Bridging the gender pay gap: Have you considered asking for a raise?

by | May 20, 2022 | Women & Finances

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Last week we covered Why women need to be more proactive about investing. One of the reasons is that overall, women earn less – making it even more important that we’re smart when it comes to the money we do earn and fight to get paid what we’re worth.

And the law is on our side. Back in 1972 the Equal Pay Act was passed into law in NZ. The Act made it unlawful to pay women and men differently for doing the same job.

While the situation is certainly improving, women today still earn 9.1% less than men. To put it another way, for every 12 months a man works, a woman will need to work 13 and a half months to earn the same!  

And you know the kicker? It’s not that we’re all wilting wallflowers waiting for our magnanimous boss to give us a bump in our pay. In fact, research has shown women ask for pay rises as often as men. We just get turned down more.

So, how do you ask for a pay rise, up the chances of success, and whittle away a little more of the gender pay gap?

First, do your research.  

If you feel you’re being underpaid, find out what the market value is for your role. Ask colleagues within your industry (or even within your company) what they’re getting paid to see what that gap might be.  

Then prove your worth

Once you know what you should be getting paid, pull together the evidence to prove you’re worth it to your boss. Make a list of your achievements and the value you’ve brought to the company. This could be projects you’ve aced, clients you’ve brought in, sales you’ve made, or other recognition you’ve garnered in your role.

Make sure to pick your timing

Take stock of the lay of the land when it comes to asking for a raise. Does your company have a policy around when it will consider salary reviews? Has your company just experienced a bumper financial year, or are they struggling a little with cash flow? These can all affect the likelihood of your request going through or being denied.  

Use the right language

You don’t ‘need’ a raise, you ‘deserve’ a raise. You’ve earned it.

Have a contingency plan

Prepare yourself to hear ‘no’ and have something ready in your back pocket to keep the negotiations open. Are there other benefits you can negotiate instead – like working from home, reducing your hours, or a free carpark? If timing is the issue, set a date to restart the conversation a few months down the track.

Congratulations! You got a raise!

Now what?  

It’s tempting to turn all your shopping, travel, and celebratory plans into reality now you’ve got more money coming in… Just don’t head to the shops or your local travel agent quite yet.

Instead, take a bit of time and really think about what you can do with it and come up with a plan. No doubt some of the extra money will go towards easing the cost of living, and potentially your now sky-high mortgage repayments.  

If you’re already a savvy saver, give them a bit of a bump to reflect your increased pay packet. If you haven’t yet started your saving journey, this could be your time to start. Or use the extra cash to help pay down any short-term debt you have a little faster.

Or does this raise give you a little financial freedom to finally dip your toe in the investing world? In this case join our Women & Finance Panel: Investing with Confidence on May 17th at 7:00pm and get the inside scoop. You can register here.

The gender pay gap likely won’t be solved one raise at a time. But, championing your worth – and ensuring you’re compensated appropriately – is something you can do to help secure your financial security and pave the way for other women to be compensated fairly too.

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