In my previous article, I shared a common mistake women make - not asking for a raise and instead waiting for one to be granted. After that, I received more questions. Such as, how do I ask for a raise? Why should I ask? And why would they give me one?
Before I dive into my usual bullet points, let me share my story from times when I was a Community Association Manager (CAM).
When I started that position, of course, with no experience, they gave me the smallest salary possible. But before I even started to work, I informed them that in three months I would like a review of my salary and then again every year. They agreed.
Note: State your pay review expectations before accepting a job offer. But if you already working no worries you still can position yourself in the right way to get your pay review on a regular basis.
Three months passed by, and I was absolutely sure that I was doing well and should be paid more for it. I reached out to my bosses with a nice email and explained to them in detail why they should give me a raise. I had met all their expectations despite no prior experience, and I was working on improving both the building and myself. It wasn’t much, but they gave me an additional $2,000 a year. I said, Okay, let me work harder and prove that I deserve to be paid even more.
After a full year of working there, I negotiated another $2,500. When writing my next email, I told them how much I wanted and what I had accomplished in that year with a list of at least six items, including that somehow I was saving them money. Because they were so glad to have me and didn’t want me to leave and go work for someone else, they matched that $2,500. I ended up with $5,000, double what I had asked for.
I kept on working, and as before, I would always go the extra mile to deliver the best service. That was one of the reasons the owners of that building really liked me. I would take my time and pay attention to small details. I always believed that small details made a difference.
In my second year, I kept doing the best I could. I took all the additional classes and education to get some certifications at a higher level than just a CAM license. I invested in myself and increased my worth to the company so I could ask for more pay later.
And of course, after another year, I asked for a raise of $6,000 with a concrete list of all the improvements I had made during that year. I told the building president about my negotiation and, after a few weeks, I was granted another raise of $5,500.
A lot of ladies find it hard to ask for a raise, even if they deserve it. It could be because of things like unfair assumptions about women, feeling like a fraud, or just not having enough confidence. But it's important for women to speak up and ask for fair pay, and even more if they deserve it. I mean, why not, right?
Here are some of the reasons why women should ask for raises:
Women are still paid less than men for doing the same work. According to a study by the American Association of University Women, women earn 82 cents for every dollar that men earn. I knew men who were doing the same job with fewer certifications (but, yes, with more experience) and were making about $10K-$30K more than me.
Women are born to serve. Women, especially single moms always go the extra mile to deliver the best service. We are natural at it, it comes easily, but we mistakenly think that men do the same.
Women are more likely to take time off from work for family reasons. According to a study done by the Gender, Work & Organization, mothers, in particular, have had to cut their workweek by about two hours on average to balance work and their families. This means the ever-discussed gender pay gap just got bigger.
This is a big one! You are worth more than you think. I've noticed that a lot of women tend to underestimate themselves, and it often seems like it's because they don't want to come across as too pushy or high-maintenance. It's a shame because everyone should feel confident in their abilities and not have to worry about how others perceive them.
Here are some tips on how women can ask for a raise:
Do your research. Check out what other folks with your job and experience are getting paid in your field. There are some cool online tools that can help you figure that out. If you worked in the same company for years, it is very likely that you are underpaid not even knowing it. I used to check CAI magazine (for CAMs) for salary research each year to make sure I was still in line with others.
Be prepared to discuss your accomplishments. When you ask for a raise, be prepared to discuss your accomplishments and how you have contributed to the company. Bring a list! Try to quantify your work by putting a number on your contributions. For example, did you successfully plan two events this past year? Did you train 5 new employees? Did you create a presentation or help with the company policies? If possible, try to attach a dollar figure to these accomplishments.
Be confident. When you ask for a raise, don't come with your tail between your legs and look like you are begging for it. OWN IT!
Be specific. When you ask for a raise, be specific about how much you are asking for. State the number, don't be afraid. Better increase what you think you deserve by 10-20%.
Be prepared to negotiate. It is likely that your employer will not give you the exact amount of money that you are asking for. Be prepared to negotiate and compromise. Maybe ask for additional days of paid vacation instead, sick days, and so on.
Here is an example of what you could say when asking for a raise by email:
"Hi [manager's name],
I am writing to you today to request a raise. I have been with the company for [number] years, and during that time, I have consistently exceeded expectations in my role. For example, in the past year, I have [list of accomplishments].
I believe that my skills and experience are valuable to the company, and I am confident that I can continue to make significant contributions. I am therefore requesting a raise of [percentage] percent.
I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been given at this company, and I am committed to continuing to be a valuable asset to the team. I am confident that we can come to an agreement that is fair to both of us."
If you are hesitant to ask for a raise on your own, you can ask a mentor or coach to help you.
It is important to remember that you deserve to be paid fairly for your work. By asking for a raise, you are advocating for yourself and your career.