Bridging the Gender Wage Gap: Knowing When and How to Ask For a Raise

Even though women, for the first time in our country’s history, represent over fifty percent of the workforce, and even though more women than men hold degrees in advanced education, there still remains a wage gap. According to an Institute for Women’s Policy fact sheet, women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn. Although experts have attempted to account for the wage gap in various ways, it’s been firmly established that part of the problem is women are much less likely to ask for raises than do men. Here are a few tips:

Don’t follow the assumption that you’ll simply get a raise without asking.

Women especially tend to believe that if they work really hard, at least one higher-up will notice and reward them. Unfortunately, raises don’t work that way. If you want a raise, you’re going to have to ask for it.

Timing is everything, so figure out when approaching your boss would be best.

Finding the right moment to ask for a raise is critical. Do it when it would make most sense, like if you just took on an extra project and successfully completed it, or if you’re up for your annual review.

Be prepared to demonstrate why you deserve a raise.

While asking for a raise is a critical first step in successfully netting one, you can’t just ask for one without bringing your accomplishments to the negotiating table. Figure out how, precisely, you’ve helped your company and don’t be shy in bragging a little.

Research your worth.

In addition to discussing your accomplishments, it also helps to do a little research to find out how much the average person makes in your position with your level of experience. is a great starting point.

Don’t make it all about you.

According to research by Harvard University’s Hannah Riley Bowles, who studies women and negotiation, women may need to take a different approach than men when asking for a raise in order not to be perceived in a negative light. Bowles suggests that women shouldn’t ask for a raise directly. Instead, they should use language and persuasive techniques to demonstrate how raising your salary would be good for the company or good for relationships within the company.

For more tips based on Bowles’ research, check out a New York Times article published earlier this year, “A Woman’s Toolkit for Seeking a Raise“.

Kate Willson

This guest post is contributed by Kate Willson, who writes on the topics of top online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

You may also like...