Amid the cost of living crisis, you won’t be alone in feeling like you’re struggling to make ends meet.
In a recent survey conducted by recruitment firm Reed, more than a quarter (26 per cent) of people stated that they were unhappy with their current salary. Meanwhile, six in 10 (61 per cent) said their salary is not rising in line with the cost of living. Witnessed in the wave of strikes taking place across different sectors in recent months, many workers have begun walking out in disputes over pay and conditions.
Negotiating a bump in salary can be an awkward conversation to bring up with your boss, but it’s absolutely crucial that you make sure that you’re being paid fairly. Despite growing conversations about gender pay gaps, women still earn significantly less than men.
In December, Rest Less analysed pay data from the Office of National statistics and found that in 2022, the biggest difference in full-time pay was between men and women in their fifties. It revealed that women aged between 50-59 earned an average salary of £30,603, which was £7,274 less than men in the same age group.
Non-profit organisation People Like Us is calling for the government to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting in an attempt to introduce greater transparency about the disproportionate impact of the cost of living crisis on ethnic minority workers. Research conducted by the company in early 2022 found that professionals from racially diverse backgrounds were paid just 84 per cent of what their white counterparts earn.
Here are eight tips to help you negotiate a payrise.
1. Find the right time
Picking your moment to speak to your boss is important. Ideally, it will be during a time when you’re performing particularly well and you know that your efforts are being recognised. However, if you feel like your boss is particularly difficult to pin down, it’s worth scheduling a meeting a few weeks in advance so you have time to prepare.
2. Aim to be paid fairly, not to be paid more than others
Talking about money with your boss can be difficult, especially if you don’t like confrontation. For those who would prefer to avoid feeling as though they are demanding a pay rise from their boss, HR expert Amy Spurling suggests approaching the subject by asking what the company’s compensation pay range is.
“Then, provide justification for where you land and what would push you into a higher bracket, and then confirm that everyone at your level is paid the same,” Spurling tells The Independent. “Aim for being paid fairly, not being paid more than others.
“There are ways to negotiate without feeling confrontational or asking directly for more without justification (ie ‘I want more, so here’s what I want to give me’).”
3. Ask for transparency
You might feel as though you’re irritating your boss during the negotiation process, but it’s essential to make sure your employer is being transparent with you.
“It is totally okay to ask your company to explain its compensation philosophy upfront,” says Spurling. “Do they pay at the 25th percentile for a role or the 50th? Ask them for the data set upon which they base roles, and ask them for transparency.”
4. Look out for red flags
Spurling says that if your employer is unwilling to share its compensation philosophy with you, then it might be your sign to look elsewhere. “If a company is unwilling to give [transparency] to you, that is a good indicator they have a pay gap internally and should be your warning flag to walk away,” she says.
5. Make sure you have evidence
While it may seem obvious to you that you deserve a pay rise, your boss may need to see proof that you’re worth vouching for. Often in bigger companies, your boss will need to seek approval from higher levels of management, who will sign off your new salary.
Really, you need to be able to convince everyone in the food chain that you’re worth the pay increase, Spurling explains. Bring evidence of your achievements at work; any accolades you’ve won, examples of projects that you’re proud of and any extra-curricular assets you bring to the company.
6. Have a figure in mind
If you’ve got a meeting set up with your employer, it’s good to go into the room with a figure in mind, so that you can be clear about what you want.
7. Be persistent
If the above steps don’t result in a pay rise, try not to be disheartened. Make sure you take note of when your annual review is at work and build up the evidence to prove you deserve a pay rise next time. If that’s too far in the future, the next step might be a good way to negotiate what you want…
8. Negotiate the other benefits
Negotiating a higher salary might not go as planned, but there might be room to negotiate extra benefits that will benefit you long term, such as extra holiday or a shorter working week. “In this age of transparency, It’s important to negotiate all the other benefits like paid time off, parental leave and commuter benefits. Companies may have no flexibility on salary, but will be using these other tools to further compensate people,” says Spurling.