With the new year upon us, many people around the UK will begin making their resolutions for the year ahead. For those with professional aspirations, top of that list will often be securing a pay rise.
Although talking money can be an awkward and uncomfortable process at times, it can be an extremely important and vital part of professional life - particularly when it comes being paid what you're worth.
That being said, identifying exactly how much you are worth isn't always a straightforward process. It's not unusual for employers to want to pay you as little as possible to maximise profits, so they aren't always going to be forthcoming if you are in fact being underpaid.
As such, it's important to be able to recognise this fact for yourself. Luckily, this blog aims to help you do exactly that.
Perhaps the easiest way of determining whether or not you are being underpaid what you or your position are worth is to simply have a scope around the jobs market and note the typical salaries on offer.
If you search for roles similar to your own, you'll soon be able to gain insight into what the going rate is for a position of your skill level and responsibility. However, it's worth remembering that this method isn't an exact science.
Chances are, there will likely be some form of a discrepancy between your duties and the standard roles listed on job boards and recruitment sites, particularly if you have been in your role for some time and have taken on additional responsibilities along the way.
If this is indeed the case, knowing whether or not you are being paid what you are worth isn't always straight-forward. Luckily, there's an easy way to help identify your eligibility and determine once and for all if you are due a raise…
Perhaps the most effective way to gauge whether or not you deserve a pay rise is to take a good hard look at yourself… by placing your own professional skills and personality under the microscope!
An honest and candid approach to appraising the man in the mirror is a fantastic way to uncovering the truth about where you stand in the company pecking order and whether or not you are being paid what's due.
To help you formulate your introspective self-assessment, here are four fundamental questions you may want to ask yourself before you head into your boss's office with an axe to grind and a cross to bear.
Are your skills indispensable?
Any worker that is a vital part of the overall machine and a key ingredient in the processes that make the company work can count themselves lucky.
If you hold a skill set that is unlike anyone else's, you have yourself a fundamental USP that is totally individual and specific to you as a person.
Whether you're a salesman with ironclad client relationships established through years of rapport or a creative with your own quirky style that cannot be easily replicated, such skills can be essential to company operations.
However, you don't need to be the best in your field to be seen as indispensable. As is often the case in the working world, experience is seen as a big plus point and tenure can also translate to indispensability.
As the old saying goes, you can't teach experience and anyone that has a storied history with the company and the insider knowledge that goes with it has themselves a solid argument. Long-standing tenure can provide abilities that cannot be taught.
Have your contributions made a difference?
Tangible contributions can be one of the strongest arguments in the arsenal of anyone looking to make a valid claim for a pay rise - particularly if they are backed by corresponding facts and figures.
If you have brought in substantial business and were the primary reason for such a deal getting finalised, you will likely have a large bargaining chip to play with.
For example, a salesman with a salary of £25k/annum that brings in £75k of sales will have theoretically paid for his salary three times over, which makes for a solid statistic when it comes to requesting a pay rise.
That being said, contributions don't always need to be measured in pounds and pennies. Your contributions could simply be your continued hard work and ability to help a project reach completion on time and above expectations.
Providing a consistently high level of output and performance can be the best contribution of all and is applicable to virtually any job and department.
Are you a positive influence on the company?
In addition to making positive contributions to the bottom line and the business as a whole, being a positive influence on others within the office environment can also be a big contributing factor to your company worth.
Office morale can have a big influence on overall performance and its widely believed that, as a rule, a happy worker is a productive worker. If you are in a position of managerial responsibility and maintain a positive work ethic and upbeat environment within your team, such an influence should be recognised.
While it may not be the overriding factor that swings it in your favour, being a positive influence on the team and those around you can be a great supplementary quality to reinforce your argument and support your case for a pay rise.
Are you a key part in the company's future plans?
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, determining whether or not you are a fundamental part of the machine going forward could be your most valid reason of all.
If your presence within the company is vital for the business to achieve its goals in the future, your value within the organisation should be rewarded with the appropriate remuneration.
For example, if the primary project of the year is to be spearheaded, managed or set up by you, it's fair to say that you are a pretty big part of the company's future plans. Highlight this importance to hammer home your worth and underline your standing in the company.
For more details on salaries and pay rises, why not check out our How to Ask for a Raise blog?
Similarly, you might also be interested in reading our blog on How to Get Promoted.