How to get a pay rise during a pandemic

If you are a job-seeker who is now thinking its time you are due a pay rise, you may feel like it’s impossible during the current pandemic. Around 730,000 people have lost their jobs in the UK since lock-down began in March. Official statistics have showed that this the largest quarterly slump in employment since 2009. To make matters worse, The Bank of England has warned that UK unemployment will spike at 2.5m by the end of the year, as firms cut jobs due to the shock of Covid-19.

We discuss how a pay rise is possible, where it all drills down to negotiating well with your employer backed up by knowledge and research. Knowing the market value of your role, quantifying your contribution to the company, and having a clear idea of what you want, is essential for a successful negotiation.

Without further ado let’s now explore this in more detail!

Be realistic

Pay can be an extremely sensitive topic, and it’s important to consider whether now really is a good time to ask and might be wise to look at your sector.

If you work in one of the sectors that have been devastated in recent months such as hospitality, travel, tourism and entertainment sectors then it may be insensitive to ask for a pay rise.

In addition, be mindful of any colleagues that are being made redundant or at risk of redundancy. As asking for a pay rise may come across as being inconsiderate or greedy, so not a good idea!

However, if you work in a sector that is doing well such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare and consumer goods then there is no need to hold off on your request.

Understand your value

To negotiate a pay rise from a strong position, you must clearly measure the value you add to the company. You can’t sell yourself for the best price if you don’t know what you’re worth.

Research the kind of salaries being offered in your field and your area, and if you aren’t being offered a similar amount then begin negotiating. Make note of any recent training or qualifications you have completed, as well as your key achievements and the measurable ways they have benefited your employer.

You should also take the time to highlight the key skills you possess that are in short supply, or otherwise entirely missing in your organisation. The more you can prove that you are essential to the business, the more likely you are to land that pay rise.

Prepare to negotiate

Failing to negotiate well with your employer can be the biggest mistake you can make when securing a pay rise. It is important to negotiate thoughtfully and tactfully especially in current circumstances – acknowledge the special situation we are in and don’t pretend the business is also affected by Covid-19 as this will make you appear delusional.

One of the top ways to negotiate is by having options – work on your alternatives by keep applying for jobs and going to interviews. Nothing is more empowering than having alternatives because the recruiter knows they may have to pay more to get you.

If you plan is to negotiate a pay rise within your current role, make it easy for your manager by being well prepared with a business case as to why you deserve a rise. This will in turn make it easier for your boss to get approval from their boss or others if necessary.

You need to clearly demonstrate that value you deliver for the company. For example, highlight the positive outcomes or material benefits you delivered for the company over the last 12 months.

In a tough climate like this it can be easy to lose sight of your own worth. Taking the time to prepare examples of your previous impact can help in a negotiation and help boost your own esteem.

Gather Information

Another thing that gives you power is knowing what the sector typically pays and what the company you’re working with typically pays. Proposing unrealistic salary ranges reveals a lack of understanding and preparation, whether this be too high or too low.

Discussing salaries can be a taboo however it is important to seek advice from peers and consult online forums and tools such as Glassdoor, Monster or PayScale to support individuals to deduce a salary range.

Know what to avoid

Whether you’re negotiating the salary for a new role or an existing one, there are some things to always avoid. One thing not to do is don’t plead on emotional grounds or get confrontational. It’s not a good idea to say you need the extra money to buy a new house or because a baby is a on the way.

You must prove that you deserve the extra money. Bursting into tears if your request is refused won’t work in your favour.

If you refuse, do it gracefully

While some people are struggling to find even one role just now, you may be one of the lucky ones who is able to pick and choose between roles. So, if you’re rejecting an opportunity keep one eye on the future. Whatever else happens, build a relationship with your counterpart. You never know when you will see each other again. If you decline an offer, never just say “no” – tell them that “right now is not a good time”.

You might recommend someone who would be a good person for the job, helping both the company and a friend. Negotiation by negotiation, you can build relationships that support you through this downturn and in the future.

Have some alternative asks

Of course, it may not always be possible to gain the rise or request the salary your ambition wants. So, if the negotiation feels like it’s going nowhere it may help to have a back-up plan.

You might want to explore other benefits with your new employer in the even that you are unable to secure a financial raise. For example, this could be a more senior job title, extra holiday days or development opportunities.

Making Employees Redundant: What Are The Alternatives? | Lighter HR

The current crisis makes a lot of things harder. But by forming a plan, having the data you need and preparing your negotiation strategy thoroughly, you can stand the best chance of securing the salary you deserve – no matter what the backdrop.

In summary, the top tips for asking for a pay rise are:

  • Know your value
  • Build your case with evidence
  • Ask at the right time
  • Be confident

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