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Are you getting paid what you're worth?

Optimus Search03 January 2020

Optimus Search

The start of a New Year and Decade is always a great time to start afresh, re-evaluate your worth and ensure that you get paid what you deserve. 

Recent Data by jobs website Adzuna saw the average advertised salary reach almost £35,000 at the beginning of 2019, the highest level seen all year.

But understandably many of us find it awkward and tricky to ask our boss for a pay rise.

However, if you do brave this tricky topic, and most importantly deliver it in the right way you could find a nice healthy boost to your monthly payslip.

A national newspaper recently quizzed three recruitment and career experts what they felt was the best way to get a raise in 2020 and whether the new year is really a good opportunity to ask for one.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna said: "With the start of a new year and a new decade, there’s no better time to ask for a pay rise.

"If you believe you’re working above your pay-grade, are making a valid contribution to the business and are consistently doing good work, then why not ask to be rewarded for it?"

In contrast, James Reed, chairman and chief executive of jobs' site REED, suggested that there's never a particularly good or bad time to get a pay rise, but more importantly, the timing of ‘when you ask’ for one is key.

He said: "If you can tell that your company is going through a tough patch financially and people are being laid off, it’s probably a bad time to be asking for a pay rise.

"But similarly, the opposite is true if things are going well and your company is winning more business – there’s rarely a better time to ask for a pay rise than off the back of winning a new project.

"But, the fact of the matter is; if you feel you deserve a pay rise, then you should ask for one."

As Mr Reed writes in his new book "Life’s Work: 12 Proven Ways to Fast Track Your Career", you have the power to shape your career and pay to reflect what you want and need.

So if you’re starting the New Year feeling like you’re not getting remunerated at the right level, or that your contributions are being under-paid, follow these expert tips to boost your chances of getting a welcome salary rise in 2020.

1. Research and evidence is KEY

Firstly, it’s vitally important you evaluate and demonstrate the reasons why you feel you deserve a pay rise.

For this, you'll need to be prepared with suitable ammunition and highlight the ways you have gone ‘above and beyond’ at work and use it as evidence.

This can be anything from delivering on key projects to the extra hours you put in after-hours or over the weekends when necessary.

Darain Faraz, careers expert at LinkedIn, wholeheartedly agrees and suggests making a comparison of where you are now to the last time you had a salary review in order to show how you’ve grown in the role.

It sounds incredibly obvious, but it’s also worth looking at job adverts for similar roles to your current level and then comparing what these equivalent roles pay in terms of salary.

Darian added: "January is when we see a spike of job activity across our platform so it's a really good time to check out lots of new jobs.

"This process may flag up certain skills or experience that you might not be able to currently tick off on your CV, which could potentially be the cause of not getting a raise."

2. Timing is EVERYTHING

Once you established what realistic salary to ask for, choose the timing of your meeting with the boss very carefully.

Mr Reed said: The business you work for is unlikely to give you more money if it’s already going through financial difficulties, so timing is everything.

"Showing that you understand business pressures will put you in good stead when asking for more money."

But avoid waiting for too long if your yearly review is months away.

He added: "In terms of timings while asking for a pay rise during a performance review is a natural fit, don’t limit yourself to this if your next one is months away.

"Instead, take the leap this new year and proactively approach your manager if you think you have enough of a case to present."

3. Confidence goes a long way

It sounds like an obvious statement, but confidence is also key when it comes to asking for a pay rise, said Mr Reed.

In a recent REED survey of 3,000 UK workers, 12 per cent said they were scared of their boss or worried that they'd be turned down.

You can avoid coming across nervous by arming yourself with facts, speaking slowly and deliberately, making/keeping eye contact and by avoiding nervous actions such as fidgeting and giggling.

4. Blow your own trumpet

Another great technique to increase your chances of getting a pay rise is by championing yourself and the work you do.

Mr Faraz said: "We have all known someone in the office who sings their own praises a bit too loudly, but this is something you could actually learn from, you just need to frame it in the right way.

"By making sure your colleagues and managers are aware of the great work you’re doing and the effort you’re putting into it, it will make them more likely to recommend you for a bigger challenge which may, in turn, result in a raise."

You could also consider sharing updates on networks and websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and it will demonstrate that you’re proud of the work you’re doing and that you’re invested in your company both personally and professionally."

5. Expand and develop your skillset

Expanding and developing your skillset will help you stand out from the crowd and increase your value, said Mr Hunter.

"There are plenty of ways to do this, so make sure you take up any onsite training that may be available or take on new projects to help build your experience, as doing so will only look positive in the eyes of your employer.

“When it comes to the skills that are most valued by employers, an increasing number are looking for their staff to have good ‘soft skills’, such as communication, problem-solving and negotiation.

"Our data shows 24 per cent of job specifications ask for communication skills, but only 17 per cent list this skill on their CV.

"So it’s a good idea to emphasise your proficiency in these areas when asking for a pay rise."

6. Be prepared for a negative answer

If you've prepared your case and the answer is still "no", try not to take it personally.

Sometimes companies don't have the money to approve pay rises, or it could seem unfair to other employees.

If that happens, "use this as an opportunity to follow up and ask what more you need to do to earn one," said Mr Reed.

This will demonstrate to your employer that you're keen and committed to succeed within the business as well as achieving your own personal goals, added Faraz.

7. The last resort - Get a new job!

If your boss continuously rejects your request poor a pay rise, and you're still convinced that you are underpaid, now might be the right time to look for a new challenge.

Before you start the process make sure that you spend some time perfecting your CV (or multiple Cvs) and polishing up your interview techniques so that you can start your job search in earnest.