There are more people employed in the UK than ever before and the UK unemployment rate is at its lowest for nearly half a century.
According to the Office for National Statistics, just 3.9% of the working population are registered as seeking work; it hasn’t been this low since the 1970s.
With Brexit driving hundreds of EU workers to return to Europe and luring far fewer European workers over here, the recruitment pool is shrinking daily. Bad news for employers, good news for workers.
The ball is in the employee’s court. Bosses across the country need to cling on to every fantastic member of staff that they have and with the job market the way it is, even mediocre workers have less chance of getting the boot.
Now is the ideal time to ask for a pay rise or a promotion. If you’d like to work more flexibly – work from home some days, do compressed hours where you work your usual hours but over fewer days or stagger your hours where you start or finish your working days at different times, perhaps to fit in with childcare – now is a good time to request this too.
How do you ask for a pay rise or a change in your working conditions?
Unless you’re naturally super confident, asking your superior for more money or better working benefits is always daunting.
The time might be right, but it doesn’t make it easy.
To take some of the stress out of the situation, you need to plan for it. Make a list of bullet points highlighting what you bring to your company. These should include:
How long you have been in your role – the longer the time the better your bargaining position
When you last had a pay rise, you have a strong case if it’s well over a year ago
The number of members in your team – if it’s grown since you started that’s a good bargaining chip
How much business or additional revenue you have bought in
How else you have benefited the organisation
If you’re looking for promotion, explain why you feel ready to progress within the company
If you want to work more flexibly, explain how you can do this without it affecting your work and possibly why it would improve your workflow.
With your plan ready, next ask your boss or supervisor to schedule some time for a chat, this isn’t something that you do via email. It must be diarised.
Don’t tag this big ask on to a separate meeting or just pop into their office in their lunch hour for a quick chat. You want it to be a formal meeting dedicated to discussing you.
If the answer’s yes
It’s unlikely that you will get an answer straight away, but if your boss does come back with a yes, ask for it in writing and then go out and celebrate!
If the answer’s no
You’re entitled to ask for a valid reason why your request has been declined and to ask that the situation is reviewed in a few month’s time. You haven’t won anything and you haven’t lost anything. Get back to work, and maybe start looking elsewhere for a new job. After all, it’s a job-seeker’s market.