American women are increasingly becoming the primary breadwinners in their households, according to a study released this week from the Pew Research Center, but that they might be holding back when it comes to asking for a pay raise.
Only one in four professional women have asked their employer for a raise in the past year , data from Citi’s Connect Professional Women’s Network on LinkedIn reveals. But of those who did ask for an increase, 75% were successful.
Women workers have been great strides in the labor market over the last several decades, but the survey shows only 38% of women can see themselves rising to a leadership position within their companies, citing lack of opportunity, time and company loyalty as their top three roadblocks.
The data surveyed nearly 950 professional women who are LinkedIn members.
Nell Merlino, CEO of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and founder of Take Our Daughters to Work Day, says the biggest obstacle is getting over the “ask.”
“It's hard to have the conversation,” Merlino said. “I recently had lunch with a woman who thought she had to leave her current job to make more money. I said, ‘have you asked your boss for a raise?’” She [told me] if she were going to be getting a raise, they would have given her one.”
But that mentality--especially in today’s economic climate--is wrong, Merlino says. It’s not a matter of doing well and being noticed, but instead reframing the conversation to show how you add value to the company, and then going in for the “ask.”
“Women don’t connect all the time that they need to show how they can do more or do better for the company,” she says.
Here are Merlino’s three tips for female workers on how to successfully ask for a raise:
No. 1: Get comfortable with the numbers. Know what you are asking for and why you are asking for it.
“Say: ‘this is the team I am on, the job I have, and the revenue I am generating for the company,’” she says. “Say, ‘I want to try this, or do this, and would need this kind of a raise.’”
If you frame your salary increase as a solution to a problem your boss or company may have more incentive to grant the request.
No. 2: Understand why you haven’t asked before. Think through your current role in the workplace and any potential salary and growth limitations that comes with your position.
“Understand the role you play for the company,” Merlino says. “There may not be a raise in the position you are in, but there could be another job in the company to make more money.”
No. 3: Don’t make it personal. Yes, the money you are asking for is in direct correlation to your work, but don’t make it about what that money can do for you, Merlino advises.
“It can get very personal when people want to tell someone why they need the money,” she says. “As a boss, if you cared about that for every employee, you would lose your mind.”