As we continue to emerge out of the pandemic many have used this period to re-evaluate priorities. Against rising cost of living, real wage growth has shown minimal growth, ONS reporting between September to November 2021 of 0.4%. A number of employers have had a period of pay freezes and negotiating a salary increase (which does not sit comfortably with many) may feel still feel insensitive.

However for those who already felt out of line with the market before the pandemic took hold or who have felt these uncertain times haven’t been appropriate to consider a career move, it is natural to question if they need to reconsider their worth, having put in particularly hard work to support their employer through this period.

CV Library reported January 2022 that 3 in 5 UK professionals are unhappy with their current salary. Despite this, the majority (54.6%) of respondents stated they had never tried to negotiate for a higher salary. 51% feared it would risk losing their job, while 40% replied that they didn’t want to be seen as too pushy and 31% saying they didn’t know how to negotiate. 29% of respondents said they were even less likely to ask for more money in 2021 than they were before the arrival of COVID-19.

However, the landscape has change with record numbers of job postings in the last six months and confidence among the UK workforce has grown as we enter 2022. For some, securing an offer externally may feel the best route to negotiate with your current employer, however, this requires a lot of time and investment by yourself, your ‘loyalty’ may come into question, and in the small world that is Pensions you may risk damaging a future approach to the external organisation you are about to turn down. Far better to have a sensible discussion first with your current employer, if this fails to improve your situation you can confidently explore and accept a more appropriate offer elsewhere

The key to negotiation is to be prepared. Be sure that you know what you’re worth and what you can bring to the business that will justify a higher salary. To successfully negotiate a salary increase, it’s vital that you take the time to think about what you want, and you check out the latest salaries on offer for your specific role. This will give you the supporting evidence that your expectations are realistic for the 2022 job market.

For many this period has been a chance to show their true work to their employer, demonstrating their adaptability, resilience and loyalty. Employers will no doubt have been particularly closely assessing business outgoings. With staffing costs typically sitting around the top in any period, many companies will no doubt have sought to remove roles outside core business requirements. In theory creating an opportunity to request a review of your own position and remuneration.

Whilst it may just feel too early and inappropriate to put in this request at this time, to avoid increasing levels of frustration it may be an idea to raise the idea with your employer, explaining your rationale but suggesting that this is something to more actively explore in a few months’ time, when further down the road to recovery.

In the meantime, you can put yourself in the best position possible to ensure as positive an outcome as possible from these discussions when they can take place.

Keep up the good work!

Even if you feel overdue a well-earned pay rise, continuing to demonstrate the value you are adding to the business despite this will put you in good stead when you do have the opportunity to sit down with your employer to review your performance and worth.

Know your worth

Being as informed as possible before you enter discussions with your employer, will give you the confidence to negotiate a salary you are going to be happy with, that is neither excessive, nor under market-rate which in the long-term could causes issues. Sammons Pensions Recruitment Annual Salary Survey is a useful tool to help benchmark, you can also speak to the team for more specific data to help support your argument.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t guarantee you will secure the pay rise you are seeking, so it is worth considering other options such as periodic pay rises outside of the typically annual cycle, increased annual leave, or performance-related bonuses.

You should receive a salary reflective of your role and experience. Your employer will also benefit from having a happy and engaged work-force so it is in their interest too that you speak up.

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