Questions Men Vs Women Ask In Raise Negotiations

March 20, 2019  |  
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asking for a raise at work

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The first time I asked for a raise, I spoke to a lot of friends about it first. I’m a big fan of getting feedback, and collecting the opinions of several people with vastly different personalities and backgrounds (and, whom I trust). From there, I land on an answer that is sort of a median of everyone’s answers. I was surprised at how different the answers were between one person to the next when asking, “How much should I ask for?” or when asking, “How should I ask for a raise?” Honestly, the responses were dizzying. Money isn’t something like love or interpersonal relationships—those are things that I have a pretty good intuition about. In fact, intuition just doesn’t apply to finances. Finances are about facts. And boy did I collect a lot of overwhelming facts when asking my friends and family how to ask for a raise. One thing did strike me though: there were distinct patterns in the men’s versus women’s answers. Here are questions women versus men ask when negotiating a raise.

asking for a raise at work

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Men ask: What’s the most I can get?

Men tend to think big and ask, “What’s the absolute most I could possibly ask for?” They’re generally most comfortable taking the risk of going too high, assuming their employer will be open to negotiations. Men fear possibly leaving even one dollar on the table, so their first number is usually so high that, even if they had to go down a little, they’d still know they got a substantial raise.

asking for a raise at work

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Women ask: Will this make me sound cocky?

Women worry more about sounding cocky or greedy. They think about things like, “Well, will my employer wonder what I need all this money for?” They instantly put themselves in the shoes of their employer, wondering how they’ll look from their employer’s perspective for asking for this amount.

asking for a raise at work

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Men ask: What do I think I’m worth?

Men ask themselves, sort of in a vacuum, what they think they’re worth. Considering their experience, skill set, and education level, they come up with a figure that doesn’t take into account the finances of the company in question. It’s just about them.

asking for a raise at work

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Women ask: What am I worth to the company?

Women, again, put themselves in their employer’s shoes more. They ask themselves what they know about the company’s current financial situation. Have other people received raises recently, possibly putting the company in a financial bind? Have people been laid off? Women consider what they believe the company can afford, and ask for a number that comes close to representing that.

asking for a raise at work

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Men ask: Am I making enough to live lavishly?

I’ve found that men don’t feel any shame around admitting they’d like a lavish lifestyle. They don’t mind admitting that they’d like enough money to lease an impressive car and live in a luxury apartment. They believe they’re entitled to such things, and are within their rights to ask for a salary that would help them afford such things.

asking for a raise at work

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Women ask: Am I making enough to live decently?

Women don’t seem to think it’s their employer’s responsibility to provide them with enough money to live a nice lifestyle. While, ironically, who else’s responsibility would it be? That’s where the money flows from, after all. But women are more likely to just ask for enough money to cover their basic expenses, while still putting away a little towards retirement each month.

asking for a raise at work

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Men ask: What does my friend in the same profession make?

In speaking to friends and family, I noticed a lot of men would ask me if I know anyone else who has a similar job to mine, and what that person makes. They suggested I bring these figures up in raise negotiations.

asking for a raise at work

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Women ask: What do my peers at this company make?

Women tend to just think within the company. They don’t ask what someone at another company, in a similar position, is making. They just ask what someone in a similar position at this company is making.

asking for a raise at work

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Men ask: Has it been a few years?

Men will ask for a raise as soon as it’s even somewhat appropriate to do so. Many men I spoke to won’t let three years go by without asking for a raise.

asking for a raise at work

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Women ask: Has it been more than enough time?

Women will wait so long to ask for a raise that when they tell outsiders how long they’ve waited, jaws drop. Women tend to wait so long that there’s no question as to whether or not they’re due for a raise—they’re overdue.

asking for a raise at work

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Men ask: Don’t they want to keep me?

Men tend to go into raise negotiations thinking, “This company wants to keep me, right? So they’ll do what it takes to keep me.” That’s part of what gives them the confidence to ask for very high numbers.

asking for a raise at work

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Women ask: Will I lose my job?

I noticed women are more prone to bring up this concern: will you lose your job, by asking for a raise? It is a silly concept, since the company always has the right to just say, “No.” Most companies have an understanding that employees will ask for raises eventually, simply to keep up with the rate of inflation. But women often fear that simply asking for one could get them fired.

asking for a raise at work

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Men ask: What aren’t they telling me?

Men go into raise negotiations with a poker face, assuming their employer is withholding information. They don’t take everything they hear at face value. They do their research, to detect any misinformation they’re given.

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Women ask: Is there anything else I should say?

Women don’t go into raise negotiations ready to pick apart everything their employer says to them. They go in, rather, afraid everything they say will be picked apart.

asking for a raise at work

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Men come in hot; women can come in soft

In general, men have a tendency to come in a little hot with raise negotiations. They don’t display as much fear around asking for a high number as women do and they have a very me-centric way of calculating that number. Women, for better or for worse, put themselves in everyone else’s shoes before asking for a number, and can come in too soft.

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