Business Personal Finance

Monday 21 May 2018

Six ways to bag a pay rise this year - if there's no sign of one coming

To justify a pay rise, you must be able to argue your case
To justify a pay rise, you must be able to argue your case
Louise McBride

Louise McBride

It's the year of the pay rise - if the latest salary surveys have got it right. Irish salaries are set to rise by an average of 10pc this year - with increases of between 15pc and 20pc on the cards for specialist positions where employers are seeing skills shortages, according to a salary guide published by Morgan McKinley last week. More than nine out of ten bosses plan to increase salaries this year, according to Mercer.

However, should there be no sign of a pay rise coming your way, you need to ask for one. So what's the best way to secure a raise?

Depersonalise it

Approach your pay negotiations as if it were a business meeting. "Treat it as if you were going to a customer and putting your prices up - you have to be able to justify the pay rise," said Richard Eardley, managing director of the recruitment agency, Hays Ireland.

Do your research

To justify a pay rise, you must be able to argue your case.

"Find out what people in similar jobs to you are getting paid," said Mr Eardley. "Have an understanding of the market rate - for someone with your number of years experience."

Other things that should be taken into account when comparing you salary to others is the location and seniority of your job - and the sector you're working in.

Don't be a mercenary

You may be tempted to approach a rival company and secure an offer of a higher salary from it before trying to get a pay rise out of your boss - particularly if you have hit a brick wall when asking for an increase previously. However, this is unwise, according to Mr Eardley.

"It takes time and resources to do that - and it could also sour your relationship with possible future employers," said Mr Eardley. "If it's clear that you simply applied for a job with a rival so that you could get leverage with your current employer [when asking for a raise], that may not go down well with the rival."

This could work against you in the future should you decide to apply for a job with the rival at another time.

The approach could also lower your current boss's estimation of you - and lead to you losing out on future promotions.

"Your boss could take the view that you're only interested in money - rather than the actual job or company," said Mr Eardley. "Be careful not to use mercenary tactics - you may win the battle but you might not get the ball."

Sell yourself

Do a better job of selling yourself - and the raise you're seeking - should you have hit brick walls with your boss in the past.

Let's say you're on €40,000 and the market rate for your job is between €45,000 and €50,000.

"Approach your boss and explain what you've done in your job over the last year - and what you have contributed to the company," said Mr Eardley. "Say that you're looking for a pay rise and that what you're delivering for the company merits putting you on higher wage. Explain that you think you can deliver more for the company over the next year."

An implicit threat to leave will usually work better for you in the long run than putting an offer from a rival on the table.

"Explain that your boss would need to replace you were you to leave for a particular reason, that it would cost him €50,000 to replace you - but that you'd be happy to accept €45,000," said Mr Eardley. "Communicate the fact that you know what you can get elsewhere. Once you can communicate that, normally you can have a two-way conversation."

Think outside the box in big firms

It can be hard to secure a pay rise in large organisations or the civil service - because there are often pay scales in place. Your employer may be reluctant to give you a pay rise therefore because it would have a knock-on effect throughout the entire company. "Some employers have their hands tied when it comes to pay rises if there's a pay scale in place," said Mr Eardley. "Should you be unable to get a raise for this reason, see what other benefits you could get out of your company - and if there are any career development opportunities you could take up which would lead to financial rewards down the line. Find out what you need to do to navigate to the next pay grade."

Time it right

Your boss might not even entertain a request for a pay rise should you ask for it at the wrong time. "Don't go in first thing on a Monday morning - or last thing on a Friday afternoon," said Mr Eardley. "Wait until something good has happened - so that your boss is in a good mood. If your company has just signed a great deal, it could be a good time to approach your boss."

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