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How to get a pay rise

Posted on from Antal International

The recession was a good excuse for employers to maintain a pay freeze, but with the most challenging years the HR industry has faced in over fifty years steadily being replaced by the green shoots of recovery that are already blossoming towards a positive end to 2010 and beyond, isn’t it time your hard work gets the financial reward it deserves?

Can you justify a pay rise?

We all like to feel we are worth more than we’re paid and that our employers consider us an invaluable resource, and with a recent survey suggesting that 45% of HR professionals feel that the recession has increased the value of their role, shouldn’t you be getting your fair share of the spoils? After all, employers need talent and talent costs money, right?

It’s all very well being a good HR manager or senior practitioner but are you simply doing your job or exceeding your current remit? What have you done that makes you stand out from your colleagues? Perhaps redundancies within your department mean you have been doing the job of two people, or maybe you introduced a new reward and Benefits scheme which improved staff retention levels at a time when salaries were frozen?

Increases in pay and bonuses tend to go to those who make a positive impact on the organisation’s bottom line. Here are seven ways to ensure you get the salary you deserve.

Have you done your salary market research?

Knowledge is power

Before you march into your boss's office demanding a pay increase, do some research first. Compare your current salary with that of your colleagues performing the same role and with job adverts to know the market salary for your position. Cross reference with an HR salary report to determine what the industry says you are worth. For example, an HR manager living in the south-east can expect to earn more than their counterpart in Scotland.

Don't ambush your boss

Ask for a meeting

The issue of how much we all earn can be a sensitive one and the worst thing you can do is ambush your boss with a new wage demand. So it's important to formalise your salary discussions with a pre-arranged meeting. Even if your boss says ‘no’ there and then, they may be prepared to set a date for a pay review later down the line. In the meantime, find out what you need to do to perform at a level that justifies a higher salary, it could mean taking on more responsibility or meeting certain targets.

Negotiate from a position of power

Manage expectations

Timing is a critical factor in any negotiation, so make sure you can negotiate from a position of power when both you and the company are on top form, particularly if the company is expected to announce record profits for example. If your company has just announced a string of redundancies then logic dictates that you reconsider. Remember, if it’s not in your contract that you will get a salary rise each year, your employer is not legally obliged to give you one.

Alternatives to pay-rise - Benefits

Have a back-up plan

Sometimes a ‘no’ might mean ‘no, not right now’, but this doesn’t mean that you cannot ask for non-financial Benefits as an alternative. It is estimated that a good Benefits package can add as much as 30% or more to the value of your salary. So think about some of the things you might accept instead. For example:

  • Subsidised gym membership
  • Extra holiday
  • Private medical insurance
  • Increased car allowance

How do you prove your worth?

Work harder and smarter

If a pay rise is not in the cards in the here and now you need to ensure you do what it takes to make sure it is firmly on the agenda the next time you sit down with your boss to discuss your salary. This may mean knuckling down to some good old-fashioned graft, taking on extra responsibility or assuming accountability for projects that tend to be neglected by your fellow colleagues. This will demonstrate your willingness to go beyond the requirements of your job description.

Knowledge is power

Increase your marketability
Sharpen your skills, identify areas in your job you could improve and see what training courses are available through your employer or the CIPD. Attend conferences and HR seminars that will enhance your knowledge and expertise of the ever-changing HR sector and make you a more rounded and knowledgeable HR professional while strengthening your bargaining power further down the line.

What has the recession taught us?

If the recession has taught us anything it’s how to streamline teams, reassess recruitment strategies, and manage talent effectively. However, demand for HR professionals such as redundancy and TUPE specialists, senior HR managers and interim specialists in the current labour market remains high with employers prepared to pay to retain them.

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