Not being paid equally? How to negotiate your full worth at work

Are you being paid an equal amount to your equivalent male colleagues? Or even just earning your full worth? Read tips on how to achieve your full worth.

New research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) reveals that UK women earn, on average, 18% less than men – and the gap ‘balloons’ after we have children.

So what can we do about it? Career coach Fiona Clark from Inspired Mums explains why working mums are so reluctant to ask for a pay rise (even if they deserve one!) and shares five tips to help you negotiate your full worth at work.

Why Equal Pay Day is so depressing

The 10 November marked Equal Pay Day 2016 in the UK, and it was disheartening to read the flurry of headlines telling us that women were in effect working for free until the end of the year.

So with the news that it will take 60 years to close the gender pay gap at the current rate of progress, we need to ask ourselves what we can do today to make sure we negotiate our true worth?

Working mums are reluctant to ask for a raise

Research shows that women and, in particular, working mums are more reticent to ask for a salary rise than their male counterparts. More often than not, women are not ambitious enough in their ask because they let the following self-limiting beliefs stand in their way:

  • I can’t have flexibility and a higher salary.
  • I don’t feel confident selling myself.
  • I don’t like talking about money.
  • I don’t want to be seen as difficult.

Five steps to achieving your true worth

So, as a qualified career and confidence coach who has helped hundreds of mums reach their full potential, here are my top tips to help boost your confidence so you start negotiating your true worth!

1) Don’t assume anything

We can often be our own worst enemy and talk ourselves out of salary conversations by assuming worst-case scenarios.

How often have you thought, “I don’t want to be a demanding employee” or “there’s no point asking for a rise, they’ll just say no.” Negotiating with yourself in this way will undermine your position and you will automatically be less ambitious in your ask.

Instead be bold and have an appropriately ambitious number in mind, then go for it! Ask yourself “what’s the worst that can happen?” Even if they say ‘no’ for now, the conversation will have put a marker in the sand for your expectations at your next salary review.

2) Adopt a winning mindset

Identify all the things you have going for you – including the fact that working mums are often the most productive people in the building as they have to leave by a certain time, or have five days’ worth of work to do in four.

By writing a list of your key skills and strengths, you will feel more positive about yourself and be ready to walk the talk.

3) Use appropriately confident language

Your choice of language can be key to successfully negotiating your true worth. Don’t detract from your ‘ask’ by using words such as ‘perhaps’ or ‘potentially’. ‘I was wondering if you would consider perhaps moving my salary up?’ simply doesn’t cut it and sound assertive enough.

Instead set up the conversation with a confident opener such as “I need to speak to you about my salary level” and then use concise language to put a specific number on the table.

4) Have a clear rationale

It’s essential to prepare ahead and have a clear argument justifying why you deserve more money. This could be explaining the value you add, such as “I’ve brought in 10 new clients worth £xx” or “I’ve saved £xx money through improved ways of working”.

Alternatively, it could be detailing the additional responsibilities you’ve taken on over time. In which case, make sure you summarise how your role has grown since you started with a ‘then and now’ overview.

Finally, if you are sure that someone else is doing the same or very similar role and there is a significant pay difference, then don’t be afraid to challenge it. Above all, remember to stay calm and don’t become emotional during the conversation.

5) Pitch at the right time

Timing is everything. So if budgets are being cut, redundancies being made or there is a push to cut costs prior to a financial year-end, then now is not the right time.

However, if you’ve had a good appraisal or if you are being asked to take on greater responsibility then make your move. Ask for a 1-2-1 meeting and go for it using the tips above.

Have the confidence to negotiate YOUR true worth!

I hope these top tips will help you value your own true worth so you have the confidence to go out and negotiate it with others.

Remember, if discussions don’t go well, or if you realise you have ended up in a job that doesn’t reflect your true value and experience, then now might be the time to review your career and start looking for something else. Above all, never settle for less than you deserve or you will end up feeling stuck and resentful.

Read more about being paid what you’re worth

You can read more advice on charging or negotiating your worth in these articles:

Email Fiona today for a free consultation about how to identify and negotiate your true worth or find a new role. You can also call her on 07789 597209 or visit her website