It's not a secret that, despite efforts to bridge the divide, the male-female gender pay gap is still pretty wide, so how do you get exactly what you're worth in 2017? We have the tips.
When American comedian Sarah Silverman discovered her male colleagues were being paid six times what she was getting for a gig, she decided to do something about it.
“We do not get what we want, we get what we think we deserve...ask for more,” Silverman told a US media outlet, adding that she teamed up with Levo, an online resource for the career of young women, to help push pay equality.
Regrettably, Sarah is not alone. Many women are underpaid not because they lack qualifications but simply because they do not ask.
Gladys Ogallo, Managing Director of the human resource consultancy firm Virtual HR Limited and also board of member of Housing Finance committee that handles remuneration, human resource and adoption of certain policies says “women will ask for a salary they feel the employer can pay while men will ask for a salary the employer can pay plus 30 to 40 percent just to push the envelope. More often than not, they get it, and unfortunately, so do the women.”
Before asking for a raise
One has to be strategic when asking for a raise, and women have the ability to work things out to the last details, so they can use this to their advantage.
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Irene Kinuthia, a director of Strathmore Business School, is in charge of creating programmes for the East Africa region. She runs an online programme called Dynamic Woman which uses videos to help women grow in and out of the work place.
“Do not assume the boss knows your experience of the project,” Kinuthia says. “They will assume it was a team effort, and sadly there are those who shout louder than you, so the manager never realizes you are the engine. So keep them posted by sending short weekly reports.”
Patricia Ithau, Regional Director for the Stanford Seed Programme concurs. “As women, we suppose the manager will see our value then give us the raise,” she says. But if you keep supervisors posted, then the salary negotiations will move much faster.
Women also have to learn to embrace their accomplishments. “When we see success, we think we just got lucky or because somebody helped us. So we need to start that internal conversation recognizing that the reason things worked out was because of us,” Kinuthia says.
Once a woman acknowledges this, then she can accurately calculate her net worth, “Your pay comes as a result of deliverables of the job so compare your Key Performance Indicators with the company strategy, then ask yourself how your KPI’s factor in to the achievements of the organizational strategy,” Ogallo says.
“Then look at what your peers earn and you can almost range yourself. Your pay is also influenced by your company’s ability to pay. So even if your deliverables are sh1 million but your company cannot pay you that then you will not earn the Sh1 million.
“We also need to feel we are worth what we are asking. If we feel we are worth it then we are ready to bargain. If you strongly believe it then you can strongly defend your case with your manager.”
How to ask for it
1. Time it right:
“Timing is everything. Ask for a rise 4 to 6 months before the pay review to give your boss time to evaluate your job and decide whether he is ready to lose you or not,” says Ogallo
2. Make it happen:
Ask for a meeting, “The agenda should not be to discuss your salary, otherwise he will dodge you because most companies have salary structures, and so if you are asking for a pay rise then you are asking to go a bit above the salary structure. So you need to put it in an intelligent manner that focuses on deliverables.”
3. Brownie points:
Start by discussing the success of the project you are working on or have just completed, “talk about the successes, failures and learning experiences you got to better ran the next project. This is to show you are looking for a future within the company.”
4. Go for the kill:
After sedating him with your contribution, like a skilled female hunter, Ogallo says, “tell him — ‘after looking at the contribution I have made within the organization, I am sure you will agree with me my salary should be not be five percent but 10 percent based on these factors’ — and then list the factors.”
5. Keep it professional:
Everything should be work-based. “Never go to your employer with a motive that sounds like he should be paying your bills. For instance, ‘I need to earn Sh200,000 because I have a mortgage.’ Tell him instead this is what you ought to be paid based on your contribution on this project or clients you bring.”
6. Know when to stop:
If it appears that the temperature is rising, drop the discussion. “Say — ‘because I want an amicable discussion, I would like you to think through this project I have just worked on and suggest what you think I should be earning’ — bring in the negotiation card do not let it turn ugly.
“Remember he is your boss. If it gets to a point that you are sure he is not going to budge, maybe that’s the time to look for another job. Start sending your CV to recruiters. Many people make the next move that way,” Ogallo advises.
At the job interview
Assuming it did not go well and you need to start looking for a job that pays you a figure commensurate with the work you put in. Gladys says “your next job is based on your current one so you have to do it well even if you are dissatisfied. No one will understand that you had lousy systems or an impossible boss. Go back to your job and continue working as if nothing ever happened, those are the people recruiters poach.”
Once you apply for a new job and get called for an interview, you have another opportunity to get the salary you desire. But how do you answer those dicey questions at the negotiating table?
Ruth Koshal is a Senior Officer for Africa with an NGO that deals with ending child marriage and has been in various negotiations. She answers some of these questions.
1. What are your salary expectations?
Koshal says “state the salary expectation linking it to the experience like being innovative, a strategic thinker, mentoring people etc. Basically, position yourself to show reason for asking that particular salary and how those skills can benefit the organization.”
If they make you an exciting offer. “Do not rush. There is nothing more painful than getting something and finding out later you could have gotten a better deal. The employer will be very happy to pay you what you quote because they have made a saving,” Ithau says.
“Remember once you have said something, it’s very difficult for you to start adding things. It is very unprofessional. So take time to respond and even then put it in writing. Because putting it in writing forces you to think it through it.”
2. What is your current or last salary?
“Honesty is very important when answering these questions because some organizations will ask to see your salary slip before signing the contract,” Koshal says. “Explain your roles and responsibilities in your previous job but by selling yourself not just listing them. Then go on expound why you warrant a salary equivalent with the position.”
3. What are your expectations of the benefits?
“The negations are not just about a figure but also the benefits, because if you include housing or transport, it could even be more than the money. This is where women have to do their homework,” Koshal says.
“Speak to someone in a similar organization to know the benefits package so you can ask for an equivalent or even a bit more because the most they can do is say no.”
4. Why would you want to work in this organization considering you might be paid less?
“Occasionally we apply for a position but we are getting more in our current position. It sounds counter-intuitive. The employer might want to hire you but because you are so expensive, they would rather let you go, so think win-win,” Koshal says.
Diana went through a similar experience. “During the interview, I told them the amount I was expecting, but when I went to get the contract, I realised it was not what I had asked for.
“Instead of getting annoyed, I took the contract and came back three days later. I actually carried the contract of my previous employer which had very good terms. Then I put it on the table and asked the interviewer to compare it with the current one.
“Then I detailed what I was bringing to the organization. After a bit of back-and-forth, they increased the initial amount and offered to pay school fees for my Masters programme.”
5. What is the salary range and seniority?
“In many organizations, if you are an associate, you get paid between a particular range, but there are other smaller ranges within. So understanding this range is key to moving towards the higher side of the range,” Koshal says.
“Convince them to give you a higher range by evoking the organization’s mission, vision and core value to show you are keen to be part of the organization and also the value you will add.”