I’ve been working in a practice as an eye specialist for two years and have not had a pay rise. People who joined the practice at the same time as me have had a pay rise. I have worked hard and feel I deserve a pay rise. What should I do?
Some people are reluctant to ask for a pay rise because they fear it will lead to conflict and bad feelings with their manager. While this is a possibility, if handled properly negotiating for a pay rise does not have to lead to conflict and bad feelings, even if you are unsuccessful. If you feel you deserve a raise, don’t back away from the conversation.
You are selling the practice owner your time and expertise and you need to make sure you are paid the best possible price for that time and expertise.
Remember that pay rises are usually a percentage of your current pay, so if your current pay is lower than it should be, future pay rises will also be lower than they should be. There is a long-term knock-on effect of being underpaid.
Negotiating anything is difficult. Here are my tips:
Find out what other people in the practice who are doing the same role as you earn. Bear in mind they may earn more than you if they have been at the practice longer than you and have had annual pay rises each year. Find out what rises those who are doing the same role as you had last pay rise. Look at job adverts for your role and see what other practices are paying. Ask your friends and family who are working at other practices in your role what they are being paid. Have a percentage increase or a weekly or monthly increase fixed in your mind before you meet with the practice owner. Increase this figure by 10% so if you are forced to negotiate downwards you will still be close to what you wanted. Also, consider how much demand is there for your job The more demand, the greater leverage you have. Think about the difficulties the practice would face if you left. Think about how the practice is performing. Can they afford your pay rise?
Inform the owner
Let your manager or the practice manager know that you would like to meet to discuss a pay rise. This will give them a chance to prepare. No one likes this type of surprise.
Highlight your achievements
Keep notes and build evidence of your achievements and associate them with monetary value, either income generated or costs saved for the business. Perhaps some of your patients have had two pairs of glasses or taken up contact lenses on your advice. Consider a work ‘journal’ in which you document your achievements on a daily basis. Your employer will expect to see something in return for a pay rise.
Practice the meeting with a friend or colleague
Practicing a pay rise negotiation meeting will help make you less nervous for the actual meeting. Get used to explaining your case for a pay rise. Do yourself justice on the day.
Build a logical case that demonstrates how it’s in everyone’s interests to make sure you’re fairly paid. Make it clear that you are fully committed to the business and the challenges ahead. Your manager/practice owner is not the enemy. Get them on your side.
Don’t get mad, and certainly don’t resort to brinkmanship. If your boss won’t agree to a pay rise calmly ask for feedback to help you better understand what might make you more successful in the future. Listen fully to the replies you receive. This is not only crucial to securing a positive outcome in this meeting but also stands you in good stead for future meetings.
If you can’t get a pay rise, negotiate for other benefits, perks, and advantages, such as extra holidays, flexible working, and performance bonuses.
Put what you’ve agreed in writing. Even if you’re unsuccessful in securing a pay rise, your boss might say that it can be revisited in 3-6 months. Write this in a graciously worded follow-up email – as well as making a clear note in your diary to broach the subject after the suggested time period.
Persistence often pays.