Ladies, it’s time to ask for a pay rise – follow these five steps

01 Oct 2019

Why don’t women ask?

In our experience, nine times out of ten, women don’t negotiate a job offer, while nine times out of ten men always do. Women don’t ask for a raise for a variety of reasons. The mindset tends to be, ‘They should recognise my hard work without me asking.’ Or, ‘I don’t want to come across as greedy’ or ‘I don’t think they have money anyway so why bother?’ Another reason is feeling uncomfortable talking about money so the mindset is to avoid having a confrontational, assertive conversation. While there are countless reasons, the bottom line is women are less likely to ask for a raise and/or a promotion. We absolutely need to change this mentality. Here are a few steps that women can take to feel more comfortable asking for a pay rise or promotion, and improve their chances of a positive outcome.

1. Show that you value yourself

Regardless if you’ve been in your current role for several years and you’re prepared to take the next step, or you’re switching to a new company and you want the pay jump to go with the move, building confidence is essential for career development – and your financial value. Sticking up for yourself, every step up the ladder, demonstrates to your employer that you’re serious about your career, assured in your talent, and you’re willing to put in the hard work to achieve success. Whether or not you get the raise is one thing, but the ask means you value yourself and your work, and that you are putting yourself first.

2. Prove your worth

You can’t just say, ‘I think I need to be paid more’. You need to show why, so start gathering information prior to meeting with your boss. This means bringing accolades from colleagues, clients, and/or journalists. Show numbers: If you managed a budget, how much did you save the company this year? Did you streamline a process that saved your company valuable time and money? Outline everything and prepare your talking points with proof points.

3. Try not to overthink it!

If your anxiety gets the better of you and dampens your courage, consider the hard truth: Men ask for a raise unapologetically, and women need to, too. Sometimes women overthink it, fearing they may come across as greedy or less likeable. Quieten those voices! It doesn’t look bad for you to ask for a raise. What is bad? For you to stay working for an employer that doesn’t value your contributions?

4. Don’t apologise!

Ever find yourself saying ‘sorry’ to a person who blatantly bumped into you? Or when you’re overly excited about something, you instantly feel like you’re being boastful or prideful? These are traits that women sometimes exercise when asking for a raise. Don’t be apologetic or explain away that you understand if they can’t give you more money, or say you feel bad asking. This is a business transaction; you provide a service and they pay for it. You shouldn’t be working for free, nor should your employer expect

5. Follow up

Ask when you should follow up, put a date on the calendar within the next two weeks to keep the conversation moving forward.

My advice is to separate how you value yourself and the role you are undertaking for your employer. Don’t take the outcome personally – the worst case is a no. Fear holds us back from getting what we want. If you are not being paid market rate, I say, ‘Girl up’ and go and ask. Don’t let the boys get it all!

For a more detailed insight and to download a copy of The Works Search’s Salary Guide, click here.

For more advice on salaries and bonuses, or if you think we can help you with a search for a high performing communications professional for your organisation, please get in touch with Sarah Leembruggen on 020 7903 9291 or email

Salary Survey 2018 - 2019