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Ask SheCanCode Anything: “How to ask for a pay rise?”

Asking for a pay rise

ARTICLE SUMMARY

This week, we’re talking about pay rises - how to ask for one, how to showcase your achievements and how to deal with rejection. To help us answer these questions is coach, Fiona Hatton.

AS PART OF SHECANCODE’S MISSION TO MOTIVATE, INSPIRE AND SUPPORT WOMEN IN TECH, WE’VE LAUNCHED OUR ASK US ANYTHING SERIES WHERE YOU CAN GET ANSWERS TO YOUR CAREER QUESTIONS.

We hope this open forum will give our community an opportunity to voice their worries, concerns and problems in a safe space. And possibly help others in similar situations at the same time!

Fiona Hatton

This week, we’re talking about pay rises – how to ask for one, how to showcase your achievements and how to deal with rejection. To help us answer these questions is coach, Fiona Hatton.

Fiona believes that we all deserve to live a great life, but what great looks like changes over time and sometimes we find ourselves stuck living in a way that isn’t right for us anymore. Yoco Studio’s unique blend of yoga and coaching can help you to feel happier and more content by opening up possibilities and overcoming barriers in your way. 

Join the Yoco Studio community for free resources, useful tips and offers – a wellbeing toolkit to help you make changes and be kind to yourself.

ask for a pay rise

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR US – WHETHER IT BE ABOUT WORK RELATIONSHIPS, GAINING CONFIDENCE, OR TAKING THE LEAP INTO TECH – YOU CAN ASK US ANYTHING.

Hello Team SheCanCode,

I’ve been in my current role for 5 years now and having successfully navigated remote working during the pandemic, my company is now requesting that we return to the office.

Whilst I did enjoy my time working from home, I’m not upset at the return – but I am starting to feel that my pay doesn’t reflect my value at work.

I haven’t had a pay increase for over three years – and I haven’t asked for one as I didn’t think the pandemic was the best time to put myself out there. But I work hard, have gone above and beyond on projects and I think I’ve proven myself as a reliable, team player.

So my question is how should I go about asking for a pay rise?

Thanks so much,

Salary Increaser


HELLO SALARY INCREASER,

Oh, so many people will be pleased you’ve asked this question! When someone’s been in a role for a while, like you have, the job itself can change massively without being reflected in salary. It’s not always an easy topic to approach, but getting prepared beforehand can really help. Here are some ideas to consider.

LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS

The process of asking for a pay rise varies across sectors and organisations. To get started, make sure you know how it works where you are. Questions to ask include:

  1. Are there pay bands for my role and, if so, where am I on the pay band? If you are at the top of the band, there might not be much scope for an increase. What other options do you have? And if there aren’t pay bands, are there similar roles in your organisation that you can compare your salary to?
  2. What’s the process for implementing a pay increase?  Knowing this from the outset is really useful. Find out what you need to demonstrate and to who.
  3. Who has successfully asked before? Speaking to someone who’s been through the process – and come out the other side – will give you insight into what’s expected from you and what you’ll need to demonstrate.
  4. What reasons could they have for saying no? Look at what’s happening in your organisation and the wider sector. In the current economic climate it could, on the face of it, seem that asking for a pay increase is pointless. That’s not the case, but anticipate what the blockers could be, and decide how you’re going to address them.

HOW MUCH WILL YOU ASK FOR?

With your current pay band (if you have one!) in mind, think about the level of pay increase you think is reasonable. 

  1. What are similar roles in similar sectors paying? If you can demonstrate that you’re not being paid the market rate, you’ll be in a stronger position. Think about where you could get that information – job adverts don’t always list salary, but recruitment consultants have a good idea of what’s normally offered.
  2. How much would you like and what are you prepared to accept? This will help with your negotiations.
  3. What will you do if they say no? You do have options, and it’s good to think about what they are before you start.

YOUR VALUE TO THE ORGANISATION

Your salary hasn’t increased in the last three years – the more you can show that you are contributing more than you were then, the better. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How has your role changed since your last pay increase? Think about the new responsibilities you have and where you have added value. 
  2. How have you changed in the last three years?  Make a list of the new skills, experience or qualifications you bring to the role and how you are already using them to benefit your organisation.
  3. What are you prepared to add to your workload for an increase? Not an easy one to consider, but it could be worthwhile thinking about extra responsibilities you’d be happy to take on.

ON THE DAY

Give yourself the best chance to secure the pay increase you’re after by considering:

  1. Who needs to be involved? Is this something to discuss with your line manager in the first instance, or should you be including others?
  2. What’s the best format and timing? Face-to-face can be much more personal – but depending on who needs to be involved, this could mean you’re waiting for longer than you’d like to. Are you prepared for that? And if not, what alternatives could you try?
  3. Do you need to prepare your line manager? Some people respond better if they’re given a bit of warning, others won’t. Consider how your manager likes to work, and how they’d like to receive this information.

AND THEN…

  1. When are you likely to get a decision? Waiting can be difficult, but even more so if you’re expecting a quick answer and actually it’s likely to take a couple of weeks or more. Knowing when you’ll hear can make that time a little easier.
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