How to ask for a pay rise when wage growth is slow
Scoring a pay rise or promotion is probably the simplest way to boost your pay packet, but how do you get there? How do you convince the boss?
For many people getting a pay rise isn't easy.
Many employers limit their pay rises to once a year and even then it's only a small increase.
Others might find the thought of approaching their boss to ask for more money daunting. There's really only one way to increase your chances of being paid what you're worth and that is to talk to your boss.
- Pick your moment
You want to make the approach after you've been performing well, but you also need to think about your boss's workload. You should arrange to catch up at a time you and your boss are free to talk privately without any distractions or interruptions.
For example, if you're an accountant, the end of the financial year is probably not a good time.
- Know your worth
The experts say you need to have a clear idea of your market worth. There are a few ways to do this. You can start by looking at the various salary surveys online.
You should also take a look at the job advertisements for positions similar to yours. This will give you an idea of what you can reasonably expect to be paid.
For a raise, you need to demonstrate you are doing more than your contract requires.
Ask yourself what positive benefits you have brought to the company and whether your responsibilities have increased since your last review.
Another way to get more money from your current employer is by getting a job offer from another company and using this to your advantage - although this can be risky and may even backfire.
- Keep emotion out of it
Now comes the tough part - actually talking to your boss. Thank your boss for their time, express how much you enjoy the job, and outline your achievements.
You need to be pleasant and confident without being arrogant, but don't make it emotional.
One strategy is not to make it all about money, and talk about what you've done for your company and why you think you deserve more money.
Give them time to think about it, but have a plan of how you will respond if the answer is no.
Don't just get angry and storm off or quit. Ask your boss to explain the decision and what you could do to improve your value in the future.
It may be taking on more responsibility or doing a course. Get your boss to agree to a date to have your pay reviewed again, say in three or six months.
- Look for opportunities
Of course there's only so much more money you can earn if you stay in the same job role. Another possibility to boost your pay packet is to keep your eyes open for any promotion opportunities that suit you.
It's important to have a goal about what you want from your career and what positions would help you achieve this. You then have to move towards that goal.
Gain as much experience as you can by doing more than your job description entails and doing any relevant training.
Look at people in the sorts of positions you covet and find out how they've achieved that. Ask yourself where you're lacking and what you need to do to get there.
- Hit the books
It might even be useful to begin studying for a qualification part-time if that's relevant. There are a number of courses available for different jobs. Your company might offer them or you may have to look outside.
- Build up your profile
Working hard might not be enough if no one knows what you're doing. You need to work towards building yourself a good profile and ensuring that the right people know what you're achieving.
You can use your annual appraisals to let your boss know what your career aspirations are, so they think of you when suitable jobs pop up. It's not enough to think your boss will automatically think of you when a good opportunity arises - tell your boss you would like to be considered.
You should be careful not to make them think it's because you're unhappy in your current job. Explain to your boss what your career goals are, why you think this position is on the right track and why you are the right candidate for the job.
- Get networking
Networking is also important. Make sure you get to know people within the organisation that can help you get to where you want to go, and that you're on good terms with them.
It's not just about ability, it's often about cultural fit and interpersonal skills, so demonstrate to the right people how good your interpersonal skills are.
- Look further afield
You might have to look for a different job all together
If you decide there are simply no more opportunities within that company and you'd be better off elsewhere, a new job might be right for you.
You should first identify the type of job you'd like to target and what will help you best achieve your long-term career goals. You may want to consider setting up a meeting with a career counsellor or career coach to get an expert opinion.
Then it's a matter of keeping your ear to the ground. If you have friends or contacts in other organisations, have an informal chat to them explaining your situation and ask them to let you know if something suitable crops up.
You may also want to approach a recruitment company. Find one that specialises in the area you fancy.
How to get a new job
You need to make sure your resume is up to scratch. Make sure it's updated and that it contains all the relevant information.
Be sure to double-check it for any typos. If you have used a career coach it's probably a good idea to have them give it the once-over.
The actual interview though is the make or break. Make sure you turn up on time and you look presentable.
The key to a successful interview is preparation. Your aim should be to demonstrate how the skills and knowledge you have acquired are relevant to the position. Understanding what the job entails helps.
You may want to go through a few practice questions at home with a friend so you're ready.
Many interviewers use behavioural questions where they ask you how you have responded to situations in the past. Rehearse your responses but don't over-do it. You don't want to sound like you are regurgitating information.
Also research the organisation.
Find out about the size, the products and services, the target market, the main competitors as well as the culture.
Having an understanding of the company will help you ascertain where the company is heading, what they are looking for in an employee and how you can contribute to the company's goals or add value to the organisation.
Be yourself in the interview and don't exaggerate or make up things you think will make you look better.
Try to keep your answers simple and straight to the point and don't rush. Make sure to take time to think about what you want to say ad speak clearly.
Show that you are listening - a nod here or there should do it.
If you don't understand a question, feel free to ask for clarification. And perhaps most importantly, don't criticise former employers or colleagues.
Try to end the interview on a positive note.
Thank the interviewer and maybe have a short message prepared highlighting your skills to finish up with. You may even want to follow up the interview with a handwritten note or email saying thank-you for the opportunity.