• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

May 16, 2013

Leveling the Paying Field


Photo Credit: Bettman/Corbis

Special Offer


The best way to fight back against the wage gap? Make sure you're paid what you deserve. M.J. Tocci, director of Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz Negotiation Academy for Women, and Evelyn Murphy and Annie Houle at The WAGE Project, a nonprofit that offers negotiation workshops for women, give their step-by-step process.


You can use an online salary calculator as a starting point—try salary.com or glassdoor.com —but for a real sense of what your paycheck should look like, take a few trusted non-coworker mentors or former managers (both men and women) to coffee. Say, "I'm thinking about requesting a raise for X job. In your experience, what's the appropriate salary range for this position?"


Managers can only work with a certain amount of money during annual review cycles. If you're asking for a small raise—anything less than $5,000—request it then. If you're asking for a larger amount, strategize your timing: Schedule a meeting off-cycle and after you've scored a big office win, like bringing in a new account or a game-changing grant. Frame it as a discussion about your work: "I'm excited about what my team has done this quarter, and I want to take this opportunity to talk about my career development and my future here at the company."


Role-play your salary conversation with a trusted friend, partner, or family member. Tell the other person exactly what you're most afraid of hearing—"You don't deserve that salary" or "Why do you think we'd give you that?" The more you're able to practice responding directly to your fears, the less anxious you'll be before the big meeting.

Go into the meeting with two numbers in mind: a high target (your ideal salary) and a low (your walk-away number). Mentally prioritize a list of other benefits to request—your title, vacation time, stock options, retirement packages, and whether you have an office or a cubicle.


Start with a well-rehearsed five-minute pitch. Include your accomplishments and the benefits you've brought to the company; what you're paid now; and what your salary range should be, according to your well-sourced research. Let them give you a number first. (If you must throw out a number, offer your high target.) Don't use wishy-washy language, like "I really believe I deserve this" or "I know I'm not an expert, but …" Once you have an offer, ask for 24 to 48 hours to think about it. If they can't give you what you deserve, say, "I understand, but I'd like to come back in six months and ask again. What do I need to do to make that possible?"

Connect with Marie Claire:
daily giveaway
Go to the Beach

Go to the Beach

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From Career and Money Tips
Why You Didn't Get The Job

BuzzFeed's Senior People Manager, Erica Bromberg, shares what makes even the most qualified applicants get passed over.

How To Completely Change Your Career

Fox News's Lea Gabrielle went from a 12-year career in the United States Navy to serving as an correspondent for Fox News. We found out how she did it—and how you can make a career change too.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.