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It is that time of year when workers start negotiating pay rises during their annual appraisals – but women are often less likely than men to get what they want. Sophie Cornish offers advice on how to ask your boss for a pay rise this Christmas.Women are earning less than men on average; a recent study by the Chartered Management Institute revealed women can earn up to £500,000 less over the course of their lifetime than men. The gender pay gap is stubborn and shows no sign of abating.
According to some, women are just too nice to ask for a pay rise . Some experts suggest that female employees are not conﬁdent enought to negotiate themselves a better deal. Chris Parke, chief executive of Talking Talent, says women need to face up to “some of the deeper issues at stake”, and seek out coaching or, better still, do more networking to learn effective communication skills and improve self-conﬁdence.
- Pick up some brilliant tips on how to ask for a pay rise at Telegraph Jobs.
Another recent study showed that female graduates were starting on slightly smaller salaries than male graduates, not because they were offered less, but because the men tended to ask for a better starting salary. From the outset, men are better at asking for more cash, it seems.
It may not always be down to a woman lacking conﬁdence, so much as she may be working in an environment that knocks her conﬁdence back.
But negotiating is a skill and one that you can learn. When it comes to asking for a pay rise, there are key points to bear in mind.
First of all, try to broach the subject when you’ve recently done something well. If you truly believe you need and deserve a pay rise, you probably do. Draw up a job spec of what you were employed to do and then draw one up of what you actually do.
Highlight the difference and draw attention to the value of these things. But don’t expect to get a pay rise for something that adds 10 minutes to your day – if you can demonstrate signiﬁcant added duties or responsibilities then you can put a ﬁgure on what those areas bring into the business and therefore show how reasonable what you’re asking for is.
You are guaranteed to put your boss on the defensive and make a payrise, indeed a successful working relationship, much less likely if you oversell yourself or overstate your achievements, or compare salaries with your colleagues (they should be conﬁdential).
Worse still, don’t make threats (to quit etc) or blame others for failures to achieve your goals.
Instead, focus on talking sensibly and realistically – modesty can work the reverse psychology route. Communicate your long-term commitment to the company, belief in its mission, how much you enjoy your job and the people you work with and report to. Illustrate ways in which you have delivered against – or even over and above – clear objectives.
Successful negotiation is always about win-win outcomes. If your employer is left feeling they’ve been forced to pay you more than you’re worth, you’ll be the one to pay the price in the end. At the same time, you shouldn’t feel taken advangage of, so be prepared for some honest feedback if the payrise isn’t forthcoming. Invite it, learn from it – or decide you don’t buy it. Never bury your head in the sand when your employer has speciﬁc reasons not to increase your pay.
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