How to ask for a pay rise in a cost of living crisis

Pay rise concept, salary increase

Although discriminatory pay is illegal in the UK, there may be some disparity in like-for-like positions because of old societal norms; women may not feel as comfortable when seeking pay rises or setting salary expectations.

Responsible businesses need to empower women to feel confident enough to have some of those conversations. And for those conversations to be acceptable. 

How do we enable people to be able to go and have those conversations? And are they going to be heard in the right way?

Highlight your value

Try to approach the subject when you’ve recently done something well. If you truly believe you deserve a pay rise, you probably do. Draw up a job specification of what you were employed to do and then draw one up of what you actually do.

Highlight the difference and draw attention to the value you bring to each of these things. But don’t expect to get a pay rise for something that adds ten minutes to your day – if you can demonstrate significant added duties or responsibilities then you can put a figure on what those areas bring into the business and therefore show how reasonable what you’re asking for actually is.

But don’t oversell

You are guaranteed to put your boss on the defensive and make a pay rise (or even a successful working relationship) much less likely if you oversell yourself or overstate your achievements, or compare salaries with your colleagues. Worse still, don’t make threats (to resign or do less work etc) or blame others for failures to achieve your goals.

Instead, focus on talking sensibly and realistically. Communicate your long-term commitment to the company, your belief in its mission, how much you enjoy your job and the people you work with. Illustrate ways in which you have delivered against – or even over and above – clear objectives.

Accept and learn from feedback

Successful negotiation is always about mutually beneficial outcomes. If your employer is left feeling that they’ve been forced to pay you more than you’re worth, you’ll be the one to pay the price in the end.

At the same time, you shouldn’t feel taken advantage of, so be prepared for some honest feedback if the pay rise isn’t forthcoming. Invite it, learn from it – or decide you don’t accept it. 

Chris ParkeAbout the author

Chris Parke is CEO and co-founder at Talking Talent, which helps organisations accelerate advancement for under-represented talent

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