Is it career suicide to ask for a pay rise in the current economic climate?
Imagine the scene – you’ve worked with the same company for a good few years and over the last two years you’ve had nothing by way of a pay increase, not even the cost of living. With margins being squeezed from all sides how do you ask for a pay rise? When it comes to asking for a pay rise, even the most confident people can suffer a crisis of confidence.
Imagine your boss saying, “I’m sorry, but the business just isn’t in a position to increase your salary.” All that tension, all those sleepless nights will be lost in a moment if you haven’t prepared your case. Think of the conversation like a job interview - you need to sell yourself to your boss all over again.
Businessballs.com makes a very good point on its website and mentions how it is important to recognise the difference between the value of the role that you perform and your value as an individual. The two are not the same. A maximum salary level is probably allocated to your role; you may already be earning this, and no matter what you do you’ll never get paid any more (aside from cost of living). Your ‘potential earnings’ could be much higher but you will never achieve this by staying in the same position.
We are all aware that salary levels are largely dictated by market forces and the contribution that you, the employee, make to company performance. In this uncertain market I would advise that you focus on proving your value to the employer if you want to negotiate a pay rise.
Here are top five tips to help you with your salary negotiations:
1. Prove your worth - show how the work you’ve done in the last year has had a positive impact on the company. Justify why you deserve a pay rise – has your job grown with additional responsibilities, do you have a larger team to manage? If your role carries the ability to make a financial difference, you need to highlight the costs saved or extra profit or revenue earned from your efforts.
2. Research what other jobs are out there - do they pay more or less than you’re currently paid? Show examples of jobs that are similar to yours but pay more. It is important to remember that salary ranges advertised by recruitment consultancies can often be inflated to attract more candidates, so be sure to check other sources available to you – from salary surveys to jobs advertised on employer websites.
3. Look at the company’s profits - if it’s been a bumper year, with senior managers receiving hefty bonuses, argue that you deserve a share of the profits too. Check out shareholder activity - are they getting healthy handouts? If they are, then you can argue that you should too.
4. Refer to any qualifications that your employer may not be aware that you possess - employee qualifications often increase the competitive strength and/or customer accreditations of a supplier organization.
5. Take a risk and suggest that firms that pay more than market average tend to secure the services and loyalty of the best people available.
It is important to keep positive and constructive, and not to be greedy, aggressive, over-emotional or ‘wishy-washy’ in your request. You need to consider many external factors which may affect your salary negotiation including the rate of inflation and the actual budget your firm has for pay rises.
The most important thing to remember is that your employer will only ever give you a pay rise if there is a clear, commercial reason to do so. I work as the marketing manager for www.simplyhrjobs.co.uk and www.simplylawjobs.com, so please take a look at what our job boards can offer you.