There is a time and a place for everything, including broaching the subject of a pay rise. When is the right time, though, and what happens if you don’t get what you think you deserve?
Asking for a pay rise isn’t easy
We all get that wobbly stomach feeling when it comes to asking for a salary review. In most cases, though, the nervousness really isn’t justified. When it comes down to it, you do your job, and that deserves a fair payment for the work you provide. Even though we all know this, the task of asking for a pay rise is still not easy. So, when do you know it’s time?
We have seen a few incidents recently where candidates have been offered an immediate increase in salary when they told their current employer they were leaving. That, to me at least, suggests that the offer would have been there if they had just asked in the first place.
That got us talking about how you know when it is time to ask for more money and things to think about when you do.
1. You have a review scheduled
Every employee will have a performance review of some sort scheduled. Depending on your employer’s policy, these could be anything from a friendly ‘chat’, through to a strictly regimented evaluation process. Whatever format they follow, they are all looking at your performance. This is clearly a good time to negotiate a pay rise. You would be amazed how often we hear candidates say that they need a higher wage but that the subject ‘never came up’ at their last review. If you have a review in the diary and you think you deserve a rise, ask for one. You really can’t wait for it to come up.
2. You are below market value
It’s really important that you know what the current rate is for your job. If you are below that, it’s really a clear-cut case when it comes to asking for a rise.
3. You just performed exceptionally well
It’s an annoying fact of life that if you work in sales and you do exceptionally well, you get a nice commission. If you work in the accounts department and you go above and beyond, you tend to get a pat on the back. While it is nice to receive praise, it could also indicate that now is a good time to have a salary discussion.
4. There is no promotion available
Sometimes you are ready to take the next step in your career, but it just isn’t available at your employer. Management roles are not always there when you need them. If you want to stay where you are, then it seems reasonable to ask for a pay rise in lieu of that promotion. If not, then you need to call us so we can look at career options.
5. You have taken on more responsibility
Responsibilities tend to sneak up, don’t they? Such and such has left, so you took over part of their job ‘temporarily’, or the new starter is now looking to you as a mentor, so you are helping them, oh, and there is that new task that you were only supposed to be taking on for a couple of weeks… and so on. When you are in a position where your job role has more responsibilities and duties, you may well be due a rise to compensate.
These are not the only signs that you are due a salary increase, but they are some of the most common. Loyalty to your employer and stability for your income are both factors, of course, but they shouldn’t stop you from asking for what you are worth.
Before we wrap this up, I want to just add a quick final item to the list. Right now, prices are rising, the economy isn’t great, and things are getting tough. The chances are that you have recently looked at how much you need to live reasonably comfortably, and hopefully, your job should be covering that. If it isn’t because your wage is too low, grab a pen and work out what you must take home for a reasonable lifestyle.
6. Never split the difference
If you are asking for a rise, make sure you know what that amount actually is. Know the line in the sand that cannot be crossed. There are a lot of negotiation technique tips floating around the internet, but when it comes to salaries, there is one we would always suggest as a starting point. Know the lowest you can accept and stick to it. Never ‘split the difference’ on what is honestly the lowest you need to earn. You can’t split the difference because, if that is what you need, there is nothing to split, is there?
Should you stay or should you go?
To be honest, if you were about to move on and then accepted a pay rise offer to stay, it would have been much better for everyone if you had just asked your current employer in the first place. When you accept an offer from a new employer and then don’t move, it costs you and everyone involved a lot of time and effort. So, if you are thinking of moving on solely or partly because you want a better wage, ask for the rise first. Explain why you are due the rise, and see what result you get, then make your final decision. If you then get a new job and your current employer suddenly has a counteroffer when you resign, think very carefully about whether you accept it or not.
If you have asked for an increase and the answer was no, contact us and let’s talk.