After the weekend, some people will return to work refreshed and ready to get stuck into their job while many others will come back thinking: 'New week, new job.'
However, rather than actually hating their job, for many people money is the main motivating factor in looking for a new position elsewhere, so rather than go trawling through dozens of job boards it might be worth stopping to consider if you could actually get paid more in your current role – but how to ask for a pay rise?
For most, asking for more money is the kind of awkward, stressful situation that makes you feel like a naughty teenager begging for more pocket money. Research by Grad School Hub revealed that just 26 per cent of women would feel comfortable negotiating a raise, although interestingly the figure for men is much higher, at 40 per cent. However, the fact is that employers will rarely offer you pay increases ‘just because’ so it is up to you to be proactive and make a case for why you deserve it.
Initiating the conversation might seem daunting, so here are our five top tips on how to ask for a pay rise and get the salary you deserve:
1. Choose your moment. Catching your boss off guard isn’t a great approach, so we’re not advocating marching straight into his office and demanding a pay rise as soon as you read this article. Instead, try to keep things professional and book a meeting, ideally timed appropriately with your company’s review and appraisal process. Planning when to have the discussion will give you chance to prepare well, pick out something appropriate to wear and get your arguments straight in your head so you can handle things confidently and professionally without getting flustered, angry or resorting to just complaining.
2. Do your research. Talking about what we earn is still a bit of a taboo subject in the UK, so it can be difficult to know how what you earn compares to colleagues, friends or similar roles in other companies. If you can chat to trusted colleagues about it that is great, but if you’re not comfortable doing that there are resources you can use like job boards or specialist salary benchmarking sites that give you an invaluable insight into where you stand.
3. Show your worth. You can’t expect your boss to know every little thing you do, so take a bit of time to pull together a document showing your personal achievements. If you can include specific projects you’ve worked on, initiatives you have successfully implemented and any revenue figures or measurable results, it will all work in your favour to illustrate the value you bring to the company. Remember, you’re showcasing what you do positively and professionally, not whining about why it isn’t fair or moaning about money and other life issues.
4. Negotiate well. Have you ever heard of ZOPA? It stands for the ‘zone of possible agreement’, or in other words the middle ground that both you and your employer would be happy to settle on. You need to work out what salary range this covers, so think carefully about what figure you would settle for in advance. One powerful negotiation tactic that is often used in sales is to let the other party show their hand first, so if your boss makes the first move and names a figure, you know there could be a zone of possible agreement slightly above that amount.
5. Money isn’t everything. While most people will go into a review or appraisal hoping for a salary increase, what you are asking for really doesn’t need to be limited to just money. There is also a whole range of extras that could make a big difference to your work and life that could be more viable for employers, so consider whether things like bonuses, car allowance, travel season ticket loans, more flexibility in your working hours or even subsidised gym membership might be appropriate.
Thomas Drewry is the co-founder of Emolument.com, a leading salary benchmarking site. Emolument.com gives its users a unique tailored salary report against their industry, job function and even their graduate alumni. To benchmark your salary, go to emolument.com.