More Than Half Of Women Avoid Asking For A Pay Rise

Career Climbers / 24th February 2020

Wages have been increasing at a faster rate than inflation since 2018. According to statistics released by the Office of National Statistics, the average weekly income for full-time workers has seen a year-on-year increase of 2.9%, rising from £568 to £585. 

Delving into salary expectations vs. reality, research collated by Instant Offices reveals that in  2019 UK wages saw the fastest rise in just over a decade, increasing by 3.9% in just three months.

Despite this, research found more than half of women (55%) avoid talking about a pay rise with their boss. It also shows women are still less likely to ask for a pay rise as less than half (43%) often feel ‘uncomfortable’ doing so.

Gender difference regarding salary negotiations

Although one-third of women state they believe they are overqualified for their current role, data show that women seem less likely to approach or instigate a conversation around money in the workplace. In fact, a growing number of women prioritise work-life balance, flexible working options and better hours over money. 

Workers who:



Feel comfortable asking for an increase



Have never negotiated their salary



Are more likely to negotiate working hours than pay



Are more likely to negotiate on specific parts of a job



Breaking down the stigma of money and the workplace, Instant Offices have provided tips on how employees can start an effective discussion around a pay rise with their boss:

Take a diplomatic approach to your reasoning and remove any sense of entitlement. The hardest part of stating you want a pay rise is doing so without using the words “I want a pay rise”. Phrases such as “I want” or “I deserve” will have no merit, especially if you can’t prove your worth to your employer. Have a list of reasons that justify your value and underline what you bring to the company.

Meet in person, but get in touch with your manager in advance to warn them. It’s advisable to prepare your manager for the upcoming discussion to allow them to also prepare; they may need to talk to the finance team, or even promote you to a more senior role. Send an email outlining your request and a suggested date for a face-to-face meeting to sit and discuss things in full.

Don’t threaten to leave, unless you’re actually prepared to. If you want a pay rise, unless you have another job offer lined up, it’s not sensible to threaten to quit. Worst case scenario, your employer says no and you have no other card to play, resulting in long-term doubt about your loyalty to the company. 

Do some research and be realistic. Look at the average wage in your industry/field and set a realistic benchmark. Remember though, roles and responsibilities differ and this will impact salary, as will experience.

Think about the timing. If your company has just announced budgets, restructuring, or cuts then factor that in accordingly. You don’t have to wait for your annual review, or even a pay review, just choose a suitable time when there isn’t significant pressure on your manager or the business as a whole.

Have confidence. While discussing a pay rise can be unnerving, planning ahead and possibly even writing a script, or running through it with a friend, can help prepare you for the conversation to come. This can also alleviate feelings of anxiety, allowing you to have confidence, make eye contact and present your points clearly.

Make it more than just money. Although it’s a conversation about pay, try and make it a discussion about more than just salary. Focus on career progression, training, and other possible perks, which show you’re invested in your role and keen to develop, rather than simply looking for more cash.


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