How to get what you want out of your pay review

Pay riseIt’s that time of year again. Time for your annual (or bi-annual if you’re lucky) pay review.

The time that you simultaneously dread and get excited about, where you tell someone else your worth and ask them to put more money in your bank account every month. It’s an important day, let’s break it down.

So, there are three core things that make up an acceptable salary. Does it represent your ability, your experience, and is it competitive within your industry?

Ask yourself those three questions and answer them honestly. And I mean really honestly. If by the end of the process, you’re not happy with your salary, then don’t jump ship just yet. Use your pay review to your advantage. Rather than feeling nervous and going in and underselling yourself, use it to prove your value to your employer, and take charge of your career and its future direction.

As director and co-founder of digital marketing agency, The Audit Lab, I’ve been on both sides of the table when it comes to pay reviews. And I confirm that it isn’t as daunting as it seems. It’s really not the be all and end all; it’s an opportunity to prove your worth to the company and really feel valued as an employee. It’s important to be enthusiastic and determined but not expect too much. After all, you and your employer may be on the same page. You won’t know until you head through the door.

Here are a few things to consider in order to get what you want out of your pay review.

What will make your career better?

The end result of a pay review does not always have to be a huge pay rise. If, for example, you feel your career will be better with more flexibility, it may be a good option to take a smaller pay rise and suggest flexitime or permanent working from home days instead. Work-life balance and employee incentives are just as valuable, if not more, than a higher salary.

Show you deserve it

Showing why you deserve a pay rise, rather than just demanding one, is the best way to leave with your desired outcome. You may have completed a series of training courses, smashed your deadlines or excelled in a certain project, but do they know that? Your employer will be interested to see your progress and feel more compelled to offer you a pay increase if they know how valuable you are. You could produce a portfolio of your achievements to go the extra mile and show you eager you are.

Do your research

Get online and research the industry average for your role before you go in asking for too much or too little. Gather an idea of what other people with similar experience and job roles are earning and compare your salary expectations – remember to factor in location, too. It is always good to have a comparison, especially if your employer rejects your offer.

Make sure you feel appreciated

If you are going above and beyond to meet targets, training team members and working overtime, you may want to mention this when asking for your pay rise. After all, if your pay does not reflect your efforts, soon enough you may feel dissatisfied and start craving a new challenge elsewhere.

Match your progression plan

When you first started at your current employment, they may have given you an idea of what you should expect to be earning after the first few months or years. If your current salary does not match up to the progression plan and your employer may have given you false promises, this could be something to address in your pay review. And if you don’t have a progression plan, then now is the time to ask for one.

Push it real good

Don’t be afraid to push for more if you have earned it. If there is a management position available that you would excel in and feel more than capable of doing, then go for it! Employers will appreciate your enthusiasm and ambition to progress within their business. They may also prefer to promote someone who is already familiar with the company’s values and goals, rather than employing someone outside the business. It costs more to do this anywhere so remember to stress that!

Have realistic expectations

Don’t expect too much. It’s great to be enthusiastic, but don’t feel disheartened if you don’t get that big promotion or pay rise. Be open-minded, set boundaries for what you’d be happy or unhappy with and be realistic so you don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

Do your prep

Do plenty of preparation beforehand and be clear about what you are aiming for. Present a clear progression plan to your employer to show you are prepared and determined to reach your goals. However, if you get your offer rejected, don’t panic! Ask how you can work towards the pay rise you desire and set some SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, recordable, time-bound).

Your salary doesn’t just pay the bills; it determines how valuable you feel to a business, as well as represents your progression and experience. Not only is it important to bring home a competitive salary, but also to make sure your career is heading in the right direction. A pay review is the perfect opportunity to take control. It’s a great time to discuss employee incentives that would work for you to ensure a positive work-life balance, as well as a higher salary. A pay review is actually beneficial for your employer too, so be open minded, confident and get what you want.

Claire CromptonAbout the author

Claire Crompton is the Co Founder and Director of digital marketing agency, The Audit Lab. Claire has a passion for communication, a strong commercial focus and appetite to deliver consistent results for all clients.


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