Friday 19 April 2019

Finance Fridays – Asking for a pay rise

We were looking at reasons for home sale failures and what you can do about it in last week's Finance Fridays. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the price changes that had happened this month. With so many things now costing more you may be finding it a struggle to make ends meet. You could go looking for a new job or taking on some side hustles. If you are happy where you are then how about asking for a pay rise? It's probably not a very British thing to do but there are ways to go about it.

Time it right – If your company is doing well and you believe that some of that success is down to you then pitch to your boss what you have contributed. If you have regular or at least an annual appraisal then that's a good time to make your case. Conversely if the company is struggling then asking for more money will not go down well. You could be working harder and longer hours to try and turn the company around but until you have seen some success in this then don't go demanding a pay rise.

Do your research – I remember walking past a job agency each morning to see the job I was doing being advertised at 20% more than what I was being paid. As it was a niche sector I knew that it could only be one of three companies offering this including my own. I rang them up and asked them if they could tell me who the job was with. They said they couldn't tell me so I asked if it was worth me applying as I worked for a certain company. They told me it was my company that was advertising! I knew the reason for the increased wages was because it was difficult finding employees in that sector. I went into work with my evidence and I did negotiate a pay rise. I think they were worried that I was going to leave. Before you ask for a pay rise make sure you are asking for an amount that is reasonable for your job and what competitors may be paying. Also only do it if you really think that the company would be put in a difficult position if you left. If it would be easy to replace you then you won't have much bargaining power.

Know your worth – I used to work in occupational pensions and at one stage I was on the team that administered and invested our own employees pension contributions. This did mean of course that I knew what every employee in the company earned in order to make sure that right amounts were being deducted. As I came in on a new style contract I had always known I was paid less than colleagues who had been there longer. This is despite the fact that I had the same overall experience as them and doing the same work. However, when I did get offered promotion I did say I would only accept it if they were going to pay me more than the people I was going to be in charge of. I got my way and the pay rise I wanted.

For most people knowing what other people earn won't be as easy but do listen out to what people say on payday. People always like to moan about the amount of tax they have to pay. Are they paying more than you and therefore getting paid more? Before you dive in do take into consideration reasons as to why your take-home pay differs from someone else's. For example you could pay more in pension contributions, have company benefits such as a car, gym membership or healthcare or a different tax code.

If you do know that someone else is getting paid more than you then find out who in your company is the best person to talk to you about it. It could be your line manager or HR. Don't go in all guns blazing as an aggressive attitude will do you no favours. Sometimes these things can be genuine oversights.

Look elsewhere – Sometimes no matter what you do or how good you are at your job you are never going to get the pay rise you deserve. In one of my former jobs I got acted up to a senior position and given a pay rise to cover the additional work. However, I knew I was still being paid less than the people who had the same job and title on a full-time basis (three people told me their salary and they were all on the same). I was even being asked for advice and how to do certain pieces of work from these people. As the company wasn't forthcoming in making my role permanent after a number of months I looked for another job in the same sector. I ended up leaving for a job that had better pay, less responsibility, proper flexi-time and leave plus a free and guaranteed parking place everyday. On my last day I did tell them that I would have stayed if they had made promotion permanent and they seemed pretty gutted but probably not as gutted as when they lost the contract six months after I left...

Do you feel you deserve a pay rise? Have you ever negotiated one?

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