By Women in Secured Finance Committee Members

Q: What are some effective ways to approach management regarding the sensitive topic of compensation, particularly as it relates to peers in the same role, and also within the current overall market?

As much as I advocate the “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” policy, I also believe that timing is everything.  Before approaching, do your research.  What are your peers earning and does the job title actually reflect the role you have with the same authorities/responsibilities? How long have you been in the role and what has been happening to your business since the pandemic?

If your business had to close down for some time, staff furloughed, clients lost or revenue has dropped significantly then ask yourself: is this the right time for your business to be raising their salary costs and can they afford to do so?  It has been a tough time for many businesses, so bear this in mind.

If you are working for a large organization where they have not been affected, then arrange a good time that suits your manager and give them the heads up that you are looking to discuss compensation.  Prepare notes to back up your reasoning with good examples, however, without sounding obvious, never mention individuals’ salary in an organization or use other job offers as a threat, especially if it doesn’t exist.  A good open and honest conversation works wonders.

- Sue Duckett
Franklin Capital Network

I did my research to find pay ranges for someone in my general position, with the same years’ experience, in my geographic location.  I’m the only one in my position in our company so I had to rely exclusively on external data.   I asked my manager for an amount on the high end of the range, reiterated how much I like my work and like being on his team, then I stopped talking.  He processed the information, let me know he had to check with the president, and about a week later got very close to the amount I requested.  After bonuses, I was actually above the requested amount, plus I got merit increases the following years too.  To summarize: research thoroughly, request clearly, wait for response.

- Anonymous

Do some research to see what an average salary would look like for the particular role and market. You can easily google the role title, search LinkedIn, etc. While a google search doesn’t always yield accurate results, it gives a good starting point.  I would also say you should know your self-worth and have confidence in yourself. I wouldn’t compare yourself to your peers in the same role; everyone is at different experience levels and goals.  You need to approach management with facts; use your research and give examples of your own personal accomplishments. Never be afraid to speak your mind and boast about yourself. A good leader will always support and lift up their employees!

Natalie Lewis
Wells Fargo Commercial Capital