Negotiating a pay rise can be a daunting prospect for many, even if you have spent years hard at work in your role. In fact, recent surveys show that 1 in 10 UK workers are afraid to ask for a pay rise and may potentially end up with a wage that is below what they are worth.
One key reason for this could be that we don’t know just how to go about negotiating pay and typically assume that employers will notice all the hard work we put in and automatically decide to increase our pay if we deserve it. Although that should really be the case, sometimes that doesn’t happen, causing you to miss out on a well-deserved pay rise.
But how do you know when the right time to ask for one is, and how exactly should you go about asking for one? This article will go through the essential dos and don’ts of asking for a pay rise.
Do – Get New Qualifications
One of the best ways to gain a pay rise can be improving your skillset. This can prove to your employer that you have more to offer.
By upskilling your resume with extra qualifications, you’ll show your employer that you’re actively increasing your knowledge and abilities. On top of that, you’ll also demonstrate your motivation to succeed and progress in your career. Upskilling can be one of the best ways to move up forward in your role.
Having extra qualifications under your belt can increase your worth not only to your current employer but also for any future roles you apply for. This can be a great advantage when negotiating a pay rise as your employer will want to keep you on their books and not see you picked up by a competitor.
What Qualifications Should I Get?
There are a wide variety of extra qualifications you can obtain both online or in class, and you can study around your working schedule. Many qualifications will help you get a pay rise as your employer may not want to employ someone else for specific roles if you have the skills already.
Sought-after qualifications you may want to consider are first aid, equality and diversity training, leadership and management and IT, as these apply to most jobs across industries. Alternatively, becoming qualified in a specialist area related to your role may also increase your value to your employer, putting you in line for a wage hike.
Do – Take time to understand your current worth
Before entering into negotiations, have a good idea of how much people in a similar role to you are earning. Consider the industry you are in, how much experience you have, and what qualifications you have under your belt to make an accurate comparison.
If you have a real-world example that you can point to, your employer may even offer to match that salary if they’re keen to keep you. This also demonstrates the research you have done into your value within your sector and gently reminds your employer that you could potentially be tempted to join a competitor who’s offering a higher wage.
What Will My Employer Think?
Being able to provide accurate sources for your research and proving how much others in your role typically earn also offers you the chance to offer objective arguments during your negotiation.
Whilst your employer could have a differing opinion on whether you should get a pay rise, providing statistical evidence on standard industry pay scales will strengthen your case.
Do – Plan Your Main Discussion Points
Before you hit send on that email to your boss, you need to plan out how your meeting is going to go. Prepare some thoughts and notes around these key areas:
When preparing for your negotiation, remember to always remain polite, confident and respectful during the negotiation. It’s also worth considering whether you’re willing to take a smaller pay rise ahead of time, in case your employer gives you a counter offer. Having ‘red line’ wage offers in mind will give you room to come up with a compromise you and your employer are happy with.
Don’t – Compare Your Achievements to Others
When you put your case forward for why you deserve a pay rise, try not to compare your own achievements with your colleagues’ accomplishments.
If another employee is paid more than you or is in a superior position, then stating how much more qualified you are than them might not help your cause. You are fully entitled to have your own opinion on your own worth, but ultimately the decision on how much others in the company should be paid is down to your employer.
Even if you think that other employees aren’t as qualified or hard-working as you, try your best not to discuss the employment of others, and instead focus on what you can bring to the company, not what others can’t.
Is It Risky To Mention Other Colleagues?
For lots of companies, having a positive working environment is essential, and therefore discussing others’ working abilities may imply that you are not a team player. It’s also important to remember that other team members may have more on their plate than you realise; it can often be difficult to truly understand another team member’s actual workload from an outside perspective.
Don’t – Undersell Yourself
Whether it’s a resume, personal statement or interview, some of us tend to feel bad if we brag too much about our own career highlights. This can then lead to us to ‘do down’ our achievements and not have the confidence to celebrate our big wins.
In preparation for your negotiation, have a few key examples you can refer to that focus on the positive things you’ve done for the company. Your employer will be able to view your successes objectively, so don’t worry too much about sounding vain, as you’re here to put forward the best version of yourself.
What If My Weaknesses Come Up?
If your employer brings up any of your weaknesses or losses, the most important thing is to be honest and face up to any shortcomings. Don’t forget that weaknesses or mistakes can also be framed positively.
Employers are also interested in how their employees overcome issues. Growth is a huge part of your career, so ensure that you realise the problems you may have encountered and how you overcame them.
Focus on what you would do differently in the future and how you have learned from your mistakes. This demonstrates personal growth and a willingness to learn, which will likely mean your employer sees your increased value as an employee.
Don’t – Forget to think about the company as a whole
Timing is everything when it comes to negotiating a pay rise, so make sure you don’t rush into it. Your manager will be considering how your pay rise will affect the company more generally, so make sure to ask at a time when the company is thriving. If there are financial issues in the business, it may be difficult for your employer to promise big raises at that time.
If the business is currently undergoing significant changes, this might also make it harder for your manager to commit to a raise, as there might be broader decisions around budgets that need to be worked out first.
What If I Want A Raise Now?
Ultimately, it’s down to you when you choose to ask for a raise. If you feel undervalued, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for a fair wage. But your best chance of success is to ask once the company is in a good position financially or has seen a significant boost in profits.
Are you keen to find out how you could gain new skills that could help you make a solid case for a big wage increase? Explore our wide range of courses that could help you get the right qualifications that could help your career options and boost your monthly pay packet!