Things to consider when asking for a raise as a woman and why women should negotiate for more money, every single time, no matter what.
All my girlfriends, cousins, and sisters will tell you that I am that person in their texts and DMs telling them to run the numbers and ask accordingly. I'm passionate about getting paid. Even my Instagram family knows that my advice is always to ask for more money. In the span of my corporate career, I have never not negotiated the terms of a job offer whether that be the start date, the signing bonus or the salary.
Maybe it's because I work in HR. Maybe it's because I ask too many questions. Maybe it's because securing the bag is one of my favorite things to do. It's really all of those things but the exact same doesn't have to be true for you to know your worth and advocate for your bottom line. I recently spoke to a group of young professionals in New York about this very topic and now it's your turn to get these gems. Let's chat about how to ask for more money as a woman.
More good reads for working women:
Why Women Should Negotiate, Always.
Statistically speaking, women make less money and live longer than men. I don't know about you, but I'm trying to live a rich auntie lifestyle for the rest of my days and need every last coin to fund my travels, save for the future, and spoil my loved ones. Add in the pink tax we often pay on products, safety expenses we have to consider that men often don't, and the higher likelihood that we'll one day leave the workforce entirely to raise children. This is why women simply must negotiate job offers, raises, and more. Always. Even if you're already pleased with the number. Even if you don't "need" it. No organization that has made it to the level of employing you is leading with their best offer. Ask me how I know.
I want everyone woman securing every bag possible, most especially Black women and women of color. Why? Today (March 24th) is women's equal pay day, which represents how far into the year women, on average, have to work in order to earn what their male counterparts earned the year before. Note that this is an average largely weighted by white women. Black women's equal pay day doesn't come until August 3rd. It's October 21st for LatinX women. Asian women happen to lead the pack with March 9th. And Indigenous women have to wait (and work) until September 8th! Gender parity in the workplace is more complex than is often reported because of a little thing called intersectionality but that's a discussion for another day.
Motivation to Ask for More Money
The stats speak for themselves but sometimes we need a nudge to ask for more money, especially as women. To get my mind right, I do one or more of the following:
- I think about the life I want to live and share with others and what it will take to realize it.
- Look at the best/highest value outcome I've ever gotten and remind myself that I'm still that person (probably better now, in fact).
- Do some research. When you look around and see that others are getting more, you shouldn't ask Why them? You should ask, Why not me, too? All things being equal, of course.
- Listen to some money music. Cardi B's Money, Everybody Mad by O.T. Genasis, About the Money by T.I., and anything by Megan Thee Stallion or The City Girls will usually do the trick. This is the soundtrack in a world where all women negotiate more money.
But What if I'm Afraid to Negotiate?
I can't lie and say that I'm not afraid of rejection or that I naturally find negotiations thrilling. I actually hate hearing the word "no" and negotiating isn't natural to me but it is lucrative. With blogging, I have made the mistake of jumping at first offers when it comes to sponsored partnerships with brands or not even considering whether I could or should be paid for something being asked of me. You live and you learn.
Can negotiating backfire? Sure. As with anything else, if you go about it an uninformed or inconsiderate way, you might regret it. But as long as you are firm, respectful, and bring the receipts (more on that below), you won't wind up any worse off than had you not asked. But what if they rescind the offer altogether? They won't. They want you for the job and if they cannot meet your ask they'll simply say so. What they won't do is ghost you or say "lol nvm." Because while there can be some similarities between employers and toxic romantic partners, that just isn't one of them.
Three Things to Know Before Negotiating
How can a woman ask for money? Truly, the same way a man can. Tell your leader or HR representative that you want to discuss an increase in your salary or rate of pay. Here are a few basic things to have in mind before talking numbers.
- What is the absolute minimum you will accept? Do you have another offer on the table? Are you just testing the waters?
- What are you basing your number on? (Hint: It should be based on facts and not your feelings.) Conduct market research and take into account your experience, skillset, and location to determine the going rate or your market value. Keep in mind whether your job description has kept up with what you actually do. In fact, it's better to ask for additional compensation before taking on any additional work than to try to play catch up later when you're overworked, frustrated, and have little leverage.
- What are some substitutes that would work for you if the salary increase you want isn't available in this situation? This could be a one-time bonus, stock units, or something else. If you plan to stay at your company, a salary increase is most ideal because future increases, bonuses, and more are often based on that number.
Things to Avoid when Negotiating Salary
- Don't rely on your personal obligations or desires to carry weight in a money conversation. Your expenses, debts, etc. have no bearing on the market value of your work.
- Don't talk about opinions or hypotheticals. It is key to know your market value because employers generally require sound reasoning and concrete facts. You don't get paid what you deserve but rather what you ask for. So make sure you can effectively articulate your value.
- Don't get a competing offer just for the sake of bringing your employer to the negotiating table. Be fully prepared to actually take that offer because you'll look silly otherwise. Changing jobs (whether in a different department or company altogether) is certainly the most efficient way to significantly increase your salary but it shouldn't be something you hold over your manager's head or do over and over at the same place.
- Don't play the comparison game. "I should make what he/she/they makes!" likely won't get you far. Focus on what you're bringing to the table and only reference another employee's salary information you might have in the context of seeking clarity if there's a major discrepancy and your work is similar.
I truly hope this post helps you get to the money. Send it to a woman who needs this information. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin these women's negotiating tips on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!