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Not getting the pay rise you want?  The headhunters’ guide on how to secure one!

29 Oct 2014 by Sarah Leembruggen.
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Top-performing PRs are a hot commodity!  Figures from the 700+ professionals who took part in our annual Salary Survey show that there have been more pay increases than last year, including some very impressive ones. This is a reflection of the buoyant market and with confidence levels soaring, there is a marked trend for employees to ask for that little bit more … and, according to our survey respondents, a large number of them seem to be getting what they ask for.

We are working in a much stronger economy which makes the timing to ask for a pay rise better than ever – but don’t just leap in.  First, some careful consideration and planning is required. Here, we outline our tips on the best way to broach the subject with your boss.

Do your prep

Whether you have a scheduled salary review or a regular appraisal, preparation is key.  In our experience, clients who like to be known as one of the top payers and offer employees an increase before being asked are a rare breed.  It is highly unlikely that your boss is going to applaud your achievements and give you a hearty pay rise without a little input from your end too.  Make yourself aware of the system your company employs when it comes to reviewing salaries. Not all firms have a formal procedure in place, so you need to get acquainted with how it’s handled. 

Is it part of an annual review?  When does the review take place?  

If the company you work for has a more laissez-faire approach, it will be up to you to give the boss a nudge and ask for a review.

Know your worth

Before you start talking numbers with the boss, you need to be up on your market worth.  Talking to friends or colleagues in different positions and professions isn’t going to generate an accurate representation.  If you don’t have this information at your fingertips, refer to our salary survey or contact us to get an up-to-the-minute figure to take into your meeting.

Keep track

If your company reviews salaries on an annual basis, be mindful of how effective you are throughout the year so that you can present a really convincing case when it comes to proving your worth.  Keep track of how effective you have been: agency PRs need to be tuned into accounts that they’ve grown or won; in-house employees should be ready to show how they have been instrumental in the firm’s increase in quality media coverage or made savings on the budget.  You need to have a powerful case to present – in a large company, your accomplishments from 6 months earlier could easily be forgotten, so be vocal about your triumphs!

Timing, timing, timing

If you have the option of choosing when to have a conversation about a pay rise, do it when you’ve done something that you feel has added value to the company.  You’ll feel better about yourself which will come across positively in the discussion.  An employer will want to hang onto to workers who show not only talent but also self-belief and commitment to their role.

Be confident

For most people, money talk is uncomfortable territory. If you work for a company that doesn’t take stock of employee salaries on an annual basis, it’s easy to let the discussion about a salary increase slide and you may find yourself taking home the same amount for a couple of years. You may start to question your value to the company and resent the lack of financial recognition. Don’t allow this to happen. It will show in the way you interact with your colleagues.  Bite the bullet and ask for a review. 

Take stock

You may not get the uplift you were hoping for but this doesn’t have to mean looking for something else.  Ask yourself what you value most about your job.  If the role fits with your values and offers you the opportunities you’re looking for then you’ll probably feel a lot better about the new salary deal once you’ve had time to process these thoughts.

At the end of the day, it’s all about knowing your worth and presenting a valid case.  Good luck!

Salary Survey 2016