By Nisa Chitakasem, Founder of Career Consultancy, Position Ignition and author of Up Your Game, Up Your Pay! eBook.
Whatever your current salary is, it may or may not reflect the value you’re currently contributing to your employer organisation. The truth is a lot of us don’t even know if our salary is aligned with our contribution. Do you honestly know what the value of your contribution is in the context of the wider labour market? It could be that we’re not bothered by not knowing this, instead trusting that we’ll be automatically offered a raise when the time is right. But we need to stop right there and change our thinking. We shouldn’t be expecting a more fairer compensation package to just drop out of the sky like that.
It is very likely that no one will bother to align your salary to your market value if you yourself don’t commit to doing so. You need to be reviewing your pay at least annually. If your company isn’t doing this with you, start doing it for yourself.
Start by forming an idea of what your market value is. The only way to find out what our ‘going rate’ is, as it were, is to do the research. How much are other people in the same role as yours and working the same hours as you earning?
Find this out by asking colleagues who are in similar positions to you and who are comfortable talking about money with you. If you’re all on the same pay level, why not check with your equivalents at rival companies to see how much they’re earning? This will give you great insight into whether your organisation’s pay structures are in line with the rest of the market. If there’s no one with a similar role to you who you can talk about money with, call up an employment agency and ask them what salaries their clients are offering for posts like yours.
If we’ve done the research and come to the conclusion that we are entitled to a pay rise, how do we go about getting it? A good start is to be upfront and tell our boss what we want. At the same time we must be realistic in our demands. Researching our market value not only allows us to work out whether we need a raise, but also gives us boundaries in terms of what to ask for. Respect these boundaries and your employer is more likely to respect your request and take it seriously.
Finally, you need to be clear on what you’re willing to accept. How much are you willing to compromise? If the alignment between your salary and your value is anything less than what you consider to be perfect, will you walk? Of course, in most contexts, perfection doesn’t really exist and the issue of pay negotiation may well be one of those contexts. So you probably need to be prepared to allow a little leeway. At the same time, there comes a point where you must be prepared to walk. If your current company refuses to pay you anywhere near what you’re worth, understand that there is an employer out there who will.
By Nisa Chitakasem, Founder of Position Ignition, the UK’s leading Career Consulting Company, and co-author of Position Ignition eBook Up Your Game, Up Your Pay!
Nisa created Position Ignition to provide a place for people to go when they are experiencing a career dilemma. It’s a hub for career changers, job seekers and professionals who are interested in developing their careers.