or merit bonuses. Your best bet will be to broach the subject with your manager before these formal conversations roll out. The exact timing of your request will depend on your manager's style. For a boss who doesn't like to beat around the bush, you might set up an appointment with a clear objective to talk compensation. For others, it might make more sense to bring up during a weekly status meeting.
Whatever your approach, be straightforward about what you want and be prepared to explain why you deserve it.
Think beyond your paycheck. Don't count out additional work benefits that can boost your bottom line. The Indeed survey found 68% of workers would consider additional benefits as an alternative to a salary bump, namely health care, flexible work hours and more annual holiday leave. While some of these asks may fall outside what your boss can control, a flexible schedule may be more easily accommodated.
If you'd like to build work-from-home days into your schedule, consider a trial run where you work from home once a week, then set plans to evaluate the arrangement in six months. For more flexibility in your day-to-day hours, frame it in the company's best interest (e.g. "I'd like to come in at earlier hours to best serve our clients and their schedules").
Stay motivated. We get it. Negotiating salary and raises is just so ... unpleasant. But here's why you need to do it anyway. Consider that what you earn now will likely impact what you earn down the road. For women, salary tends to peak at an earlier age than men. Women are also more likely to take time out of the workforce to care for family. Your current earnings will also affect what you can put away toward retirement. Don't let the numbers discourage you — instead, let them motivate you to go out there and get what you deserve.