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How to get that pay rise

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Chief Executive Heather Jackson shares her top tips for negotiating a pay rise

There are few more nerve-wracking moments in life than asking for a pay rise, but according to Heather Jackson, Founder and Chief Executive of The Two Percent Club (a high-level women’s network with the objective of increasing the proportion of women operating at the highest level in business) asking for a raise doesn’t have to hurt.

First and foremost, be aware of what you have achieved, be confident and believe in yourself. Ask for a meeting with your line manager, and go prepared:

1. Be Prepared

Are pay rises awarded at certain times of the year? Are they linked to your performance review? The answers to these questions will vary from company to company, but generally you will find the information in your contract/handbook. If in doubt, ask HR or your line manager. Use the answers to these questions to make sure you ask for a pay rise at the right time.

2. Consider working towards a more senior role

If you are happy to take on more responsibility in order to get a pay rise, speak to your line manager about possible promotion opportunities that may be on offer and discuss with them how you might work towards moving into a more senior role.

3. Create a positive development plan

Once you have the feedback from your line manager as well as their support, come up with a positive development plan and stick to it. The majority of companies will set such a plan for you via annual performance reviews (linked to appraisals). Generally, your first review of the year will be to discuss the key objectives for you to achieve within the following 12 months, and a further meeting at the six month interval will review how you are working against your objectives and ensure you are on track. The six month meeting should also reflect any support/training you may need to achieve these goals. Your final review at the end of the year may well tie into your pay review. Although it is good practice to follow this appraisal/review process, if you find out your company doesn’t have anything formal in place, there’s no reason why you can’t request a review.

4. Review your job description

If you have taken on a more senior role naturally, and have not yet been financially recognised but feel you should be, make a note of what you are doing over and above your job description, showing key initiatives you have developed to improve business or save the company money. For example, if you have played a big part in bringing in a new client, or suggested a cheaper supplier, keep a record of this and mention it when asking for a pay review.

5. Do your research

Get feedback from key individuals that may back your case. For example, there may be times when you have had a thank you e-mail or if you have particularly helped another manager, keep note of it. It is also important to collate salary information on comparable jobs. There are many salary checkers available online, but do make sure you only look at your own specific sector. Finally, salary information is confidential so remember to be discreet – don’t demand this information from other members of your team!

Once you’ve collected all this information and feel ready to approach a pay review, ask for a meeting with your line manager. If you feel uncomfortable speaking to your line manager, request a meeting with HR in the first instance.

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