Life is expensive – Why you need to get a pay rise

Why and how you should go about getting yourself a pay rise!

The mere practice of living in the 21st century is an annoyingly expensive habit. I don’t mean in terms of rent and bills, which are extortionate in any case, I more mean the cost of actually living your life, the cost of a pint (which trust me will soon go beyond £6 if it hasn’t already at your local), actually just living your life!

Most likely, if you’re reading this then you’ll be employed, most likely, full time and thus earn a salary of a given amount. You go through the annoying rigmarole of half year reviews and the eventual end of year review. Whilst these are unbelievably annoying and tedious, they can serve you in one particular way, a pay rise.

Now, whilst most firms will most likely give you a 1%,2% or maybe 3% pay rise, in reality, this is just going to be offset against inflation, so you’re actual take home will only be an additional 0 to £50 a month ,which, in the grand scheme of things is negligible. What you really want to be aiming for is the 15% pay rise. Arguably, I’ve picked that figure out of thin air, however, from 15% you can easily fall back to 10%, which is more realistic, and you’re still a winner.

There are plenty of tactics out there about how to get a pay rise, but, in my view; the two strongest arguments are what value you bring to the company and / or an alternative offer elsewhere.

The alternative offer – easier but riskier

Nothing puts the fear into a company like losing someone, having to recruit, retrain and all of the additional investment into an individual that this involves, let alone that they will lose capacity in the intervening period.

Obviously, with this option you will actually need to have an alternative offer in place, that’s your bargaining position. You may not have any intention of taking the alternative offer, but by sheer virtue of presenting to your existing company you’re in a strong position to bargain for a pay rise that matches what the alternative company is offering.

In the best case example you’ll be able to play them off against each other. I’ve known someone to increase their salary by £25k doing this, albeit, in the legal services sector.

There is always the downside to this tactic through that you should be willing to take the alternative offer should your existing company not be willing to budge. To me, personally, this would suggest that they don’t care that much in the first place, otherwise at the very least they would match the offer. If that’s the case then it’s probably best to take the alternative offer purely for your own mental health. It’s never a good thought to know that your employer doesn’t value you (and never believe the rubbish about that they can’t afford it. Honestly, they’re lying, they always can and for the most part always do).

Demonstrating your value – longer term play but less risky

Now, there’s an obvious split here between the public and private sector. The private sector is almost exclusively driven by the profit incentive, the public sector (on the whole) is not. Nonetheless, the tactic pretty much remains the same.

What you need to be doing is preparing your ‘business case’ between now and January, with a view to build on it February and then present it in March (given that end of year reviews happen in March or April).

The case to present fundamentally needs to be based on value. This can be defined in a number of ways, however, the easiest is the one that is quantifiable. Show and demonstrate, in explicit detail if necessary, that you made a certain number of sales, which made a certain amount of profit, and quantify this. Show that you made a particular saving both absolute and percentage wise against a particular budget. Demonstrated that you delivered a project a month ahead of schedule and that through doing so this released an amount of otherwise unavailable resource to be able to contribute projects.

Lastly, go and get feedback from both your internal and external stakeholders. We in the UK are typically rubbish at this … be confident and ask for the feedback explicitly and quote the feedback in your end of year review and case for a pay rise. Clearly show that you are delivering customer satisfaction which is directly contributing to a rise in sales and thus more profit for the compa

Just go and do it

I honestly cannot stress this enough, demonstrate the value you personally are bringing into the company over and over again. Make it so clear that someone from Mars could understand it.


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