With just a couple of months to go before the end of the financial year, many employers are working on budgets for the next quarter as well as setting up yearly reviews with their staff.  But before you walk into your next performance or pay review it might be a good idea to consider your employment strategy for the next 12 months. The cost of living continues to rise yet wages are not increasing at the same rate.  If winning the lottery or marrying a billionaire is out of the question, then finding a way to get more money in your back pocket could be on the agenda. So how does one bite the bullet and negotiate a pay rise? 

Do your homework

In preparation for your sit down with your boss take some time to examine what you have achieved over the past 12 months (or however long it’s been since you had a pay or performance review) and consider how you might demonstrate this to your employer. It’s not about how long you have been with a company (though it helps), it’s about what you have contributed to the business.  Can you demonstrate how you have gone above and beyond to give value to the organisation?  Gather your supporting evidence so you can share this with your employer when you meet. 

Research the market and find out what is realistic in terms of pay for the role you are doing. Many workers either under value or over value their role.  Or they just accept the pay offered without question or negotiation. Do you have a niche skill or valuable talent and is it in high demand? If so you have more scope for negotiating a pay rise. If your role is not so specialised and you are easily replaceable you should consider this before you go into negotiations. You need to look at what makes your contribution unique. What have you brought to the role that isn’t in your job description? 

Keep your options open

Keep an open conversation and stay open minded. It is good to have a figure in your mind, but be prepared to negotiate. You might not be offered the pay rise you were after but perhaps you will be offered a new role with the prospect of a pay rise in the new future, or scope to re-address pay in the next six to twelve months. Perhaps working a fewer hours each week or being given more flexible work hours might be on offer instead of a pay rise.  This can be more valuable than a wage increase to some! 

By asking for a pay rise or a review you are also giving yourself the opportunity to present to your boss all the wonderful work you have done over the past 12 months. While a pay rise may not necessarily be feasible this financial year, if you continue to demonstrate your hard work and productivity, the following year’s review may go a little more in your direction. 

Timing is important 

Consider the performance of the business before you ask. If you are aware that the company is enjoying steady profits you will be more likely to be supported in your request for a pay rise. If you know the markets are down, profits are low and people are being made redundant, then it probably isn’t the right time to ask.  If you have recently picked up more responsibilities and your scope of work has expanded or you can demonstrate a recent increase in efficiency or revenue generation through your work then the timing could be perfect. 

Also, the timing needs to be right for you and your boss personally too. Pick a time when your boss isn’t busy and stressed and consider what time of day is best. You personally should be feeling confident and positive. If you are in the middle of a deep depression feeling like everything in your life is falling apart, your desperation and despair will be palpable and probably not work in your favour.  Your mindset matters.  When we foster a sense of self-worth and allow ourselves to feel worthy of wealth we are more likely to bring it forward into our lives. 

Look ahead

If you really feel you are going above and beyond to contribute to a company but are not being recognised or rewarded for it, and your yearly pay review does not yield any positive reinforcement or acknowledgement, perhaps it is time to reassess your place of employment. Don’t threaten to leave if you don’t get a pay rise though, that won’t get you any brownie points. If you are considering finding a new job you don’t want to burn your bridges.

You may be happy with your place of employment and be on track towards your dream role. If you are just starting out, it might be premature to ask for a pay rise. But if you do want a bit more cash consider taking up a part time job to supplement your existing income. A job in a retail store on a Thursday night and a Saturday morning could see you earn up to an extra $200 a week while you bide your time working towards Employee of the Year in 2023.

We often mistakenly associate our own value with the income we earn. But this is setting us up for disappointment and low self esteem. No matter how much you earn, you cannot put a price on your value. For you are priceless! So while it is fabulous to work toward a pay raise, be sure to remember your ultimate worth is not tied to your income. 

Prosperity and wealth often reveal themselves in subtle ways easily missed or appreciated. Having an attitude of gratitude puts us in good stead to witness these gifts but also helps us to attract more of the same. As you consider the value you get from your work life don’t forget to acknowledge any richly rewarding experiences and connections that on reflection may be just as valuable as the money in your pocket. 

Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.  

16 May 2022