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.


Pay rise handshake


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.


Be realistic.

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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Workplace diversity

If you happen to work in HR, diversity in the workplace is probably a very familiar topic. It’s a legal obligation that’s seen growing visibility over the last two decades.

However, diversity isn’t just a matter for Human Resources. Diversity in the workplace has a profound influence on every part of the working process, from social interaction to quality of work.

A diverse workforce can provide better results in terms of creativity, problem-solving and decision-making, generally resulting in a more productive environment all round. After all, a toolbox full of hammers won’t do much good when it comes to changing a light bulb.


Diversity Hiring Laws

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination in the workplace, theoretically providing a basis that ensures nobody’s personal background or characteristics affect their right to work.

However, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), “an effective diversity and inclusion strategy goes beyond legal compliance”, and appropriate steps must be taken to ensure a varied working environment.

As such, knowing how to hire more diverse employees while staying safely within the boundaries of diversity hiring laws is a must for any company. Failure to do so could land your business in hot water.

Luckily, we’ve got a few helpful suggestions that will allow you to broaden your field of applicants instantly, helping you achieve a multicultural, multi-talented workforce across the age spectrum.


How to Hire More Diverse Employees

While specifically targeting a particular group can lead to accusations of discrimination, ensuring that your recruitment strategy is free from any involuntary prejudice can be a fantastic way to fairly and efficiently level the playing field for everyone.

Here are three effective diversity recruiting strategies that will help you to achieve a balanced response from all manner of candidates, ensuring your field of applicants is as diverse as possible.


Requested Info

Whether you consciously realise it or not, the information you collect via job application forms can have a dramatic effect on your perception of each applicant.

Information such as gender and nationality can subconsciously affect your expectations of a candidate and influence your response accordingly. Even names can trigger such biases; anonymous job applications have gained a lot of of traction in recent years as a means of eradicating this issue.

While this may seem a little extreme, there are simple steps that can be taken that garner similar results. To nip this issue in the bud, simply avoid asking for information such as gender, date of birth and nationality within your application forms.

That way, you can completely avoid direct or indirect discrimination by simply not knowing these characteristics, basing your judgement exclusively on the merit of the candidates in question.


Tell-Tale Wording

It’s also important to note that the inclusion of certain words in a candidate specification can also give skewed results. As such, it’s important to take care when penning your job descriptions to avoid a slanted verbiage.

For example, requesting “recent graduates” is likely to return applicants in their early to mid-20s, while requesting “experienced candidates” or requiring a minimum of X years’ experience is likely to discourage applicants below a certain age.

While there are always exceptions to these rules, avoiding such potholes could help you to appeal to a wider mix of applicants.


Favoured Parties

Though potentially more controversial than the above steps, favouring one party over another in order to achieve a greater balance in the workplace is undoubtedly an effective way to combat the issue of discrimination.

However, this tactic can spark debate, and may be perceived by some as discriminatory in itself.

This approach has drawn criticism from some corners over the years as it does - somewhat ironically - exclude certain parties in order to give more opportunities to a specific group. Nevertheless, it is a legal technique and one that is promoted by the government itself.

According to gov.uk, as an employer, you are allowed to favour a candidate with “protected characteristics” over one without if you feel the former is underrepresented in your workplace / industry. The only proviso is that both candidates must be equally matched in terms of suitability for the role.


Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace

While it’s important to have a fair and unbiased recruitment process, recruiting a candidate for the specific purpose of “ticking a box” can be counterproductive for all parties and can foster workplace resentment, as well as potentially reducing the overall quality of the work produced.

For example, hiring an ineffective communicator for a role that predominantly involves communication will likely result in a negative outcome for the company, the customer and the team, which can in turn be demoralising for the worker themselves.

Being fair without inadvertently discriminating against any party is a key part of creating an equal process. If you base your search purely on merit, you should bag yourself a diverse workplace by proxy, and this will ultimately achieve the best results for your business.

Read More: Inappropriate Interview Questions >>

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Starting a new job can be a daunting prospect for any new employee, and the build-up can be extremely stressful. After all, as the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a great first impression.

As such, the pressure is on to make your first day, week and month a success – especially if there is a probation period. Fear of the unknown coupled with a strong desire to impress can be the perfect storm of anxiety that makes Day 1 extremely intimidating.

But you don’t have to let nerves ruin what should be an exciting and momentous occasion for you. Make your first day a walk in the park and come out smelling of roses with these 5 top tips for starting a new job.


First day at a new job


New Job Tips

If you have a new start date on the horizon and you’re worried about your first day on the job, take a look at these tips for starting a new job and turn that stress into finesse for the ultimate first impression.


Arrive on time.

Having to say “sorry I'm late” is not a great way to start your journey in a new company. It sends a negative message to your colleagues, implying that you are unreliable and don’t value the opportunity you've been given.

While it can be unavoidable at times, being branded with the “latecomer” label is the last thing you want when you've only just started a new job. Even if you really wanted the job, tardiness can give your employer the impression that your heart isn’t in it.

Aim to be prompt and timely, making an effort to be early where possible – particularly in your first week. This will help you develop good habits over time and naturally get you into a timely routine.


Dress for success.

There’s a classic saying in the business world that proclaims you should “dress for the job you want, not the one you have”. While this isn’t an open invitation to head into the office dressed as Hulk Hogan, there is certainly some truth behind it.

Presentation can have a profound impact on the way you are viewed by your co-workers and, more importantly, by your superiors. This is all the more important when you're trying to make a good first impression.

If you arrive to work on your first day wearing an un-ironed shirt and rocking three days of stubble, it doesn’t exactly scream “Employee of the Month”. Worse still, it actively conveys that you don’t care enough about your new job to make an effort.

You’ve worked hard to get this far and bag this job in the first place – don’t let a lacklustre appearance let you down. If you want your bosses to view you as a serious employee who's worth their time and money, looking the part is half the battle.


Don't be afraid to ask questions.

A common fault for new starters at work is a reluctance to ask when unsure about something. While it’s natural to be a little more introverted, reserved and shy during your initial foray into a new job, the importance of asking questions cannot be overstated.

The “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality isn’t always the best course of action, particularly in the early days of a new job. In fact, when it comes to work-related processes, blindly carrying on down a murky path of uncertainty can lead to a myriad of problems down the line.

Asking questions is the quickest way to remove doubt and learn the organisation's preferred practices. Remember, you are the new kid at school here - you won’t be expected to know everything right out of the gate.

Interest and intrigue can also show enthusiasm for the role; however, it’s worth remembering that there’s a fine line between being eager and being annoying. Keep your questions relevant and specific in order to avoid inconveniencing your new colleagues.


Get to know your surroundings.

Once you’ve settled into your new workstation and got your day off to a good start, take a little time to familiarise yourself with your surroundings. If possible, ask for a quick tour of the office and get to grips with what’s what and where's where.

While you're sightseeing, be sure to memorise the layout and locate the most important office essentials, like the toilets, kitchen, stationery cupboard and meeting rooms. This also a good opportunity to make a mental note of the fire exits, just in case there's an emergency.


Offer to make the tea.

Homer Simpson once said, “you don’t win friends with salad”. While that phrase may be less true now given the increasing popularity of vegan diets, one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is Britain’s love for a good cuppa.

A sure-fire way to ingratiate yourself is to get acquainted with the office coffee machine and your team’s tea-drinking habits. Offering to make a round for your co-workers is a small gesture that can go a long way, showing your willingness to be a team player.

It’s also a great way to get to know people and introduce yourself to those within the team whom you haven’t yet met. While you may not win friends with salad, you certainly will with tea and coffee.


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Online job search

Let's face it: looking for a job can be very challenging. And staying motivated during a frustrating job search can seem impossible.

It's natural to feel down in dumps when you're struggling to find a new job, but prolonged exasperation can pull you into a downward spiral from which it may be hard to bounce back.

So how can you get past those feelings? Here are a few job search motivation tips to help perk you!


Have a plan.

Before you begin your job search, you should have a clear idea of what sort of role / company you're actually looking for. What are your red lines? Are you casting your net as wide as possible, or staying within a very specific niche? Asking yourself these questions will help to keep you relaxed when things get a little crazy and disjointed.

Bringing some structure to your job search allows you to control the controllable and helps you to stay focused.


Be around people that inspire you.

It's never a good feeling when a job application is met with rejection. If this happens multiple times, your confidence may start to dwindle.

When you're feeling low, it may help to surround yourself with positivity. One way to do this is to make an effort to meet up with positive influences in your life. These can be family members, friends, or industry colleagues who'll help you to stay on track and not get too disheartened when things aren't going your way.


Remind yourself of your achievements.

When faced with rejection, we often start to feel as if we're not good enough and question our own value. An excellent way to overcome this feeling is to remind yourself of all the great things that you have accomplished in your work life. These can be small things, such as positive comments from former clients or praise-filled emails from an ex-boss, or they can be more formal milestones like certificates and awards you've received.

Create a collection of all these positive reminders to keep yourself motivated.


Help others.

Helping others is another fantastic way to raise your motivation levels during a job search. This may sound a little cheesy, but it's easier to feel happy when you're providing happiness to others - whether that's in a volunteering space, mentoring somebody, or just helping out some friend who can't help themselves.


Don't be too hard on yourself.

This is probably the most important tip to remember when you're going through a tough job hunt. Be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that there are tonnes of talented people in the world who are in the exact same position as you who are, also struggling - you are not on your own.

Your lack of success isn't your fault, and you need to just keep on trying.


Take in some motivational material.

Stay motivated by reading and listening to motivational material! Subscribe to motivational blogs and podcasts to keep your positive energy levels high, and keep up-to-date with essential industry news so that you are staying on top of your game and are constantly learning. This will give you the little bursts of drive that you need to keep your job search going!


READ MORE: Why Didn't I Get the Job?

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Morning commute in London

Despite an increasing number of people working from home, many of us still have to commute back and forth to the office every day. Coupled with the fact that the length of the average commute has now risen from 48 minutes to an hour, you may find that you're actually spending quite a lot of your time on the train, bus, taxi or sitting in your car.

But this time doesn't have to be wasted. Regardless of how you prefer to commute, here are a number of ways that you can make more of your morning and evening travel time!


Listen to audiobooks and podcasts

Enjoying an audiobook or podcast series while commuting is a great way to pass the time. Listening to audiobooks prepares you to think critically, allowing you to be on top of your work from the get-go. You could even listen to something that's relevant to your job - this can help to spark ideas and generally psych you up for the day.

Alternatively, if you'd prefer to steer clear of work-related content, audiobooks and podcasts can allow you to get lost in a story or conversation that takes your mind off your day-to-day stress.


Enjoy some music

A number of studies have pointed out the positive effects that music can have, such as improved immunity, reduced stress, enhanced brain function and relief from anxiety. Music is even better when you're joining in - although you should maybe avoid doing this on a packed train at 8 in the morning.


Take a nap

Naps are great. Everyone loves a nap, right? If work or your home life has left you a little sleep-deprived, your commute may just be the perfect place to close the deficit.

Simply sit back, relax and grab the shut-eye you need. Just make sure you don't miss your stop or dribble on the person next to you.


Read something

Whether it's a paperback, an ebook, a newspaper or a magazine, your morning commute presents the perfect time to put your head down and get lost in words. As with the audiobook tip above, you can dive head-first into something work-related or something completely fictional - the choice is yours.

Reading comes with a host of benefits too, such as reduced anxiety and enhancing your ability to understand others.


Catch up on the small stuff

Depending on the length of your commute and your transportation method, you may be able to use the time to catch up on all the small stuff you tend to put off.

Clear your mental in-tray by replying to texts and emails, creating shopping lists, or even setting small goals for the week ahead.


Get inspired

Regardless of how you commute, there are always opportunities to be inspired! Instead of gazing aimlessly out of the window, try taking a few minutes to take in the people and places around you. There is always value in simply noticing what is going on in your surroundings.

So, next time you feel your mind wandering, try focusing your senses to see if there is anything that sparks your interest!


In summary, there is no right or wrong way to make the most out of your commute to and from work. One day, you may listen to an audiobook; the next, you could be replying to emails or making up a story in your head about a fellow passenger and his unusual hat.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure to use your commute wisely so that you can start or finish your day feeling energised or relaxed and make your workweek just that little bit easier.


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