So you think you're worth more?

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With many organisations struggling to attract people with the necessary level of skill and experience in the current market, talented professionals are very much empowered. Hiring managers are eager to bring in people who can add business value, and existing employers are desperate not to lose them.

The upshot is that the most valued employees have a clear opportunity to boost their earnings. They can either move to another organisation that is willing to pay them more than they currently earn, or they can attempt to negotiate a better deal with their existing employer.

If you are looking to avoid upheaval, the latter option may be preferable. Particularly if you enjoy your job, and are developing professionally with your existing organisation, it may not make sense to move right now. But that does not mean you should settle for your current wage if you think you are worth more.

  • Retaining talented employees

Employers are acutely conscious of the need to keep hold of their best workers. Staff attrition hurts organisations - it hampers productivity, impacts on morale and creates onboarding costs when new people are hired. As such, business leaders try to do all they can to retain valued employees

With 49 per cent of HR directors having seen a rise in voluntary turnover in the past three years, and many organisations being hit by people leaving, now could be a good time to negotiate a pay rise. The market at present is playing into the hands of talented professionals, given that there is a shortage of skilled workers in many roles.

Consulting the Robert Half Salary Guides should give you some indication of what you could earn on the open market, should you choose to apply for another role. Employers also have access to the same information, and as such, should have a clear idea of what the going rate is for someone with your skills set.

  • How strong is your negotiating position?

The market may be conducive to salary negotiations, but ultimately, the likelihood of you securing an improved deal will depend on how valued you are by your employer. Understanding where you fit within your organisation, and what management think about your contribution, is important when it comes to negotiations.

If you are deemed to be invaluable to the company, discussions about a pay rise should be fairly straightforward. It is simply a case of sitting down with your employer and making a case for an increase in salary. You will still need to explain why you should earn more, but the chances are, your bosses will agree with you.

On the flip side, if your employer thinks you are underperforming in your current role, or would be easy to replace - potentially with somebody who is better at their job - you may find it much more difficult to bargain. Employers are eager to retain workers where possible, but they also want to avoid paying people more than they are worth.

So if you are contemplating asking your employer for more money, make sure you do so on the back of good work, at a time when your personal stock is at its highest. The more valued you are by your employer, the greater the chance you will secure the deal you are hoping for.

  • Preparing for negotiation

Before you enter into negotiations with your employer, decide upon a level of pay you are willing to accept. Also, consider whether you would accept flexible benefits in lieu of additional salary. Information from the Robert Half Salary Guides will provide context for your negotiations - you can find out how much the high, mid and low earners are taking home in your profession each month.

It makes sense to ask your employer for slightly more than you are willing to accept, as they will usually make a lower offer. This is all part of the bargaining process as you try to arrive at a figure which is acceptable to both parties. However, avoid making totally unrealistic demands - employers may be less flexible if they think you are being unreasonable. 

When speaking to your employer about pay, ensure you are able to list examples of your achievements, and how your efforts contribute to overall organisational goals. It makes sense to prepare these in advance, using facts and figures where possible. Your employer will be fully aware of how valuable you are to the company - but you need to show you know what you are worth. This puts you in a strong negotiating position, and should help you to increase your earning capacity.



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