Navigating the Equal Pay talk

4 scenarios on how to conquer the equal pay talk with your boss.

It’s no secret that women are often underpaid for their work than their male counterparts. Hands up ladies if you've ever asked a male coworker what their salary is and realized you are underpaid. While the gender wage gap has narrowed over time, it persists. 

In 1996, Equal Pay Day was launched to bring attention to the wage gap, it has grown in popularity every year with major corporations taking part. 

Think of this as your sign to have the conversation and negotiate your pay to help close the gap. Say goodbye to salary stigma, and start earning what you deserve. Here is our guide on broaching the equal pay talk in 4 different scenarios. Let’s get into it!

  1. You found out a colleague who has the same job as you is getting paid more

Sometimes the reasons for a wage difference are non-sinister, so it’s important to take a step back and assess if perhaps one of the following reasons are at play — a few more years of experience, a different educational background, stronger performance metrics. If so, utilize these as a roadmap for determining how you can position yourself for a higher salary.

If there are no given differences, it’s time to ask for parity. Refrain from referencing the person in question when having a conversation with your manager. Your salary is yours, determined by performance and the value you add to the business. Plus, you may come off as immature if you say, “Chad is earning $70,000, so I should be as well.” 

Opt for something simple and professional instead, try: “Based on my performance and contributions, as well as the current market salary levels of similar roles, I’m requesting an increase of $X.”. If you don’t to don’t get. 

Make sure you enter the meeting with examples of your contributions and wins to date; these will support your request and help convince your manager you are deserving of a pay rise. Always aim high when asking, as your manager or employer is likely to undervalue or negotiate with you - if not, it will ensure you’re receiving max benefits for your contribution! If your employer gives you a salary increase that isn’t quite what your research indicated you’re deserving of, make sure to ask for feedback as to why. Feedback will help you identify skills you can develop, or metrics to improve on to secure that heightened increase.

  1. You’ve been at the same job for a couple of years & haven’t had a pay rise/promotion

While you may know just how much work you’ve been doing during your time with this company, others around you - including those with the power to promote you - may have been too caught up in their roles to pay close attention. So what should you do? Simple, talk to them. People are more drawn to arguments that are carefully explained and justified. Make sure you let your boss know you’re interested in being promoted or given a raise, after all - they’re not mind readers. 

Try not to think of this conversation as just that - a conversation. Lose any tension and frustration before entering the discussion to make sure you don’t lose sight of your end goal. As always, remember to be respectful, arrogance isn’t going to get you anywhere!

  1. You asked for a pay rise and didn’t get it

Sometimes when you ask for a rise - you don’t get it. We know, crazy isn’t it. It’s essential that in the event you’re met with a no, you follow up on the why. If you’ve put together a case, listed your achievements, and still were met with a no - there’s probably a reason out of your control. 

Think: “Okay, so what do I have to do, and by when in order for me to get this pay raise?”

Create a concrete timeline. Make sure your boss gives you realistic and measurable targets. Once you’ve left the meeting, send a follow-up email about what you and your boss discussed, to make sure it is in writing. Highlight the things you’re going to achieve, reiterate the agreed review at XY date. This way you ensure you’re goals and progression is being taken seriously - it becomes harder to give you the runaround.

  1. You’re going into your annual review

Make your annual review tangible. When going through a salary review and negotiation, you’re more likely to receive the result you’re after by clearly demonstrating your value. Keep files detailing your wins and achievements - from emails, to investment return on projects, to the number of days you’ve shaved off a process. Linking yourself to facts, figures and recognition will help support the reasoning for the salary you’re after.

One part of negotiating a raise that often gets overlooked is networking. Building relationships outside your department and direct line of management will help strengthen your case, as others will vouch for your contributions. Salary adjustment budgets are discussed by teams at the executive level, with each manager putting their recommendations for their staff forward. If the leaders in other departments know you - and your work - there’s likely to be less friction in having your raise approved.

Interested in learning more about gender-based financial gaps? Read our Gender Investment Gap blog.

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