Men almost twice as likely to ask for a pay rise, as half of female workers admit never asking for one

  • Men have asked for a pay rise 3.1 times in their careers on average, compared to fewer than 2 times (1.8) among women
  • Even when they do ask, over a quarter of women say their requests have always been rejected
  • Those who do get a pay rise can expect an average of £1,675 extra, compared to £1,964 for men
  • Fear of confrontation and lack of confidence are biggest barriers preventing women from asking
  • Dr Catherine Baudino, executive coach and mentor to senior professionals, gives her top tips to help women command a better salary in the workplace

Men are almost twice as likely as women to ask for a pay rise.

A working man will take bosses to one side to ask for better renumeration an average of 3.1 times in their career, compared to fewer than 2 times (1.8) for women.

In fact, half (50%) of women say they have never asked for more money.

Even women who do ask are less successful than their male counterparts, with the survey of over 1,000 women and 1,000 men showing over a quarter (27%) of women had their requests rejected every time.

And when women are successful in their bid to earn more, they can expect an average increase of just £1,675, compared to £1,964 for men.

The figures come from research carried out for Dr Catherine Baudino, an executive coach who helps senior professionals, and found the biggest barriers to women asking are the fear of confrontation (38%) and a lack of confidence (36%).

Three in ten (29%) also say they simply don’t know how to ask for more money.

As part of the research women also shared written testimonies of their experiences asking for pay rises:

  • “I was at a higher level than a male in my team but on less money. I was pretty much told I had to suck it up till annual reviews and then there still may not be enough of a ‘pot’ for me.”
  • “In a male dominated senior management environment, when I asked for a pay rise was told no and was told if I didn’t like it to look for another job, which I did (a £6k higher salary). I handed my notice in then suddenly they matched the salary…I still left the business!”
  • “I’ve been made aware that males doing the same job as me are on more money. I’ve discussed this with my line manager, but she’s reluctant to take it further as she is new to post.”
  • “When I asked for enhanced maternity pay, they treated me like I was asking for pocket money”
  • “I was told that I took too long on the phone because I chat “like a sweety wife” yet a male counterpart was given a promotion due to good communication and networking.” 
  • “I was once told that a male colleague had to get more because he ‘had a family to support ‘ I was a single parent at the time.”
  • “I have never asked for one of fear of rejection.”

One in seven (14%) thinks being in a less male dominated workplace would help them feel more able to ask for a pay rise in the first instance.

But over a third (36%) of those polled think one of the root causes is that women aren’t taught to ask for what they want in the workplace.

Executive coach, Dr Catherine Baudino, whose new book ‘Stepping Into My Shoes’ recounts her fascinating career, says: “We know that not all work places have fully embraced the idea of equality and there are times women will need to put up a fight to get what they deserve.

“Unfortunately, many women simply haven’t been taught to ask and in this world, if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.

Dr Catherine has developed these tips to help women command more money in the workplace:

  1. First and foremost, and even if you do nothing else, rid yourself of any emotions relating to your request
  2. Realise you have nothing to lose – what is the worst that can happen? The boss says “No”. There’s no need fretting about what might happen, concentrate on what you can control – namely, the delivery of your message
  3. List the reasons that justify your request:
  4. Your length of tenure
  5. The breadth of your responsibility
  6. Your successes
  7. What your competitors are earning
  8. Your ambitions for the company
  1. Decide on the best time and place to ask
  2. Practice delivering your request. Ensure it is rational, and logical. Practice and practice again to yourself in front of the mirror and, if possible, in front of a trusted friend or coach.
  3. And if you are still unsure, remember your boss may not be aware that you feel underpaid, unless you tell them.
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