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How to Ask for a Pay Rise in Your Graduate Job

Careers AdviceGraduate JobsMoneyTips and Advice

It can be tempting to present your employer with an ultimatum if they don’t offer you what you want. However, voicing the good old ‘I need this pay rise or I’m leaving’, means that you must be prepared to execute it.

Asking for a pay rise in your graduate job can feel awkward, especially when you’re just starting out in your career, but it’s a skill everyone should learn. You might not be comfortable talking about money, let alone negotiating with your employer how much you’re worth.

GRB’s Co-Founder, Dan Hawes, asked on LinkedIn: Have you ever asked for a pay rise? The results showed that 54% of people voted ‘No’ or ‘Yes and it wasn’t successful’. It got us thinking that maybe graduates don’t know how to ask for a pay rise.

So, how do you ask for a pay rise in your graduate job? Let’s jump into our top tips for knowing how and when to ask for a pay rise.

Read the Room…

First things first, assess the situation of your employer. Is there scope for a pay rise at this time? Think about whether they’re hiring new people or if they have laid of staff recently. If they’re letting staff go to reserve money, it might not be the best time to negotiate a salary increase.

On the other hand, this doesn’t always mean that you shouldn’t ask for a pay rise. Perhaps you have taken on more duties to cover for the loss of staff. Recognising the difficult economic time for the company whilst proving that you have stepped-up might just go in your favour.

Review Your Duties and Achievements

The strongest requests for a pay rise are backed up by reason.

Take a look at the job you were hired for, and note down all the extra duties you have taken on since you were hired (or since your last pay rise/promotion). Remember that you should be flexible to new duties in your job, but if you are working above and beyond what you were hired to do then it might be time to ask for a pay rise.

It’s also useful to bring up what you have achieved since joining the company. You can take these notes to your boss as a way of proving your value, and it acts as tangible evidence of how you are working above your pay-grade.

“Since taking on the role of Junior Consultant, I have taken on X,Y,Z. I have enjoyed taking on these new tasks, but I believe that I am now working outside the scope of my role. By doing X,Y,Z I have been able to achieve A,B,C , which has directly impacted the growth of the company. Considering this, I wanted to discuss how succeeding in these new tasks affects my pay?”

Know Your Worth

You should conduct research into how your salary relates to the wider market. Be realistic, collaborative and confident.

It is important to take into consideration your location, industry and job title when comparing Graduate Salaries online – it will help you feel more confident if you’re rehearsed in the industry standards.

There has been a recent surge in pay transparency, wherein employers and employees openly communicate about compensation. Now, we wouldn’t recommend asking your colleagues about they’re salary out of the blue, but if your company has an open dialogue about pay, you can definitely use this to your advantage.

“I have researched the salaries of other Junior Consultants in the area, along with the progression path at this company. Considering my experience and performance, I believe that I am working to the level of a Senior Consultant.”

Prepare Your Manager

Think about your boss’ schedule, and try to find a time that both of you won’t be under time pressures. You could email them summarising your request and rationale, and ask to have a formal meeting with them to discuss. This way, your employer isn’t blind-sided and they can take time to think about the reality of your request before needing to give you an answer.

Alternatively, your company might have a strict structure for getting a pay rise in your graduate job – in this instance, it’s a good idea to remind your manager of your success when the review comes around.

Leave The Ultimatums at The Door

It can be tempting to present your employer with an ultimatum if they don’t offer you what you want. However, voicing the good old ‘I need this pay rise or I’m leaving’, means that you must be prepared to execute it.

Essentially, offering an ultimatum is likely to give your employer ‘the ick’. They might interpret it as stubborn and aggressive. Try managing your expectations by thinking of a reasonable middle-ground: what would you would accept to continue in your current situation?

Consider bringing up the fact that you are working outside of your current role, and ask if there is someone that can help you complete the extra tasks while you work to your current level.

What If It’s a No?

Be prepared to fight your corner, but don’t go too far.

Ask your boss for feedback, and take on board what you need to develop to become eligible for a pay rise. While money might be at the forefront of your mind, you could negotiate benefits that would help you feel valued, such as a budget towards training opportunities.

If your boss has a reason for not approving your pay rise, make sure you know why. Take on their feedback, and start developing your skills to take the next step.

Enjoy reading this? You might also like 4 WFH Hacks For Graduates on the GRB Blog.

Thea recently graduated from the University of Sussex with a First in English Literature and Media. She now works in the Marketing department of GRB, and loves baking and spending time with friends.

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