How to Get Paid What You’re Really Worth: An Equal Pay Day Guide from Ellevate Network

The more you know about Equal Pay, the more likely you are to get it.

At Ellevate Network, we believe that true gender equality is not just about wearing red and sharing a hashtag. It’s about women getting paid what they’re worth (and having more women in leadership, politics, the media, etc.). And it starts with you investing in your own success.

And because we are committed to providing you with the resources you need to succeed in work and in life, we’re going to be very explicit here and break down exactly how you can ask for and receive the raise you deserve.

After all, 77% of mid-career professionals from Ellevate got a raise when we last asked. We’re doing something right.

Educate yourself.

There’s so much information out there about the gender pay gap.
Some people claim that it’s not real based on some weird ideas that women choose lower paying jobs, have less ambition, or don’t face other barriers to staying engaged in the workforce. We know these things aren’t true according to a bunch of research including this, this, and this.

To be totally transparent, here are a few stats: In 2015, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The wage gap for black and hispanic women is even wider: black women make 64% of what men earn and hispanic women make 62%. It will take 44 years — or until 2059 — for women to finally reach pay parity. And women are penalized more than men when initiating salary negotiations.

Research your worth.

Take a look at Glassdoor,FairyGodBoss, and PayScale. Make sure that you do your research on your current role, the role you want, benefits (flexwork, time off, retirement, health insurance, etc.) and bonuses, and geography.

Understand that more often than not, your salary is based on how well you negotiate and how you prove your worth to the company. You may have superior skills, more experience, been at the company longer than others. But understand that the presence of these things does not necessarily mean that you are making more money. Just because you deserve it doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. The only way you will get what you deserve is to negotiate it.

Practice advocating for yourself every day so when the time comes to negotiate your salary, it will be more natural and you’ll be more comfortable the day of.

Talk to your community.

No one takes big risks without having bounced the idea(s) off of a few trusted people. OK, some people do, but that’s not likely you. Women are notorious for sharing details about their sex lives but not their money. There should be open communication about money because how else will you get feedback and figure out how to make more? Find the people you can trust, and talk to them about your career and the money you’re making very honestly and without shame.

Don’t currently have enough of these people? We got you.

Touch base with your mentor/ sponsor
The research shows that professional success and reaching leadership positions is significantly affected by whether or not you have a senior person in your corner. We don’t need to tell you all the details as to why, but if you don’t have one of these by now you need to get one. Ask him or her about their career path, how your specific skills can be used at your current job and/or elsewhere, and what they think about your current salary, title, and work. Strategize about how you can reach your professional goals.

Don’t have a mentor? Here are a few resources, and some more. Oh, and you can meet one through Ellevate.

Practice your negotiation skills.

Everything is negotiable. The more you practice, the better you’ll be (Kind of like exercise or cooking or any skill worth having, amirite? Just put in the time).

There are so many resources on this. Here are a few from Ellevate.

Believe in yourself.

So often we put off the good things in our lives because we’re so used to doing the same thing all the time. You need to make sure that your habits contribute to your confidence. Remember this will likely take you out of your comfort zone, but that’s a good thing. Here’s how to invest in yourself, every damn day.


There is no way you will get a raise if you’re half-assing your job. If you find that you’re doing this on the regular, or it’s normal for you to hate what you’re doing at work every day, you need to reassess your priorities. This might not be the place for you. It might not be the job for you. And you deserve that, so give yourself an opportunity to figure out what situation will make you feel passionate and engaged every day when you’re working.

Keep track of things all year.

People keep track of their accomplishments in many different ways. You can keep a journal, log it in your calendar, share with your team at the end of every week, or use an app. Keeping track on a regular basis makes it much easier to present the evidence when the promotion time comes.

At Ellevate Network, we believe that you should be paid what you’re worth. We want you to live a life you’re proud of and when you do, share it with the world so your community can benefit.

We’re discounting membership all week (use code “EqualPay2017” for 22% off) to recognize Equal Pay Day and acknowledge your journey to professional success. Because no one is going to do it for you, but we can help you figure this stuff out, and give you a community to lean on and learn from.

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A community of professional women committed to helping each other succeed.

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