Not all employers have the same approach to pay rises. There are some that use a transparent and structured procedure that is open to everyone. Others who take a more ad-hoc approach and give raises seemingly randomly. Then there are those who avoid giving pay rises as much as possible. Don’t be disheartened if your pay rise request was turned down or it feels like you will never get one. Help is at hand.
Let’s start by looking at why you want a pay rise. Typically there is a trigger that makes us decide it’s time we got more money for our efforts. That trigger can help you manage your expectations and also plan better for submitting your request.
Maybe your motivation is time-related, and you feel a raise is long overdue. Perhaps you completed a particularly tricky sale or managed an important project and want to be rewarded for your efforts. Sometimes, it is only when we see others get rewarded with more money that we realise we want more too.
Understanding your motivation helps you manage your expectations because it gives context to your request. There is always the chance that your employer or line manager won’t share your enthusiasm for your reasoning. Be prepared for questions, push back or even a flat out refusal.
Consider, if your motivation is:
Time-related – that your employer might ask what you have contributed in that time.
Project or sale-related – that your employer might be looking at more than a one-off win.
Peer-related – that your employer might (and I’m sorry to say this) value your colleague more.
There’s also a case of timing. Look closely at how the business is performing and your role in that. There is no such thing as perfect timing, but submitting a request following a company win has more chance at succeeding.
Even if you have been unsuccessful at gaining a pay rise already, that doesn’t mean you can’t try again. Take some time to build your case and make sure it’s a strong case. With better planning, research, and timing you will increase your chances of a pay rise.
When building your case, include the following:
What makes you valuable? Just doing your job is not enough. For a strong pay rise pitch, you need to have solid examples of other ways you bring value. For example, positive initiatives you may have spearheaded, teams you lead, extra work you have taken on.
What contributions have you made? Much as you have a CV for applying for a new job, start diarising your contributions for internal applications too. Keep track of every example of you being a team player, being flexible, being proactive and helpful.
Add in all relevant training and qualifications that you have completed since your last pay discussion or raise.
Building your case is your opportunity to show your employer how much more you are worth than you were previously.
If you are reading the above thinking that you maybe haven’t contributed anything particularly valuable recently, then there’s still time.
Make a plan of how you can add value over the next six to twelve months and action it. If you can’t wait that long, submit your pay rise request but be ready with a plan b.
There a chance you may not be successful with your first or even second attempt at getting a pay rise. Prepare for this in advance to avoid being hit too hard with the bad news. Ask yourself if getting a pay rise a make or break situation or if you’re prepared to stay on.
Look at options within the company that could work as an alternative. Even in a company that is laying people off, there can be options. Career ladders needn’t be vertical, and with a bit of research, you might find a sideways move with more career potential. Some companies also offer pension options, shares and other benefits in place of a cash increase.
The other question to ask yourself is. Does your employer want to keep you? It is crucial that you are prepared for the answer to this to be no. Having your CV up to date and looking at available jobs in your area should always be part of your research. There is no harm in applying for similar positions that pay more or speaking to a recruiter for advice.
Michelle is a graduate of the National University of Ireland, Galway and graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree specialising in Human Resource Management.
After graduating from NUIG, Michelle spent 3.5 years working in the Financial Services industry in Dublin and completed a Professional Diploma in Financial Advice in 2016.
Michelle joined CareerWise as a Recruitment Consultant in March 2018 and is based in our Galway office.
Since joining Careerwise, Michelle completed the NRF Programme in Recruitment Practice and is currently studying a Diploma in Human Resource Management in the Athlone Institute of Technology.
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