Studies in the past have suggested that women are less likely than men to ask for a raise. But research from Harvard Business Review finds that women ask for raises just as often as men do — they’re just more likely to have their requests denied.
According to HBR, women who ask for a raise receive one 15 percent of the time, while men who ask for a raise receive one 20 percent of the time. The difference may seem small, but it can have a huge impact on a woman’s career, especially if she’s already being underpaid.
Currently, the average woman in the U.S. earns $0.80 for every dollarearned by her white male peers. That gap varies when race is factored in — Asian-American women earn $0.85 to every dollar, white women earn $0.77 to every dollar, African-American women earn $0.61 to every dollar, Native American women earn $0.58 to every dollar and Latina women earn $0.53 to every dollar.
But the gap persists. While bias and discrimination are significant drivers of these numbers, Glassdoor SVP of Product Annie Pearl says that when women are armed with the right information, “they are much more likely to have confidence when they go in and have that negotiation conversation.”
CNBC Make It spoke to eight women from different industries about how it felt to negotiate their first big raise and the advice they’d give other women looking to do the same.
Mia J. Davis is a writer, producer and founder of Color Vision, an organization that works to provide advancement opportunities for the next generation of women of color in creative fields.
How old were you when you negotiated your first big raise?
I was 31 years old.
What was your job title at the time and how big was the raise you asked for?
I was a creative producer at the time, and the new position and raise helped to double my salary.
Were you being underpaid, and if so were you aware?
I didn’t know that I was underpaid for years, until I began to open up to my peers in the same industry at other companies about how much they were making. The majority of these peers happened to be men and had the exact same title I did. The last straw for me was finding out that a man working in the same department with the same title as me was being paid a good deal more than I was.
How did you negotiate your raise and would you recommend other women follow a similar strategy?
I first went about getting the raise when I was being underpaid by discussing it with my boss and then HR. There was clearly an unfair bias that I know others were experiencing. Fortunately, I was brave enough to speak up. I also kept a tracker of all the work I had been doing and how it greatly impacted the company.
I would strongly suggest that other women do something similar, by having open conversations about what their peers are making at work, especially men. Don’t shy away from those conversations. If you are timid [about] having them, then be sure to always keep track of your work and its impact.
Did getting that raise change your life financially and professionally? How did you feel afterward?
The raise I received changed my life in drastic ways, both financially and professionally. Professionally, I felt more respected at work and financially it gave me more freedom in life than I had ever felt before. Afterward, I felt extremely empowered and it was a reminder to me to never forget my worth.
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