By WID Blogger Josephine Kent

Last Wednesday Women in Digital and our partner Diverse City Careers were honoured to host Matt Wallaert, Global Director for accelerator programs at Microsoft and founder of  A naturally charismatic speaker, Matt had the entire room enthralled by his words of wisdom as he delivered a talk highlighting the most common reasons behind people not earning a raise. A simple and succinct speech, Matt provided a series of facts and figures pertaining to employer-employee interaction, stipulating that, most often than not, people were not promoted simply because they did not ask.

Another interesting point that Mr. Wallaert made was the different way men and women typically approach the issue. Whilst men were more likely to provide work related reasons i.e. ‘I have done this and provided that’ women (as an estimable ‘whole) would in contrast approach the situation with emotional reasoning i.e. ‘getting a raise would help me/ my family in this way.’ [To clarify] this is a very broad statement as individual conduct is not accounted for and this generalization is merely intuitive of re-occurring behavioural patterns.

The most important piece of information I gathered that night was the necessitation of providing valid evidence to back your appeal. In the event you do ask for a raise, your ‘pitch’ should be supported by evidence that you are A) Worth more than what you are being paid  and B)  That people with similar skills and experience are being paid ‘ x’ amount more than you. This is a very straight forward, facts based way to reinforce and validate the reasons behind your request.

Additionally Mr. Wallaert reassured the audience that a company cannot and will not fire an employee for asking for a raise and that rumours of this were merely fictional tropes. Looking at the situation in an idealistic way, an employee will either receive the raise or be provided with the information needed to earn a raise in the future. In the event that an employer does not provide a viable answer for rejecting this request, an employee can do a number of things to rectify the situation for their personal gain.

Often a scape goat tactic, a company may use the excuse of ‘we simply cannot afford to.’ This hereby acknowledges the notion that you do indeed deserve to be paid more, and confirms only a fault of the company- that they cannot properly sustain you. A good way to use this situation to your advantage, Matt stated, is to either request to work less for the same amount you are already paid, or be given documented evidence that your raise will be enacted in the future, with a percentage added for each year it is denied i.e. interest.

A truly informative night, Matt finished his speech with a round of questions from the audience which ensued a rapid fire of responses. Filled to max capacity, this event was as successful as it was rewarding, with members no doubt leaving with a newfound confidence, and like me, a renewed need to assert one’s worth.

Check out  and to see if you’re being underpaid and what you can do about it. Additionally take a lot at Matt Wallaert’s personal site