You’ve worked exceptionally hard through a challenging period of various lockdowns and economic disruption, been consistent in producing high quality work and delivering results, and now it’s time to have ‘that conversation’ about your salary expectations moving forward - and why shouldn’t you? Your hard work should be reflected in your salary.
While it might not have been the right time to ask for a pay rise in the last 18 months (depending on the industry you work in), businesses are now emerging out of this difficult period and looking to the future; in order for them to thrive, they are going to need the right people in the right roles.
To get the pay rise you deserve, you’re going to need to know your onions before raising the subject with your manager. ‘Because you want one’ or ‘because you haven’t had one for a while’ isn’t going to cut the mustard as a reasonable argument.
Despite the cost of living continuing to rise, UK professionals are not legally entitled to an annual pay rise; it’s up to the employer to decide and award pay rises and bonuses to employees when they see fit.
In our latest insights piece, we’ve broken down the process into 4 simple steps to guide you in the right direction.
Find out what you’re worth
The first step is to assess whether what you’re being paid is in line with the industry average for your role and location.
Platforms such as Glassdoor or job boards such as Indeed will give you an indication into what other employers are paying their staff. If you’re being short changed, you will already be in a great place to start negotiations.
When searching through job boards, take a look at other roles which you could transfer your skills across too as well - if you could increase your salary by transferring your skills across into a different sector, this might be an area which you could explore.
It’s also worth looking into whether there is a skills shortage in your area for the type of work you do - could they afford to lose you? Supply and demand could dictate your rate of pay.
A great way of discovering salaries is by signing up with a specialist recruitment agency like Spencer Clarke Group.
As Recruitment Consultants work day in and day out with this kind of thing, they will be able to accurately tell you what you’re worth (you never know, they might have your dream job sitting on their books just waiting for you to call!)
Establish what you bring to the table
Once you’ve established the average industry salary, it’s time to consider what you bring to the table which they might not be able to easily find elsewhere.
No one is indispensable but you can make a pretty compelling case as to why it would be in their best interest to give you a raise rather than them trying to recruit someone else (let’s not forget, the recruitment process is expensive and time consuming).
Take a look at your achievements and quantifiable results; perhaps you’re a top seller or you’ve won a prestigious award. What makes you stand out?
Think about what you’ve learnt during your time with the business; what skills and experience have you acquired which would be difficult to replace? Perhaps you have technical skills which are integral to the operation.
Consider where you rank in the grand scheme of things. Are you the brains of the operation? Do you bring innovative and exciting ideas to the table? Do you have great relationships with important clients? Or are you just an insignificant cog in a very big wheel?
Soft skills are also extremely important too. Are you a team player? Do you turn up on time? Work hard? Show dedication? If you’re a model employee, this will also stand in your favour.
Think about where the business is heading and how your role could contribute to the businesses overall goals moving forward. If they are expanding, how could your skills and experience benefit them during this growth period?
Ask for the pay rise
Once you’ve pinned down the reasons why you’re irreplaceable, you should pick a good time to broach the subject - remember timing is everything so pick your moment well.
A performance review or the end of the financial/calendar year is a good time to raise the subject as it is likely that they will be reassessing and forecasting budgets for the forthcoming year around this time.
If you’re 95% of the way into a project, it might be worth completing the remaining 5% so you can approach the meeting with a complete and successful project under your belt.
If you’re set on popping the question right away, schedule a face to face meeting with your boss to start the conversation. Try to avoid any typical stressful times such as the first thing on a Monday morning.
During the meeting, be calm and collected, stating your case professionally and constructively.
Summarise the success you’ve had with the business so far, explain the skills you have and discuss how you would like to grow with the business with a salary to reflect that.
The figure you’re hoping to attain must be reasonable and justifiable - you wouldn’t want to come across as greedy.
We wouldn’t recommend threatening to quit if they don’t meet your request as you could end up in a situation where they call your bluff.
It goes without saying that you would need to be prepared to search for alternative employment if your request is flat refused.
However, if you already have another employment offer in the bag, you could provide this information as a way of hurrying their decision along.
Present it in a courteous way such as you have been offered another opportunity but you would like to speak with them first to see if they are prepared to match or improve on the other offer.
Let’s not forget, recruiting another great member of their team is a job your manager could probably do without.
Don’t present it in a way such as ‘match it or I’m leaving’ as they will probably hold the door open for you as you leave. If you use this tactic, be prepared to take up the other career opportunity should it come to it.
What to do next
Depending on the size of the business, and who has to sign it off, it could take some time to hear back on their decision.
If you’re part of a larger organisation which works off pay grades, your request may have to be looked at by a pay review body to assess whether you qualify for the next pay grade.
It’s possible that your employer will meet you halfway or negotiate terms on how you can reach the full amount for which you have asked.
For example, they might propose that if you can deliver an XYZ project to XYZ standard within 6 months, you will qualify for the salary raise.
Just remember, if an upcoming pay rise is promised based on future performance, get it in writing from a senior member of the business - don’t settle for a verbal promise from your manager.
If your manager leaves the business before you are awarded the pay rise, you might become unstuck.
You must also be prepared to negotiate with incentives that aren’t cold hard cash. Company cars, gym memberships, health insurance and flexible working could also be used to lure you to stay.
Just remember that some benefits can be taxed so check the gov.uk website before you agree to anything.
If your request is refused, we would recommend that you ask for a valid reason as to why. This will help you to understand what you need to improve on or change in order to succeed in the future.
It could be the case that your manager doesn’t feel like you have the skills and experience to justify a raise; in situations like this, ask your manager to put you through the training which will give them what they are looking for.
If you feel like the refusal is completely unjustified with no real reason, it might be worth exploring other career opportunities.
At the end of the day, if they’re not prepared to pay you what you’re worth or help you grow professionally, it might not be the right company for you.
Your salary is a direct reflection on your value to the organisation; if you feel undervalued, how do you expect to be happy and thrive in your role?
Who is Spencer Clarke Group?
Formed in 2017, we're a multi-sector recruitment agency, specialising in a range of key disciplines within both the public and private sectors, offering permanent, temporary, contract and fixed term opportunities.
We currently specialise in 8 sectors:
Accountancy & Finance
Construction & Trades
Education & SEN
Health & Social Care
Interim & Executive
Technical & Engineering
How Spencer Clarke Group can help
If you work with a sector we specialise in and you’re trying to ascertain what you think you’re worth, why not search all the latest jobs available here?
Found a job you love? Apply directly through the website or send your CV directly to the Recruitment Consultant handling the vacancy. (You can see who this is on the job advert itself.)
Your Consultant will be keen to understand your salary expectations and they will also negotiate the best rates of pay for you.