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How to get a pay rise in 2021

It’s fair to say this year isn’t the best when it comes to negotiating a pay rise.

Some businesses are struggling, while people have been laid off. However your work may still merit a pay rise, especially if you’ve taken on more responsibilities due to the current situation.


Ezra, one of the leading global providers of digital coaching, has provided a helpful guide on how and when you should ask for a higher salary.

Founder of Ezra, Nick Goldberg, commented: “While it’s a tricky time for employers due to covid, the world of work hasn’t entirely ground to a halt. If you think your work merits a pay rise, you’re well within your rights to ask for one. We recommend you give careful consideration to the timing of asking for a raise, while you need to act with confidence. It doesn’t make you unprofessional to ask for more money providing you do it in the right way. We all have bills to pay, so it’s only right for employers to recognise your market value in the workplace.”

Know your worth

To understand how much you’re worth you should do some research. Salary comparison websites, recruitment agencies and HR departments can all help you find out how much you should be getting, based on your occupation and experience. Depending on the job, you may have hard evidence to justify why you deserve a pay rise, such as sales targets reached, contracts signed, important projects and/or goals met.


Timing is everything

Knowing when to ask can sometimes be just as important as knowing how to ask. For example, it can be good to pick a time when everyone is in a good mood, such as after the successful completion of a project, or when signing a client to a big contract. If possible, find out when your company plans its budget, to ensure you’re asking at a reasonable time.


Confidence is key

A pay rise should be approached in a professional way, seeing as it’s considered a commercial transaction/negotiation by a company. Confidence is important in this type of conversation – speak slowly and deliberately and reinforce your points. While you can feel rude asking for a pay rise, it’s okay to want financial rewards for your hard work.


Be precise

Although it may seem counterintuitive, academic research has found that asking for a specific and precise salary can work better than a rounded-up figure. Overall, and based on the research, people offering a precise amount are seen as more informed about the value of their expertise. Being precise signals that you’ve done your homework.


Write it down

Before meeting with your boss or manager it’s often a good idea to provide a written copy of your case in advance. This shows you have done your research, considered your strengths and reasons for a pay rise, and proves you are prepared for the conversation. It’s also a professional way to operate.


Be clear and avoid ambushes

No employer is going to take kindly to being put on the spot, so try to make sure your boss or manager has plenty of warning of your intentions. It can be worthwhile to request a performance review and then make it clear you would like to talk about pay. You should be professional and discuss the subject in private.


The art of negotiation

The key to negotiating is confidence. Be consistent with your arguments and reasoning, present your case clearly and succinctly, and try not to be afraid of failure. If you are polite and reasonable that should boost your case.


Be realistic

It’s important to be aware of your sector, your company, general performance, and the wider context of the market to ensure it’s an appropriate time to ask. Many sectors have been devastated by covid in recent months. Therefore if you work in hospitality, tourism, travel, and entertainment, it might be considered insensitive to ask for a pay rise if the company is really struggling.


Have a back-up plan

It’s not always possible to get the pay rise you want. If it feels like the negotiation isn’t going anywhere, think about other things to strive for. This could include securing a more senior job title, especially if your current role has evolved over time. You could also ask for extra holiday days or development opportunities.


Always be prepared for a no

It’s worth mentally preparing for a no, especially in the current climate. Try not to get upset, annoyed, or disheartened – instead find out their reasons. If it’s based on your performance it’s a good opportunity to find out what you can do better. If you feel the decision is unreasonable, it may be worth looking at other companies in the same sector – fundamentally you’re not joined at the hip with your employer.


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