During the current cost of living crisis, there are very few people who aren’t anticipating a drop in disposable income as the cost of energy bills, petrol and everyday grocery items continue to rise.
As a result of this, many workers may be considering asking their employers for a pay review or salary increase, in order to combat the hit to their personal finances. But how should they go about doing so?
Below, Catherine Witts, HR Lead at subscription-based learning platform StaySharp, outlines guidance for anyone currently preparing to tackle the notoriously tricky topic of a pay rise with their manager, as well as behaviours to avoid:
Ensure you are asking for a pay rise for the right reasons
It can be all too tempting at times to confuse ‘wanting’ a pay rise with actually earning or deserving one.
Friends or family members are all too happy to share their promotions and career successes on social media platforms or LinkedIn profiles, and this can cause some unwanted feelings of jealousy or even resentment that you are falling behind in your own job path.
Other individuals may wrongly feel that they are entitled to a pay rise on an annual basis, or that working in a role for a certain number of years should automatically equate to incremental pay rises, regardless of this being a reflection on performance or increased job skills.
However, none of these reasons justify asking for a pay rise in themselves. The most successful employee pay rise requests are going to be given to those who can successfully highlight to their managers that they have gone above and beyond their current job role requirements, in a way that makes them invaluable to an organisation.
Research the job market
While it is a gamble to admit to your boss or line manager that you’ve been actively looking at the salaries and pay bands of jobs similar to yours across other companies, this can work in your favour if you can use evidence to prove that you are being significantly underpaid for your current duties and responsibilities.
As well as looking further afield, you are also perfectly within your rights to enquire with colleagues working in the same or similar level roles to you about what they are earning, in order to stay as transparent and open regarding the topic of pay. They have every right to refuse to share this information with you of course, but it’s good for gaining an understanding of the salary bands being offered within the company when it comes to negotiating your own pay rise.
That being said, it’s also vitally important to be aware of the differences between fair pay rises and pay discrimination within an organisation. If you feel in any way that your salary is lower than a colleagues due to your gender, race, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion, then you should seek advice and support from elsewhere before pursuing your pay rise request.
Be willing to highlight your work achievements
While very few people are comfortable with the notion of bragging or talking themselves up in a corporate setting, it can be an integral part of securing a pay rise. Highlighting how your unique talent and skills have contributed to various accomplishments and wins for your company is key.
It’s also important at this point to consider the desired outcomes of your request; are you hoping for a pay rise to continue working within your current role, or are you looking to take the next step and secure a promotion.
If the latter is true for you, it’s worth demonstrating to your superiors how you have already undertaken certain aspects of the role you hope to progress to e.g. with regards to people management, managing budgets, time management skills and multi-tasking / organisational processes.
Preparation is key when asking for a pay rise
As the saying goes, failing to prepare means you’re preparing to fail, so it’s imperative that you gather as much proof behind your reasons for requesting a pay rise as possible ahead of the scheduled meeting with your line manager to discuss the matter.
Before you meet face-to-face or via video call, consider sending them an email highlighting all of the reasons you believe you are entitled to a pay rise. Addressing the reasoning behind your pay rise request via email first will give them adequate time ahead of speaking with you to digest each point and assess their own feedback on points made.
If you are prone to getting flustered or nervous in situations as understandably uncomfortable as asking for a pay rise, it’s also worth jotting down some notes and bullet points to take with you to the meeting, in order to stay on track and avoid becoming overly emotional or distracted from the task at hand.
Don’t assume you will get what you want
There is always the risk that your request for a pay rise will be refused, and in this case, it’s perfectly reasonable to feel disappointed or even upset. However, do not let emotions get the better of you and threaten to leave or stop working as hard, should the decision not be in your favour.
Instead, take the opportunity to ask for feedback on why you’ve been denied a pay rise, and ask for actionable points on what you can work on over the coming months to improve your chances of securing a salary increase during your next performance review.
For those working in the HR, Accountancy, and Finance industries, StaySharp offers full-time workers the chance to study accredited professional qualifications in their own time and on their own schedule, with courses offered from the CIPD, ACCA and AAT.
Personal development through such courses can not only increase your chances of pay rises within a current role, but will also increase your hireability and appeal when the time comes to apply for more senior positions further in your career.
You may also be interested in how the UK workers are doing when negotiating better pay with cost of living crisis