The backdrop: After selling their personal finance site Thrive to Lending Tree in 2009, founders Matt Wallaert and Avi Karnani founded a new consultancy called Churnless. Then, in the first of what they deem their "passion projects", they decided to tackle the gender pay gap. The result? GetRaised, a site dedicated to helping people "get the right raise, the right way" by taking them through a process that helps them assess whether they are - in fact - underpaid, guides them through the development of a custom Raise Request letter addressed to their boss and provides tips on how best to deliver the request.
Average raise earned using their process (according to their site): $6,726. Cost of the service: $20 (with the stipulation that if you don't get a raise in 6 months, you get your money back).
Now I'd like to go on record saying that I believe we've debunked the 77 cents statistic as evidence of widespread gender wage discrimination (since the researchers who brought us that data point also tell us that all but 9 cents of the difference can be explained by non-discriminatory factors). The fact remains, however, that there are unexplained gender differences in pay - some part of which may well be linked to a reticence women appear to have about pay discussion and salary negotiation. A 2008 research study provides data confirming this, when it examined gender differences in willingness to ask for a raise:
•"I would never dream of asking": 11% of men, 20% of women agree
•"I would rather leave the company than ask": 3% of men, 4% of women agree
•"I would negotiate hard": 13% of men, 4% of women agree
With all of this in mind, I was intrigued by the article I read about GetRaised in Mashable. I got in touch with the group to learn a little more and had the chance for an interesting phone conversation with Matt Wallaert.
What I liked about about his story:
Through the GetRaised process, users are encouraged to present a logical, data-based business case for their raise request. This forces them to think beyond the "I want, I need, I deserve" mindset that some employees get trapped in. It asks them to consider the employer's perspective and situation, and to contemplate how they might grow and add value in ways that makes them worth more to the organization.
By offering coaching and tips, GetRaised helps make the raise discussion a less scary and less emotionally-charged one.
What concerns me:
The data that GetRaised offers to users to develop market comparisons is based on a "mashup" of Bureau of Labor Statistics data and open job postings. One word: Ugh. Matt confirmed in our conversation that they do not want to purchase data - they want to keep the service low cost so that they can continue to offer it at a low price. I get that, but...
Although Matt says that they consulted with 100 HR professionals as well as academics from leading universities in developing GetRaised, nobody on the team appears to have HR or compensation credentials themselves. This can be a positive, but also a negative.
I asked Matt if he had any advice or thoughts to share with us HR and compensation folks, based on the GetRaised experience to date. What he offered was essentially this: "People often ask for a raise in a very unscientific way. GetRaised is trying to help change that. But think about the employer's response; it is often appears to be just as unscientific to the employee."
Why share this with all of you? I think it behooves all of us to keep track of what's happening at the edges of our profession, particularly in an area as culturally and politically sensitive as this one. And I think GetRaised, with its flaws, has some interesting things going. There may be other similar sites and services out there, but I'm not aware of them.
What I'm interested in is your take. Share your thoughts!
Image courtesy of millionaireacts.com