Work plays a big role in life and obviously our financial health. A subject of interest, we ran a survey on the old pay rise question – to ask or not to ask….The research showed overwhelmingly that women are uncomfortable asking for more money.

Half of the women we spoke to (50 per cent) simply don’t like the idea of going to their boss and asking for more. This is the biggest barrier stopping women from having the important conversation about their financial future.

Beyond the fear of broaching the topic of pay with their boss, the ms money survey found that 19 per cent of women are unsure what their role should be paid, 16 per cent were worried about losing their job if they asked for a rise and 15 per cent would prefer to wait until their employer raised the topic with them.

Founder of Ms Money, and financial planner of 20 years experience, Susan Jackson advises women to take the subject of pay rises off their taboo list; to prepare and practice talking about money in order to close the gender pay gap.

“Women often tend to wait until a pay rise is offered. They could be doing 90 per cent of their roles brilliantly, but will allow the 10 per cent they’re not as confident about to justify not asking for a pay rise.”

And while the prospect may make us shake in our boots, the good news, she says, is that most women actually find it easier than they thought.

“The secret is it prepare, have a plan, learn how to negotiate and be assertive without being aggressive.”

Here is Susan’s plan of attack:

Do your research. Find out what your job/role/responsibilities are worth. Check out similar positions being advertised and career sites that show comparable salaries for various industries.

Prepare for the conversation. List your responsibilities, key projects you have worked on, specific achievements, and tasks you have taken on over and above your job description. Work out the pay increase you are ideally looking for then arrange a specific time to discuss your role and salary, making sure it is clear why you are arranging the meeting.

State your case. Be specific rather than unclear dialogue about how hard you work etc. Once you have stated your case as to why a pay rise is warranted then zip it. At this point, many women start to deliver long-winded justifications for the raise which can be counterproductive. You need to remain focussed and to the point. If your boss has questions, they will ask…

Likely scenarios… (1) You get the raise and can start working out how to spend all that extra cash

(2) Your boss needs time to think about it. In this case, you need to set a specific time frame by which you expect to have an answer. This should be no more than two weeks

(3) You don’t get a raise. It’s easy at this point to get angry or issue an ultimatum but you need to be smarter than that. Graciously indicate that you’re disappointed and whether there are any specific reasons as to why you did not get a raise. Sometimes the reasons have nothing to do with you, but rather reflect the company’s cash flow issues etc.

If there is no real valid reason or it does relate to your performance, ask your employer what would need to happen for your pay rise to be approved.

If your boss is not prepared to give you any indication or clarity around what you need to do for a pay rise, maybe it’s time to assess your options.

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