pay rise
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10 simple steps to help you get a pay rise

10 Jan 2017

After some bad years, things are finally looking up, so maybe it’s time to ask for that pay rise? Philip Charsley of Hays Recruitment will help you get one with these 10 simple steps.

In the years of recession, salaries were almost universally frozen, but things are starting to change. If you ask for a pay rise now, there’s a chance you might actually get one.

But asking for more money can still be nerve-racking, and your approach has to be right. Follow these steps to maximise the chances of getting the outcome you want.

1. Do you deserve a pay rise?

If you are expecting a higher pay for doing the same job, you need to be sure you deserve it. Consider the value you bring to your employer and why you merit an increased salary. What have you done since the last time your pay went up to warrant a pay rise? If you have brought in more business, taken on additional responsibilities, gained extra qualifications or done especially well on a particular project, you already have some evidence to present to your employer. Be specific and don’t just say the cost of living has gone up, or that you think you generally do a good job.

2. Do your research

Appreciate your worth on the market and what you could command if you walked into another job tomorrow. You can do that by looking at job adverts and researching online. That way, you can have a stronger case to put to your employer. Equally, research how pay rises are calculated in your organisation, perhaps by talking to your HR department, before you do anything else. You will also find a number of salary checkers and surveys available online.

3. Timing is everything

Choose your moment carefully. Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, for obvious reasons, are not the best times of the week. Clearly, don’t pick a time when your boss is in the middle of something big, or a problem has emerged in the office. Also, if you can time your request to coincide with a performance review or the company’s pay round, so much the better.

Don’t spring this on your boss – book a meeting with them for a time when you know you’ll have their full attention. In your calendar invite, detail what you would like to discuss so that they have time to prepare before the meeting.

4. Build a strong, well-presented business case

Remember: this is a business meeting, so you need to stay professional at all times. Use clear examples to show how you’ve gone above and beyond your basic job description and shown initiative. How have you improved the business or supported the wider team? Demonstrate where you have worked with different teams and highlight your relationships with key people. As ever, be specific throughout – that includes with the raise you want.

5. No strong emotions

Although you may have strong feelings, especially if you feel you have been unfairly treated compared to colleagues, keep emotions firmly out of it – as I said, this is a business meeting.

6. No ultimatums

Equally, don’t threaten to leave if you don’t get what you want, or mention any personal reasons for needing more money. This will lead your boss to question your commitment to the company and long-term career prospects.

7. Be prepared to negotiate

Be ready to negotiate, at length if necessary; and be clear yourself on how much you are willing to compromise, and why you deserve the higher salary.

8. Take your time

You don’t have to accept anything you are offered immediately. Take time to think about it and be sure you are happy.

9. Follow up with an email

Once the meeting is over, follow up with a clear, concise and accurate email, summing up the main points as discussed. That way, you have a written record and there is no room for confusion or misunderstanding.

10. Ready for responsibility?

Finally, if the pay rise means further responsibilities, be sure you are happy taking them on, and that you have the capacity and capability to do so. If you think you may need extra training, ask for it.

By Philip Charsley

Philip Charsley is the director of financial markets recruitment at Hays, working with top-tier investment banks, boutique corporate finance houses, stockbrokers, and private equity and venture capital firms.

A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.

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