Over my career I have helped many people get a pay rise. I have also received help to get a pay rise myself when a manager realised that I was not paid what he perceived I was worth. I want to talk about what I have found works and the choices you needed to consider if you plan on getting yourself a pay rise.
First let me tell you about someone, let’s call her Meg, who worked at the company I was working at in the early 2000s in Auckland. She was an outstanding performer and was always learning new skills. I am not sure how it came about, but we were talking, and she said she wanted a pay rise. So, I said she should ask her manager for one, but make it easy for her manager to say yes. She asked, how can I do that? I said she should do the following.
Go and find a range of job listings that had the same or similar skills to what she was using to do her job, I recommended that she find at least three in a similar market to what we were working in. Once she had this, I suggested she work out the amount she wanted to be paid and then also decide on a stretch ask as well.
I explained that when you ask a manager out of the blue that you want a pay rise, you need to show hard evidence to the manager as it makes it easier for the manager to say yes and justify it to their manager. Collect the evidence about your excellent work history and any customer or colleague recommendations. With that information in hand, (printed out) organise a meeting to discuss your pay rise.
Know your worth
Learn to Negotiate
Do not go for a pay rise ever without first learning to negotiate. Do not be lazy here, learn this skill and it will impact every part of your life forever as well as your ability to negotiate for your next pay rise. For this, I recommend that you read two books and as a rule re-read these books every few years to learn this life skill.
If you can only read one of these starts with the first one, however the second one gives you practical ways to set your “price”.
I have heard many people say that the offer made is not negotiable. That is bullshit 💩, that stinks. Everything in life is negotiable.
Play to where the Puck is going
“I skate to where the puck is going” – Wayne Gretzky
I like this quote. To me it translates to “Are you playing to where you want to go in your career?” Are you learning skills based on what you want to do and where the market is going?
This is very important as where there is scarcity there is opportunity. There are always fewer resources and skilled people in the new growth area of technology, so understand what the new technology is and learn those skills to complement your existing ones.
Experience does not trump new skills and knowledge. I have interviewed and rejected applicants that had over five years’ experience in Dynamics because in that five previous years they had not passed a single certification nor could they demonstrate that they had learned new technology skills that were now part of our industry.
At a minimum you should be learning everything you can about Artificial Intelligence (AI) as it is starting to and will continue to affect every part of our future work in IT.
Check for Gotcha’s
I want to say one thing here about employment contracts. When an employment contract is put in front of you, you can be all excited about a new job or role and think you do not need to read the contract. Or you may have had a hiring manager make a verbal undertaking to you that is not written in the contract. IF IT IS NOT IN THE CONTRACT IT DOES NOT EXIST!!!!!
I have had managers make such undertakings to me. Things like “I will look after you”, “trust me”, “I have your back” only to find that weeks later that person was no longer my manager and no longer with the company and all their verbal promises were worth nothing.
Also, a few other things I have seen sting people in employment contracts are as follows:
- TLAs or Training Loan Agreements – this is where an employer puts a monetary value on the training they give you, and you have to work it off over time or pay it out if you leave before the agreement ends.
- If you decided to resign from a company and take another job, I have seen crazy long notice periods in contracts. If you are a consultant, anything more than four weeks’ notice is excessive.
- Restraint of trade Make sure you know what they mean and the impact of them if you decided to leave and work for someone else.
Poker Chips ♠️ ♥️ ♦️ ♣️
Here is a metaphor I like to use when considering the negotiation of your compensation. Consider your compensation like poker chips at a casino 🔴 🔵 ⚫ 🟤.
Each chip is something you can negotiate with.
I see many people try and only play with one chip and that chip is $ money, how much they will be paid, but it is better to look at it more as a compensation package, and each chip is something you can negotiate on as part of your package.
Here is a list of ‘chips’ to consider and I would love you to add to comments if you can think of more.
- Sign-on bonus
- Additional stock options
- Training courses
- Events (expenses covered)
- Community engagement
- Extra holidays
- Paid parking spot (if not supplied)
- Gym membership
- Relocation costs
In my employment contracts, I have always included two international conferences per year as my ongoing training with my employer. I have had this written into my contract. In my last company, I had three different managers, and all of them said, “times are tough we can’t send you”, and I was able to point to my employment contract and say we have a legally binding agreement and off I go to the conference, all expenses covered.
Remember IF IT IS NOT IN THE CONTRACT. IT DOES NOT EXIST!!!!! So, once you have played your chips make sure they are written into your contract!
However sometimes all the above does not work when seeking a pay rise. Especially with large companies, an amount of money is made available to managers for pay rises once per year, and it is a pitiful amount that they need to spread around the team.
In this situation you need to find a new company to work for and change employer. Statistically it is the fastest way to get a substantial pay rise. Often when you get offered that new job and hand in your resignation, your current employer will offer to match or pay more than the new company.
The answer should be a clear Hell NO; if they did not value you before, they are NOT going to value you now.
I hope you have found this helpful.
Oh, and remember Meg, she got her pay rise as expected.