How to ask for pay rises as the cost of living increases and new study finds 60% of workers are unhappy with their salary
The cost of living is rocketing and with energy bills set for another increase in April households are finding it more of a struggle than ever to make ends meet.
A recent study suggests that nearly two-thirds of workers are unhappy with their salary, with teachers and new graduates among those said to be most frustrated with their monthly pay packets.
But the report by CV-Library also found that just over half of respondents had never tried to speak to their employers about the possibility of higher pay.
While broaching the topic of money can be daunting, we've got some top tips if you want to kick-start your week with a talk about earning more...
1. Ask for a meeting
The first step is to ask for a meeting with your direct line manager even if they're not the person who ultimately holds the company purse strings. Going above them is unlikely to do you any favours and may only breed bad feeling so honesty is always your best policy.
Think hard about how you approach the issue of pay too - as this might depend on the relationship you have with the manager you've chosen to speak to. Some may find more success raising the issue with an informal chat first, after which you could start building a proper case, while other bosses much prefer a formal approach from the start.
Once you've chosen who to speak to, prepare your approach accordingly.
2. Know your worth
Before any meeting or conversation it would be helpful to research typical salary levels for the role you're doing - both within your company if its possible but also externally.
Online salary checkers, such as the one run by Totaljobs, can also help as they can help show you whether your current pay is in line with the market or whether what you're earning is below any sort of average for the role you're undertaking.
But there are a few things to keep in mind when comparing jobs like for like at face value - such as similar sounding job titles having different levels of responsibility or seniority and regional differences that could exist in pay, packages and potential perks.
So while the information is useful to have - avoid it being your only argument.
3. Avoid making any demands
You may open your pay packet at the end of each month and feel angry and frustrated with what has been paid to you, but even if you perceive that you're being treated unfairly - perhaps in comparison to certain colleagues - being difficult always has the potential to back fire and may ultimately only reflect badly on you.
Avoid demanding a pay rise immediately and try and go into any conversation about salaries and money with good questions and an open attitude.
Your boss may even agree that you deserve extra money but he or she isn't in a position to alter any salaries at the moment, in which case playing hardball won't do you any favours.
Asking questions along the lines of 'Is there a budget or scope for any pay rises' rather than 'I want a pay rise' is a better way to approach the subject and more likely to lead to a more rounded conversation where you come away understanding more.
4. Do your research and use evidence
There's nothing wrong with being ambitious, but also be realistic and measured. Both in terms of your own performance and what you bring to the firm but also the company's position and how in particular the last two years of the pandemic has treated them.
Any decision about money will involve balancing the firm's financials against the value you bring and so being able to talk about what you've achieved over the last year or what you plan to bring in the months or years ahead might also be something worth raising with your employer as part of your chat.
Jobs website Monster advises finding out about the types of jobs out there and the money being paid for someone with your skills and levels of experience so that any approach to your employer is well researched.
5. Create a paper trail
Once you've had your initial meeting it can be helpful to follow this up with an email in order to create a paper trail of your request.
You can thank your boss for their time and for listening to what you've got to say and you can also use it as an opportunity to summarise the key points you both spoke about and even document your achievements again in black and white, particularly if there's something you forgot to raise when you were face-to-face which can often happen in the pressure of a meeting.
6. Don't give up
If the answer is no and you find that your request is rejected don't be put off and try and use the situation to your advantage.
Don't be afraid to ask your manager what it is you might need to do in order to get the position or the salary you desire - not least because if you're given targets or suggestions of things to work on you have another opportunity in the future to ask again about changes to your salary. And if you've done exactly as they asked or suggested you may even stand a greater chance of getting the pay or promotion that you want next time.