Getting a pay rise

How do you get a pay increase when your boss doesn’t see it as part of their 12 month-plan? Our award-winning writer Adeline Iziren shows how sometimes a gamble can pay off

Nowadays just turning up for work in London and doing a good job is not enough to get you that much needed pay rise. You’ve got to go the extra mile. Especially if your boss is likely to turn round and say, ‘Sorry, I don’t have room in the budget’.

Jack Chapman, a leading salary coach and author of Negotiating your Salary reckons you can squeeze more money out of your boss by gambling.

‘I’m not advocating running a poker game in the cafeteria,’ says Chapman. ‘I mean betting your boss that you will meet or exceed a target: deadlines, sales quotas, customer satisfaction results and generate more ideas are just a few of things bosses will pay for.’

If you feel you’ve already been delivering the goods then why not go for as much as you think you can get away with and see if your gamble pays off. Economics graduate Greg Moore did and he walked away with a hefty £10,000 pay hike.

Greg knew he was already having an impact as a PR consultant with a leading firm and so seized the right moment to cash in on his credibility.

‘When I first started with the company I undertook a review of one of the divisions in the company, which wasn’t communicating well with the other divisions. My ideas were not taken on board, but as a result of using my initiative I won a discretionary award from the company.

‘I also made myself indispensable by covering people’s backs,’ recalls Greg. ‘My boss was about to do a presentation when his computer crashed and his overhead projector broke down. I managed to get him another computer and another projector and load the information on to it in time for the presentation which was less than an hour away.’

Greg left soon after getting a pay rise to run his own PR business but he returned to work for the firm on a consultancy basis and earned four times more than he got on staff.

Another way to gamble is by bargaining collectively with your colleagues. Tony Snow and two of his colleagues managed to elicit a £3,000 raise each from their boss, even though the budget was tight.

‘She asked us what we thought we were worth and we said £27,000. She offered £25,000, but we were resolute and justified why she should agree to our offer. In the end she did,’ says Tony, who works in publishing.

‘This move was a big risk because our contracts were coming to an end. She could have turned us down and not renewed our contracts.’

If a gamble doesn’t pay off in terms of a pay rise you can still boost your income. Think of all those hours spent at trade shows, conferences, late night meetings with customers. Instead of reducing your hourly rate by doing extra work and not getting paid for it, you could actually boost it by taking days off. An extra weeks holiday a year for overtime, for example, is the equivalent of a 2 percent pay rise. Better still you could negotiate a four-day week.

‘I worked with a client who was putting in 10 -14 hour days on the job,’ recalls Chapman. ‘I coached him to go to his supervisors and propose a four-day week of 10 hours each. They agreed.’

If you’re able to make a difference by saving your company a lot of money, you could be on course for a bonus. One female graduate told how her boss was facing criticism from his superiors because of the company’s high staff turnover. It wreaked havoc on profitability, since the organisation was constantly training new people and picking up the pieces when people left the company in the middle of a project.

The graduate, who works in human resources, made a difference by attending a seminar on employee retention, which her company paid for. She then began implementing some of the lessons she had learnt and staff turnover soon began decreasing. Her employers rewarded her with a one off bonus of several thousand pounds. All this when the company’s board had declared that pay rises would be frozen at three percent for the year.

So don’t be shy of using your initiative and proving your worth. It might just be the ace up your sleeve.

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