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Ivanka Trump shares her tips for working women — and how we can all ask for more — in our exclusive excerpt from her new book, Women Who Work, below.
Beyond negotiating your starting salary, another professional rite of passage is negotiating a raise. Linda Babcock says that women ask for raises and promotions 85% less often than their male counterparts, frequently asking for 30% less. Often, they don’t realize that opportunities exist. “Their perception [is] that their circumstances are more fixed and absolute — less negotiable — than they really are.” And when they do ask, unfortunately, there can be negative repercussions. According to Women in the Workplace 2016, a study conducted by Sheryl Sandberg’s LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company, women who ask “are 30% more likely than men who negotiate to receive feedback that they are ‘intimidating,’ ‘too aggressive,’ or ‘bossy,’ and 67% more likely than women who don’t negotiate to receive the same negative feedback.” A 2011 McKinsey report also noted that men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted based on past accomplishments.
Never assume that your supervisors know the full extent of your contributions.
I remember the first time I approached a boss for an increase in pay, I had to prove my worth to the bottom line in real dollars and cents. I quantified each project that I’d spearheaded and every deal I’d landed over the prior year in order to convince him. It was a valuable lesson to learn, especially at that point in my career. Never assume that your supervisors know the full extent of your contributions. People are busy and preoccupied with achieving their own goals; even the most attentive managers might need you to make your case for a raise or promotion.
Early experiences also taught me the importance of timing when asking for a raise or making bonus-related requests. I wouldn’t approach my boss for a raise if I found out from his assistant that he was in a bad mood; I also timed the conversation with when things were looking good for the company and industry in general. Be mindful of what’s going on financially in the bigger picture. And know that simply logging your time at a company doesn’t automatically qualify you for a raise. The worst way to ask for a raise is to say, “I’ve been here for two years...” It happens all the time, but it’s truly ineffective.
Ask when you feel like you’re not being adequately compensated for the job you’re doing and the responsibilities you’re carrying. Ideally, don’t ask around bonus season — your boss is going to be managing multiple people’s needs; it doesn’t help to add to the stress. Don’t ask right before or after you deliver on something big, either — it can feel too opportunistic. Ask during a quiet, unexpected time and allow your boss to focus her attention on your request.
The worst way to ask for a raise is to say, 'I’ve been here for two years...'
If you’re nervous because you think you’re bad at hard conversations, realize that it’s only a difficult dialogue to have when there’s a true discrepancy between what you feel you’re entitled to and what your boss feels you deserve. If this exists, you need to know about it regardless. Either your boss doesn’t find you as valuable as you believe yourself to be — in which case you should start looking elsewhere — or consider that maybe she’s right, and you have significant room for improvement. If she doesn’t comprehend the full scope of what you do and therefore doesn’t realize that you are being underpaid, give her the benefit of the doubt and the time to make it right.
Here are four more strategies to help you stack the deck in your favor when seeking a raise or a promotion:
Do your research.
Understand your market value and, more important, your value to the company. Be prepared to explain, candidly and concretely, what you feel you’re doing that you’re not being compensated for. Have confidence in your own worth.
Ask to be paid for the job you're actually doing.
If your responsibilities have increased but you haven’t been recognized since, say, you’ve taken over for the manager who left several months earlier, approach your new boss and say, “I’ve been effectively doing this person’s job since she departed, and I’d like to formally assume her position.” Have a conversation. Express that you feel confident you can grow in this role and create value for the organization.
Prove your worth.
To earn an increase in salary, you need to be increasing your responsibilities and performing at a higher level than when you were hired.
Don't negotiate if your boss says no.
Typically no means no when it comes to this type of discussion. If your boss says no, you have two choices: You either accept the rationale, think about it, and grow based on the feedback, or you leave. This is a good time to be reflective. Ask why you haven’t earned the increase. You may not walk away with a new title or more money, but hopefully you’ll learn something that will help you correct your course moving forward.
Excerpted from Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success, by Ivanka Trump, in agreement with Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © IT WWW Pub LLC, 2017