Whatever your feelings about New Year resolutions, the turning of the calendar year is for many a natural time to reflect 📆 A chance to consider what progress we’ve made over the previous twelve months, and what milestones we might like to check-off over the forthcoming year.

New Year, New You 🎊

So, if you’re feeling energised with enthusiasm for the next year ahead… then this could be the perfect time to capitalise on that feeling, by putting it to good use!

We spend roughly one-third of our lives at work, so any improvements you can make to your professional life can have a big overall knock-on impact.

If you’ve been feeling underappreciated and/or underpaid, then it may be time to speak with your boss about a salary increase. Remember though that not all companies conduct staff appraisals in-line with the calendar year. If this is the case (check with your human resources team if you’re unsure), then you may need to bide your time and wait until the start of the next financial year to raise the issue, which is April here in the UK ⏳

When starting out in a new job it’s easy to have these types of conversations. But once we’re settled into a company, it can feel there’s never a ‘right time’ to ask for a pay increase. This can be especially true if your job has evolved gradually over a period of time, as opposed to stepping into an entirely new position.

Preparation is Your Pal 🤓

As with many things in life, a considered and well thought out approach can make a big difference when it comes to your chances of achieving your objective… getting that elusive pay raise!

So, before you go piling into your boss’s office with all guns blazing, it’s worth taking a moment to calm yourself and think strategy. Time spent now reviewing your job description or the results of your most recent performance review (if you’ve had one), can ensure you’re more able to deal with any curve balls that come your way in the heat of the moment 🔥

If you can show you’ve listened to any previous feedback you’ve been given, and even better, show evidence that you’ve addressed any shortcomings, it will be far easier to build a case for why you feel you deserve to be paid more money.

Money can be a very emotive topic. And not just for you, but for your boss too! So remember that your line manager will also have budgets and constraints that they must work to. You can even look at this as a chance to show-off your soft skills 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Displaying a degree of empathy for your boss’s position will demonstrate you’re someone who thinks about the big picture.

Know Your Worth 💰

When it comes to how much you expect to be paid, the immediate answer is… MORE! But, if you’re going to successfully negotiate a salary increase with your boss, it’s going to need to be based on something a little more scientific. So a good place to start might be by looking at the going rate being paid for similar jobs.

By doing this you’ll be able to figure out your actual market rate, and this knowledge gives you something meaningful to bargain with 🤝 When considering equivalent roles, it’s important to account for the specifics of your industry (e.g. the difference in salary between public sector vs. private sector). If you feel it’s relevant, then you may also find it useful to investigate whether you feel there is any gender pay gap that needs to be addressed.

You can quickly build a profile of jobs that are comparable to your own by using the adverts on sites such as Monster or Glassdoor. From there you can calculate the average market value or average salary for your job. You can also use an online salary checker or salary surveys for additional perspective. If in doubt, you may find it’s helpful to have a chat with recruiters who specialise in filling similar roles, for a more personal opinion.

Don’t Forget the Perks 🚗

Ok, if you’ve done all of the above then you’ll probably be feeling pretty confident. But before you get too preoccupied with the cold, hard cash 🤑 Here are a few more considerations that may help when weighing-up any potential offer that your boss may make you.

Your salary is a tangible reflection of your worth to your employer, but in terms of feeling valued, money is only one aspect. A pay rise is an obvious place to start, but there are many other perks you may be able to negotiate with less resistance, and which could still add significant value.

One common benefit is the use of a company car, though this practice isn’t as widely adopted as it once was due to tighter tax implications. Flexible working is another perk that your company may be able to accommodate, and not only is this a great way to enhance your overall quality of life, it can also have a direct financial benefit too. If you’re able to work from home on certain days then it could save you money on commuting, plus win back some of your precious time! ⏰

The Whole Picture 🖼

When assessing any job, it’s wise to consider chances for career development, in addition to the salary alone. For many people, there will be periods in their professional life when they must actively sacrifice immediate earnings in exchange for greater long-term potential 🔭

When looking at the benefits of your current role it’s essential to take a holistic approach. Things like your job title may seem arbitrary, but can improve prospects when applying for the next role.

Depending on your outlook, you may also feel that the nature of the business you work in also has some bearing on your commitment to the job. If it’s an ethical organisation that’s doing good in society, then you need to ask yourself what value you place on that 🌱 Even the degree to which you enjoy spending time with your coworkers can affect your overall sense of job satisfaction.

It can be easy to overlook some of these factors, so it’s worth attempting to quantify what each of them are worth to you, well ahead of your annual review.

Few would disagree that some extra money is nice, but you should also ask yourself what the alternatives are. By this we mean, how ready are you to undertake a new job search if you cannot come to a mutually agreeable resolution? If you’re unsure, then it might be worth seeking out some career advice before committing yourself to a hard stance when negotiating a pay rise.

How to Ask for a Pay Increase 🙋‍♀️

Ok, so you’re psyched for your salary negotiation… time for some final top tips on how to do this!

  1. Be clear about your intentions — Ahead of the meeting you should make it clear to your boss that you would like a salary review. This will allow them to prepare in advance and avoid feeling they’ve been blindsided.
  2. Keep it Personal — Despite the prevalence of remote working in the modern workplace, this is one meeting that should be face-to-face, if possible. By maximising eye contact and using appropriate body language, you will be able to help establish trust and put everyone in the room at ease 😌
  3. Show Your Work — When presenting the business case for why you feel you deserve a pay raise, focus on your hard work and recent achievements, rather than external factors. Although your landlord may have just put your rent up 🏚 This has no bearing on the function you perform within the company.

Beware of Playing Hardball ⚾️

A word of warning. If you feel your bargaining chips are limited, then it can be tempting to present an ultimatum, by making it clear you have another job offer with a higher salary.

This can be one way of forcing your boss to reevaluate what they feel you’re worth, if they fear they may lose you. There’s no denying that this can be a very effective technique when it comes to getting a salary raise… but it can also be a high-risk strategy 🎢 Taking this approach can quickly change the tone of a negotiation, and may not be the best thing for your career in the long-term.

Final Thoughts 🏁

So there you have it. Everything you could possibly want to know about how to ask for a pay rise. It’s important to feel appreciated and valued in your work, but if you take one thing away from this article, we’d suggest that be to see the relatively small role money actually plays in this.

Instead of getting caught up in how much you’re getting paid, it may be more beneficial for you in the long-term to think about how you want to spend your working life. What other career goals could you set that would contribute to your overall sense of happiness and fulfilment?

The Flip Side 🔄

Of course, there is another way entirely to look at this conundrum 🤔 Saving money is as good as earning more… and there’s where Plum can help you save more without even thinking about it.

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