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Avoid these two common mistakes when asking for a pay rise at work

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Anna Brech
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Contrary to common perception, research indicates that women are no less assertive than men when seeking out a salary hike.

But, because of widespread discrimination tied up in Britain’s 18.1% gender pay gap, we are much less likely to be granted an increase.

In order words,  depressingly, “women do ask but they do not get.”

Yet, even the asking bit can be tricky.

Armed with the knowledge that we should proactively seek out the best deal possible for our talents, the whole “what about my salary” chat can nevertheless be shrouded in awkwardness.



Human Resource specialist Karen Gately is well-versed in the oil that smooths the wheels of a pay chat.

Here are two common mistakes she recommends avoiding in any such discussion (as shared in the Mail) – to help you yield success, no matter what barriers stand in your way:

Don’t compare

Know your value

Know your value, and tout it

In any pay chat, you should be focusing solely on the reason why your skills and potential are worthy of a pay rise – so you should avoid muddying the waters.

Not only does concentrating on what other people earn sound petty, it also fails to justify why you personally deserve the increase; and crucially, it sways the focus away from the unique qualities you have to offer.

“Avoid debates about the specifics of what others earn. Focus on what is fair compensation for you in your role,” says Gately.

As well as setting a positive tone, this will help you to remain drilled in on exactly what you want to achieve:

“Understand what you want to earn and why. Have a clear view of how your role, experience or contribution justifies the need for you to earn more than you already do.”

Don’t apologise

The forbidden word...

The forbidden word

It’s crucial that you enter into any negotiation with a clear understanding of your worth. You are perfectly within your rights to ask for a pay rise, no matter what the circumstances, so don’t undermine your request by apologising. 

“Know that you are doing the right thing by challenging what you earn and asking for more,” says Gately. 

“Enter into the conversation with confidence that you not only deserve to be better compensated for your efforts but that it's reasonable to raise your concerns.

“Speak with conviction and be firm in your expectations that steps be taken to improve your income… Understand your facts and avoid the temptation to be apologetic for raising the issue.”

So, there you have it: go forth and conquer...

Images: iStock

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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