Do you deserve a pay rise?

If asked the question, most men will confidently say yes and assert why they deserve it and what they have achieved.  Most women, on the other hand, are often unsure and query if they are worthy or find it difficult to articulate their achievements because it sounds like boasting.

Why such a difference?  Donny Walford, Managing Director of national professional development and mentoring company Behind Closed Doors (BCD), says it is an inner confidence struggle that women need to get over to succeed.

“Women across Australia at all levels within an organisation report to us that they lack confidence in speaking about their achievements or themselves and are not likely to ask for a promotion or pay increase,” Ms Walford said.

“Most women don’t push themselves forward for pay rises or apply for higher positions if they feel they are not fully qualified or completely ready for more responsibilities, in stark contrast to men who regularly ‘give it a crack’.

“Research shows that women feel they need to fit the role perfectly before applying, whereas men are willing to put their hand up for a role where they only tick some of the boxes.”

A report prepared in November for the Business Council of Australia called Increasing the Number of Women in Senior Executive Positions reported that after decades of effort, only 10 per cent of key executives in ASX200 companies are female.

The report found that women lag, in terms of career prospects and remuneration, from day one on the job. As their careers progress, the gender equality gap widens, with men nine times more likely to reach senior executive ranks than women.

Ms Walford says the same is often true for women when it comes to Board roles.

“There are many reasons why women do not get invited to join Executive teams or Boards.  Women tend to think if they work hard and achieve that someone is going to tap them on the shoulder and promote them. In fact, often the opposite happens. They are not demonstrating an ability to network, position themselves and influence senior people which is necessary to go to the next levels of leadership.”

In addition, Ms Walford said women often won’t apply for leadership roles or Board directorships because they are worried about issues such as legal liabilities, their own financial credentials, Board accountability and not meeting the expectations of others.

“BCD members share information about a Director’s role and responsibilities, as well as targeted professional development in key areas of business to ensure they are ‘Executive and Board ready’.  This is encouraging more women to apply and compete for leadership roles and Board positions, with successful results,” she said.

“Women don’t need quota systems, they need to build the confidence to promote and position themselves with key influencers and compete for positions which will increase the number of women within the talent pool from which companies can choose the best candidate.”

Behind Closed Doors offers targeted executive, managerial and entrepreneurial programs focussed on building women’s capabilities to be much more self-aware and resilient in a range of leadership techniques while at the same time building sustainable connections with broader networks.

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