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How To Negotiate A Payrise

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How To Negotiate A Payrise


Just don’t mention the money or we might reduce the gender pay gap!


Natalie McMillan York Coach MMB working mum and working dad magazine

By Natalie McMillan – Wicked HR

How to negotiate a payrise – Why do so many of us becoming jittering wrecks and unable to string more than two words together, when it comes to discussing and asking for a pay rise at work? Research shows that men are four times as likely to ask for higher pay than are women with the same qualifications. More recently, there has been the evidence presented that when women do ask for a pay rise they are more likely to have this request turned down.


What is going on and do you recognise any of these scenarios below?

– I would ask but now doesn’t seem the right time
– Am I really worth a pay rise?
– It will look like I am only interested in money and am greedy
– My boss will see how good I am if I just carry on doing a great job and I will be rewarded

If yes, then you are not alone. We have an 18% gender pay gap in the UK. Both areas of research cited above, are true, in my opinion and experience. Many are worried that in asking for a pay rise they will be seen as pushy. Do you recall a man being described as pushy? I don’t. It is not being pushy to know your worth and wanting to be paid equivalent to your performance.

To help, here is my advice to ask for a pay rise, successfully. I believe Chery Sanderberg is right when she says it needs to be approached with a style that shows it is more than self-serving. The first piece of advice is therefore to reference the gender pay gap and start negotiation stating this. If you work for a business with more than 250 employees then they are required by law to publish and report their gender pay gap data (since April 2017) so check out the website to find out your facts. If your business is not subject to this, make reference to the national figure.

Be prepared and use facts and data to present a compelling case. The mistake that is often made is to approach this in a personal way which leads to emotional decisions and responses.

The second piece of advice, that has helped me, is to approach this as you would any other business case. Look objectively at the situation. For example, benchmark your current salary with others in similar roles, explore the market and present this as your case. Keep it concise.

Park your emotions. They tend to run high in this situation, which leads to women back-pedalling in the negotiation itself. Often, women retreat when their request is challenged and end up asking for something completely different, accepting less or worst of all, withdrawing from the negotiation with tail between their legs. The third tip you can use is to structure the conversation. Again, as you would a presentation or pitch at a meeting in work. Below is a proposed outline to help.


State you are here to ask for a review of your current pay and believe you are worth an increase.


  1. State the pay gender gap and your awareness that this exists.
  2. State the amount of you are seeking in percentage and actual salary.
  3. State the case making between 3 to 4 points that support your case.
  4. Await the answer.

So good news, it worked and you got your pay rise. What if the answer was ‘no’ or ‘not right now but in a few months’. This is another area where women respond differently and often accept this outcome. This leads to resentment and gives the impression that you didn’t really believe your case and worth.


It is right to challenge as long as you do it appropriately.


1/. Ask for the rationale to be emailed to you so you can reflect.
Review your data, take on board the feedback.

2/. Respond with a clear statement that you disagree and again restate why you feel worth the increase.

3/. If you still don’t have any success, then perhaps this isn’t the right business for you.

4/. If you have been realistic in your request, then it is right to reflect on whether this business values you and meets your needs

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How To Negotiate A Payrise 20/10/19

1. Why women don’t ask: The high cost of avoiding negotiation – and positive strategies for change. Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever
2.Do women ask? Warwick Economics Research Papers No: 1127
3.Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg
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