When it comes to the dynamics of the workplace, asking for a raise is a very sensitive topic. Many companies, unfortunately, do not have a standard pay increase at the end of each fiscal year leaving employees seeking the desire for more money to accommodate the demands of the economy. Typically, from year to year, your work responsibilities, career demands (additional certifications, courses, etc.) and work hours may increase leaving a running list of justifiable reasons for an increase in salary.
Honestly, there is a bit of anxiety when having the “pay raise” conversation with your boss. You are not always sure of the outcome and there may be some outside factors that may hinder your company from providing you with your well-deserved increase. Although this may be the case, as Black women, it is important to ask for what we deserve especially if your company culture overlooks your hard work.
According to a March 2015 report by the National Partnership for Women and Families: A persistent gender-based wage gap continues to harm women, their families and the economy. On average, women in the United States are paid 78 cents for every dollar paid to men. For African American women, the gap is larger. African American women are paid, on average, just 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. When women lose income, their economic security and that of their families is diminished.
The salary we earn year over year is not only an issue for us as individuals but our families and the overall economy. Here are a few pieces of advice to help you take control of your career:
When you come to the conclusion that you deserve and need a raise, you have to gain the confidence to actually speak to your boss. Regardless if you work at a large corporation (with many decision makers), a small business (with few decision makers) or online enterprise (with virtual decision makers), having a professional confidence may be the first step towards a potential “yes.”
Understanding what other companies are paying their employees that hold your position with the equivalent level of experience is important. This will help you narrow down the percentage and/or dollar amount that you should be requesting. Asking for a salary bump that is not realistic based on your role (and other factors like location, growth of the company, etc.) is not a smart idea because that will only leave room for a decline in your request.
3. State the Facts:
Why do you deserve a raise? This will likely be the one of the many questions your boss will ask you and this is the first question you should ask yourself. Rule out reasons such as “my living expenses have increased” or “my student loan payments have increased” to more tangible reasons such as “over the last six months, I have increase sales” or “over the last six months I have obtain three new clients for the firm.” These are examples you can bring to your meeting that will help your boss realize the value you bring to the company.
You cannot expect your boss to remember or stay on top of every thing you have done. We want to face this situation realistically and show that we are serious about the work we have done and the hard work will continue to bring.
4. Setting up the Meeting:
Depending on your company, you should schedule a face-to-face meeting with the person that is directly responsible to make the final decision. If you have to go through a few people to get to the person in charge, it would be best to speak to your counselor/career advisor for guidance or your day-to-day manager prior to speaking to the final decision maker.
Allow this process to be as professional and formal as possible in order to project the image that this is an important topic for you. You want your boss to know that you value your position at the company and in order to gain the appreciation you deserve, a pay raise is a necessary measure to show that.
5. The Final Decision:
Once you have gone through the process, it is ultimately up to your boss to make the final decision. If your request is accepted, you should definitely celebrate but with a pay raise you should want to show that you are worth every penny. If you do not receive a pay raise, it is logical to evaluate your place at your job especially if there is not a positive correlation between your salary and power, role or responsibilities as time goes on.
You should always work hard and a decline in your pay raise request should not cause any animosity between you and the company. Continue to be honest with what you want out of your career and make an effort to obtain that.
Being assertive about your life is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. You are the only one that is responsible for obtaining what you deserve in your career and having a plan and direction will help you accomplish that very mission.