Does your wallet look a little empty this week? If so, it’s no surprise given the recent news that wages have actually dropped 3% in the last ten years. On average, people are now £800 poorer each year – and earners in the 30-39 age bracket are now £2,100 worse off than those in the same group a decade ago. These are substantial drops in income which can affect everything from housing (lower wages have helped to create what’s known as generation rent) to saving for the future. But rather than lamenting the bad luck of people who were born too late to benefit from high pre-crash salaries, we’re going to run through some of our favourite advice for getting a wage boost.
Do your research
Before you can have a conversation about earning more, you need to find out what the going market rate for your role is: what are other people doing your job in your area being paid? Knowing the average rate gives you a clear baseline for discussions. If possible, try to collect a little bit of evidence (job adverts from other companies, for instance) as this will give you the opportunity to show your manager that what you’re asking for something reasonable.
Some companies have a standardised process, such as an annual review which is tied to potential pay increases. If you’re company operates this way then it’s unlikely you’ll convince them to suddenly make an exception just for you. Instead, plan around their system: make sure you come to your pay review prepared and ready to negotiate.
Keep a record of what you’re giving the company
Every time you ace a project or go above and beyond for your company, be sure to write it down somewhere as evidence of your value to the company. If you can sit down with your manager and show them the positive difference between what your job description expects you to do and what you’re actually doing, then asking for a pay rise can become far simpler. You should also think about what you can offer in return for better pay: what extra responsibilities would you be willing and able to pick up?
Loyalty doesn’t always pay
And if all this doesn’t work? Don’t be afraid to shop around. If your research has shown that you aren’t being paid competitive market rates, but your boss won’t do anything to correct it, then it may be time to consider going elsewhere. It is not uncommon for an employee’s wages to stagnate if they stay in the same role at the same company, compared to those who job-hop.
This doesn’t necessarily mean picking up additional responsibilities, either: if you’ve worked somewhere for several years without much of a raise then you may find that you’re able to get a substantial increase simply by taking a similar role elsewhere. Of course, if you’re planning to jump ship then it’s important to remember that there are a range of considerations: think about the full benefits package as well as the working environment before deciding what to do. Good luck!