Increasing your earned income as an employee isn’t an easy task. Short of blackmailing your boss, sometimes it can seem as if there’s no other option than to be stuck at your current level of pay. However, there are some simple ways that you can give yourself a fighting chance of increasing your monthly take home. Whether you choose to stay put at your current job, or move elsewhere, you can make 2017 the year that your professional value goes up.
Increasing earned income staying in your current job
The key here is to be able to give your employer a reason to increase your salary. That could be anything from highlighting skills they may not have known about, to acquiring new ones.
Now: Ask for a pay rise
Particularly for women in the workplace, one of the most significant factors in not getting a pay rise is simply not asking for it. Although sectors vary, a Association of Accounting Technicians study found that 61% of women have never asked for a pay rise. So, if you feel like you haven’t had a salary increase recently, it might simply be because you haven’t asked.
In the next month: Renegotiate your salary
When it comes down to the issue of pay, it’s often the case that some negotiation is required. Start by doing some research into the top salary bracket for your skills and experience – if your position at another company pays more that’s a useful negotiation tool. Build a business case for a promotion or pay rise – what have you done over the past 12 months that might justify it or what value can you add in the next 12? Have a specific figure in mind and be prepared to justify it.
Over the next six to 12 months: Increase the value of your CV
If you’ve researched the market and found that you don’t have the skills to justify a pay rise then acquire them. Look in to the additional training your employer offers and sign up for any courses that will benefit your journey. It may be that you need to take the course outside of work. There are plenty of low cost training options, from the Open University, to local colleges. Whether you’re adding languages, the ability to code, marketing qualifications or professional development, all are ammunition in the fight for better pay.
This year: Take your breaks and holidays
Studies show that people who take their allocated time off – 11 days a year or more – are more likely to get a raise or a bonus than those who take less. So, if you’re putting in the hours but you’re not seeing anything in return perhaps you need to stop. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that being overworked severely impacts your ability to do a good job – to get noticed you need to be fresh.
Increasing earned income by moving to a new job
Moving to a role with a new employer always offers the opportunity to negotiate a salary. However, earning more than your last role is certainly not a given. In fact, sometimes the pay grade can swing the other way. So, how do you make sure that you get better paid in a new job?
It’s important to make sure you’re asking for a salary that’s appropriate for the role you’re applying for. Otherwise, you won’t just feel slightly foolish but you might also jeopardise your chances of being hired. Speak to a recruitment consultant to see what other similar positions are offering. Ask them what they’d expect the top starting salary to be for someone of your level.
Hiring managers will rarely offer much of a salary increase – if anything – without being prompted. That means you’re going to have to ask. It’s a good idea to have three figures in your head at this stage – the acceptable salary, the attractive salary and the dream salary. Start at the top and see how close you can get to it.
The best salaries go to the people businesses really want to hire. How can you set yourself apart from the competition for a new employer? Review your CV and see what additions you could make that will ensure you stand out. That could be launching your own social responsibility initiative, getting a tech qualification or acquiring management or presentation skills. There is always a way to put in the extra effort to show your new employer why you’re worth the extra investment.
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read more about Alex Hartley