- Ashley Morgan, a career coach, left corporate America to help women earn more.
- She said women should be asking for raises early and often, with data to prove their value.
- They should also check their accomplishments monthly, quarterly, and annually to better position themselves.
- This article is part of Women of Means, a series about women taking charge of their finances.
When it comes to getting a raise, the mindset and career coach Ashley Morgan is adamant.
"Ask early and often," she said. "Don't wait for the annual review cycle. Be proactive. You want to ask before the review because in the review process the manager has likely already been given a budget for raises. This will make it harder for you to negotiate."
At 25, Morgan was managing a $150 million business unit and a team of 100. "I had a reputation, so people started coming to me asking for insight on how to find jobs, how to get promoted," she told Insider. "Back in the mid-2000s, it was not common to see such a young Black woman in my position."
When the staffing industry was hit hard in 2020, she was laid off from her six-figure role as director and assistant vice president at Robert Half, a Fortune 500 staffing firm. After 16 years in corporate America, Morgan weighed whether to seek another corporate position or to plant a flag as an entrepreneur. "I went the entrepreneurial route," she said. "I felt the work I was called to do was bigger than corporate. I took a leap of faith."
Now 36, Morgan coaches women on how to get the pay they deserve. A January survey from Glassdoor found that employed women were 19% less likely to ask for more money in the next year than men. Only 48% of employed women surveyed, compared with 59% of employed men, plan to ask for a pay raise, bonus or cost-of-living increase in the next 12 months. During the pandemic, 73% of employed women polled haven't asked for a pay raise, compared with 58% of employed men.
If you want to keep your salary moving upward, Morgan has some strategies that should top your to-do list throughout the year.
Monthly: Keep your boss in the loop
Morgan said you should send your boss a list of three major initiatives you've been working on monthly, without fail, detailing what you did on each and the impact of your actions on the company. Don't be shy.
"Your boss is busy," Morgan said. "It's up to you to be proactive to keep your achievements as part of an ongoing dialogue. You show what you did and ask what else you should put on the list for next month."
All this is fodder for conversations that can mean more money. "Not only does the data give you ammunition," she said, "but it also makes you more connected to your boss, and you don't blindside them with a request for a raise. When a boss is taken by surprise, they can respond defensively."
Quarterly: Address any weak spots
Morgan is also big on getting in touch with the intangibles, like your mindset. "Check in on how you're thinking and feeling about money. What do you believe about money? Are you feeling confident about asking for a raise?" she asked. If you detect any discomfort, figure out what's at the heart of the issue. Address any weak spots that could get in the way of feeling as if you 100% deserve more money.
"People can get tripped up with articulating their value. They aren't sure how to put what they do into words that matter," Morgan said. "It's easier when you can say you got $3 million in sales. But what if you're in a position where you're not directly driving revenue? You frame it around how you save the company money and time: 'In the last six months, I helped the company save X,' or, 'I lead initiatives that had X outcomes.' You have to find a way to articulate your value."
To help with this, use your monthly lists to maintain a document that's a bit of a brag sheet. Update it quarterly with your accomplishments. "This helps you build the case for when you're ready to discuss salary," Morgan said.
Every six to 12 months: Do market research on your role
Know your worth. Research what your position and skill set earns in the market. Take into account factors like years of experience, geographical area, and length of time with your employer — institutional knowledge counts if you've been there a long time. To do this, Morgan recommended using resources like Glassdoor and the ADP Research Institute.
Plus, it doesn't hurt to play the field. Meet with recruiters. "You might find an opportunity better than you have now," Morgan said. It will also give you a sense of what your skill set is worth.
Part of the reason for the Great Resignation is that people leaving one job can often get a 10% to 20% salary increase with their new employer, Morgan pointed out. Weigh whether you want to stay where you are for what might be a 3% to 5% increase.
Always prepare to ask for a raise
"The worst thing you can do is go into the meeting unprepared, not knowing numbers, not making specific requests, and not having the data to back you up," Morgan said.
You also don't want to wait until you are feeling emotional about a raise and go into the meeting upset or confrontational. "Your boss will want to retreat versus having a collaborative conversation," Morgan said. "It's different if the meeting is one where you come up with a plan together. It shouldn't be you versus your boss."
Being proactive is a must. "If you just go with the flow and trust things will work out, that laissez-faire attitude abdicates your power," Morgan said. "You let external factors determine your destiny, instead of creating the flow. You want the world to respond to you, not the other way around."