While it's long been said that money can't buy happiness, it can definitely make life a little easier at times - anyone who's ever been on the wrong side of an overdraft will surely attest to that.
Sadly, science has yet to master the genetic engineering that would be needed to grow a money tree, and the average person’s income is still largely based on the daily grind of working life.
As such, it’s natural to want to earn as much as possible for our daily efforts.
If you feel you’re being underpaid, you’re probably hoping that a pay rise will be coming your way soon. However, this isn’t always guaranteed, and a gentle nudge in the right direction can sometimes make all the difference.
Here are a few tips on how to ask for a raise.
Do I Deserve a Pay Rise?
Talking about money can be an uncomfortable process for many, particularly when it comes to asking for a pay rise. Unfortunately, many business owners will use this fact to their advantage as a means of avoiding the discussion and therefore dodging the bullet of increasing your wages (and their monthly outgoings).
Many employers will be looking to get as much work out of their staff for as little as possible. While the job market is a competitive one, it’s important to know your own value; if you believe you’re contributing more than you’re being remunerated for, the onus is on you to speak up and make your point heard.
A good way to identify if you’re being underpaid is to check the pay scale of similar jobs in your area. If there is a notable discrepancy in pay for positions of similar responsibility, you may have a solid case for a pay increase.
Tips for Requesting a Pay Rise
Asking for a pay rise can be tough waters to navigate at the best of times, and going into that meeting unprepared is as good as not going in at all.
To give yourself the best chance of achieving a positive result, be sure to bear the following points in mind.
Make the request in person.
While it may seem obvious, asking for a pay rise is one endeavour that benefits greatly from being conducted in person, rather than over the phone or via email.
Emails can easily be ignored and phone calls can be cut short at the touch of a button. By contrast, it’s generally harder to turn down a request when it’s posed in person. Negotiation tactics undoubtedly work better face-to-face as well.
Written words can also be misconstrued and taken the wrong way without the context of verbal tone and delivery, while passion and enthusiasm are also far more apparent in person.
A lot can be achieved through physical interaction as opposed to digital or audio, and the intricacies of conversation in person can lead to a far more beneficial outcome for all parties.
Despite what Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gekko character said in Wall Street, greed isn’t good when it comes to asking for a pay rise.
Demanding an unrealistic figure or asking for a pay rise multiple times within a short period can be seen as unreasonable and may actively work against you when you're trying to secure a pay increase. What’s more, overvaluing yourself can immediately tarnish the credibility of your request.
That being said, the art of the deal is all about compromise: while you don’t want to price yourself out of contention, going in too low can leave you with nowhere to drop to.
Aim for a number a little higher than you ultimately expect to achieve. That way, you can always meet them halfway at a lower figure that is still agreeable to your needs and expectations.
Plead your case.
Your boss is unlikely to agree to a pay rise just because you want one. Prepare yourself for the inevitable question of “why should I?” by coming equipped with a list of accolades, achievements and prospective goals.
Remind them of your worth and how much you contribute to the company. Facts, figures and statistics to back it up can help provide measurable proof of your value to the company and further fight your cause.
Time it right.
Like most things in this world, timing really is everything when it comes to pay rise talks. As such, picking your moment carefully can have a big impact on success.
Strolling into your boss’s office when they are amid a whirlwind of stress and anxiety is not conducive to a positive outcome. Try to catch your boss when they aren’t busy and are in a good mood.
Managers are far more likely to listen to you and your requests when they are relaxed, free of distractions, and have the time to focus on what you're saying.
A performance review is typically the accepted time to broach the subject of pay, as your contributions are naturally going to be the primary subject at hand. However, that’s not to say you can’t ask for a meeting outside of these parameters.
If your work is being spotlighted as an area of success, this can be the present the perfect opportunity to strike while the iron is hot; e.g. upon completion of a project of which you were an integral part.
Similarly, a request for you to take on more responsibility can also be an opportune time to request a pay increase.
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