Many employees believe they are not getting paid fairly for their work and are being paid below their market value by their employers. As an employee, discussing your wage with your employer is within your legal right, but doing so can feel intimidating. If you believe you deserve a raise or aren’t getting paid fairly, here are a few tips for discussing your pay with your employer.
First and foremost, you need to do your homework before you talk to your employer about your pay. Gather pay data for someone in your area with your level of experience in comparison to similar companies– don’t just review the average salary. It’s also wise to look at your employee handbook and determine the company’s raise policy. For example, if they give out raises once a year, they may not be willing to give you another one, or they may list steps to take for you to request a raise.
No matter how close your relationship is with your boss, only ask for a raise in a professional appointment. The last thing you want to do is blindside your employer, and setting up an appointment lets them know exactly what you’re there to talk about. Conversely, you don’t have to set up an appointment specifically to discuss your raise. You can meet with your employer to discuss your job performance and send a written request for a raise afterward.
Whether you decide to discuss your wage in person or not, you want to prepare carefully. It’s a good idea to list your achievements and other compelling reasons why you believe you deserve a raise. You don’t have to gloat, but now is the time for you to show your commitment, drive, and how valuable you are to the company. If you’re going to have a meeting in person, it’s also a good idea to rehearse what you’re going to say and ask so you can stay steadfast and confident. Staying assured of yourself is vital; you can think of it as marketing yourself to your employer.
A few outcomes can occur: your boss can say yes, no, or give you a noncommittal answer. If your boss says no, don’t lash out; continue to stay positive. Instead, ask what you can do to qualify for a raise in the future, and ask when they would feel comfortable speaking again. If they give you a noncommittal answer, wait a few months before confidently asking again.
Hopefully, these tips for discussing your wage with your employer will help you feel a little more confident in getting the pay you deserve. However, if you feel like you aren’t getting paid fairly and your employer is consistently dodging your request for a well-earned raise, you may have a legal issue on your hands. In some cases, you may get discriminated against or purposefully underpaid. In those cases, you need an equal-pay lawyer to help you look into your specific situation and determine whether you need to take legal action.