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How To Ask For A Pay Rise

Why is it that in 2020 we are still struggling with equal pay in the workplace. Although 2020 marks fifty years since the Equal Pay Act was made and despite gender equality rules forcing companies to disclose their salary data more than three out of four companies in the UK still pay their male staff more than their female staff.

It is time to stand up and be counted and to stop lurking in the shadows of our male counterparts. It is time to stop being scared of asking for what you so rightly deserve. The pay rise that you deserve because of your ability and hard work, not your gender. Often men get a pay rise more than women simply because they ask for it. Unfortunately, there isn’t much help out there for women when it comes to this topic, which is crazy because asking for a raise can be incredibly daunting and intimidating. So we’ve put together some tips to help you ask for an elusive pay rise.

1.  Research

The first step is to research the market and find out the comparable market rate for your job.  Also, try and find out what your employer is paying colleagues in similar roles within the organisation. Once armed with the facts you can communicate to your employer what your salary expectations are. You can find this information through recruitment sites and job boards and talking to people in similar positions. Glassdoor is a helpful site to look at as it has a salary calculator to help with your research.

2.  Preparation

Look at your job description and expectations and identify where you have added value, over achieved, exceeded expectations and have contributed to successful outcomes.  List all the positives you have brought to the role and to the company.  Women in particular find it hard to ask for a pay rise due to various reasons, a lack of self-esteem, fear of being seen as greedy or fear of rejection.  Understand your self-worth and remember although it is cliche if you don’t ask you don’t get.

3.  Set up a meeting

Do not corner or blindside your boss.  Though it may sound obvious make sure you ask if you can have a meeting to discuss your performance review.  This will allow your employer time to think about your role in the company.  Often your employer may be too preoccupied or too busy with work to recall your achievements and what you may have contributed to the company, this is totally normal – just be sure to give them a reminder. 

3.  Set your salary expectation

Make sure you go into the meeting with what you would like to achieve and know what your benchmark is.  Keep your expectations realistic and be prepared for your employer to negotiate, it is important to know what your bottom line is. Also, don’t be afraid to go a bit higher than what you’re expecting because your employer will most likely negotiate that figure down a little. 

4.  Practice makes perfect

Practice how you are going to approach your employer in the meeting.  Learn your script until you feel confident with it and be prepared for any questions that may be thrown at you. They may ask you why you’re asking for a pay rise, if you feel like you outperform your colleagues etc. You can always jot down a few notes or bullet points to take in with you. Practice with friends and family and until you feel confident with your approach.

5.  Confidence is key

How you look will not only help with your confidence but show your employer that you mean business. Of course, it depends on where you work but looking a little smarter than usual might help. So depending on your industry, dress appropriate but it’s really important that you feel comfortable and confident so that you radiate confidence. Be friendly and approachable, assertive but not aggressive and focus on the reason why you feel like you deserve a pay rise. Your employer will respect you more for your approach. Try not to fidget, maintain eye contact and don’t waffle to fill in the silences.

Do not make it personal by adding things irrelevant to your role such as your bills, mortgages, childcare, fares have gone up, because let’s be honest they’ll probably think that it’s not they’re problem.  Stay focused on your achievements within the company.  Don’t forget this is a two-way street your employer needs to understand what you have brought to the company.

5. How to deal with refusal and what to do

If your employer refuses you.  Stay calm and ask what you need to do in the future to be eligible for a pay rise. You can also ask for regular appraisals, so your employer is aware of your achievements. If your employer tells you that they do not have the budget at present you could even ask for more perks i.e. additional holiday time, flexitime or working from home part-time instead.

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