Increasing Your Earnings Potential at Work

My last blog discussed inflation increases, what that means to you, and potential ways to counter it. 

As mentioned in that blog, wage increases are only 2.1% annually to July; one way to counter this is to ask for a pay increase. 

Many people go about this in the wrong way. The below is a 3 step plan to get a pay rise. 


Job Description

Make sure you have a job description in place. The starting place for this, if you don't have a job description, is the list of roles and responsibilities you had when you applied for your job. If you don't have a job description in place, compile one, and agree it with your manager or CEO. This is your benchmark for success. You cannot say you have outperformed unless you have an underlying starting point for what performance looks like.  

Many organisations have set hierarchical levels (law firms, accounting firms etc); most of them stipulate you must be doing the job above you for at least 6 months before being promoted to that role.

Either way, outline your current job description, and the job description for the role above you. Demonstrate how you have met and succeeded your current role. Next note down how you are fulfilling the activities of the role above you. 


Plant the Seed: i.e set the conversation up

If you hit your boss or employer out of the blue with a request for a pay rise, it might come as a little bit of a shock. Slowly line the conversation up, over time. Bring them your list of roles and responsibilities and show them what you are doing. It's often hard for managers to fully see what their juniors are doing. Don't be pushy, but keep a weekly list of everything you have achieved or accomplished to date. On a regular basis, just make sure they have an email, or a note demonstrating everything you have achieved that week in your role. 

Make sure you have a regular 1-2-1 with your manager. Put time in their calendar for these discussions; Monday morning or Friday afternoon tends to be the worst times. When your manager is less busy is the ideal time; their time is more important that yours and you have to be accommodating and mindful of that. 


Know Your Company

Your company needs to have money in order to give you a pay rise. Is your company in good financial health?

  • Are they generating profits?
  • Are they paying dividends?
  • Do they have cash on their balance sheet?


If you work for a PLC all this information is readily available from your companies website. Alternatively, logging on to the Companies House Beta version and using the search function to find your company provides information on your Company. This information covers prior periods; you ideally want the annual accounts. This lists revenue, costs, profits etc. 

Compare last years company performance with this years performance and ask "is your company performing well?" If it's not, it's not a good time to ask for a pay rise as your company is not cash rich. Ask for non financial benefits, until the company is more liquid (i.e has more cash). Benefits can include additional holidays, working from home, increased training and development. 


Other Points:

  • Entitlement: just because you turn up to work every day does not make you legally entitled to a pay rise. You have to be performing additional roles and responsibilities and be a dependable asset to your company. If you are regularly off on sickness with no apparent reasons, take extended lunches and breaks, work your strict hours and not go above and beyond it's difficult for your company to see the reason to pay you more. 
  • Do not compare your salary to "Bob, in the cubicle next to yours, salary"; I don't care how you got a hold of it, benchmark it externally. 
  • Emotional: do not get emotional in your meeting. Money is tied to self worth and its hard to take a lack of pay rise without an emotional response. If you do not get a pay rise, request that your manager outlines how you get to the next level, and the gaps that need to be filled. Document this in an email, and send it back to your manager. The importance of writing everything down as and when it happens is core. 

Photo from the beautiful

Wee Scot Finance