August 7 was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day — or the symbolic day that the average black woman reached pay equity with white men in the US this year — and Refinery29 ran a great piece on how three women discovered they were underpaid, and what they did about it.
It’s filled with solid advice for learning your worth and asking for more (one important takeaway — you’re boss cannot prohibit you from discussing your salary with coworkers, no matter what they say), but I especially liked this pointer from Nela Richardson, the Chief Economist at Redfin:
Don’t say, I want $10,000 more. Say, I want $10,000 more — and I’m worth it because of these six reasons. The more you can quantify your value, the easier it is for someone who’s making that decision to accept the reasoning.
That means evaluating what makes you the best fit for a role, or what value you bring to the company that no one else can. And rather than wait until you have a job offer or the day before your annual review to start thinking about these things, start now. Even if you aren’t actively job searching.
Consider: What do you do that adds value? How are you irreplaceable? Write them down, and then add examples from your work life, in real time, as they occur. Then you have something to bring with you, or you might even be encouraged to ask for a raise before you intended to. Do the work now.
Another good tip from Richardson: Know how you can progress at your company before you accept an offer. Sure, the starting salary might seem generous, but if there’s no room to move up, how will you make more in the years to come? She says:
In the last five minutes of your interview, ask: How do people advance here? What does the career ladder look like? Where can I expect to be in three years, in four years at this company? How does that compare to other companies in the same space? Good employers expect employees to want to advance their career at their companies. I think those are very fair question to ask.
If there’s no room for growth — in terms of salary, title, responsibility and so on — are you sure you want that job? You might just realise you’re worth more than that.