“The most difficult thing in any negotiation, almost, is making sure that you strip it of the emotion and deal with the facts.” - Howard Baker.
Wise words, especially when you’re looking to negotiate a new salary.
Whether you’ve secured a new health and safety role or have just had an annual appraisal, talking about salary is an awkward conversation for many. In fact, over half of the UK workforce fear asking for a salary increase.
It might not even just be down to your ability and experience; there is a significant gender pay gap for those working as health and safety officers. Men earn an average of £850 per week, compared to £630 for women.
With Brexit uncertainty continuing to dominate news headlines, and workers’ salaries still below pre-banking crisis levels, you may feel as though you’re not getting the pay your efforts warrant.
Whatever your situation, if you want the remuneration you deserve, it’s a conversation that must be had. However, there are plenty of mistakes that can scupper your chances of a raise. Here are the ones to avoid when negotiating a pay rise.
Negotiating a salary for a new job
Been offered a new health and safety role? Congratulations!
Pay is often a big motivator in changing roles, whether it’s a sideways move or a promotion. But there are some pitfalls to avoid when negotiating your new salary.
Don’t focus just on money: Many companies offer benefits and rewards away from just salary, especially ones that support your work life balance such as remote working, flexible hours and gym memberships. It’s harder to put a value on these, but they could be valuable to your own lifestyle, so should be considered alongside your salary.
Don’t forget to do your homework: Research the market, research the role. Does the company pay competitively or mid-range? Or perhaps they put a higher value on benefits or bonuses? Think about the true value of the package on offer, not just the base salary.
Don’t go in too early: Starting the pay conversation too early can lead prospective employers to re-evaluate your motives for the move. Wait until you’ve been offered the job before talking about salary.
If you’ve been offered the role through Shirley Parsons, your Consultant will know what you will (and won’t) move for, as well as what’s important to you in terms of lifestyle choices and additional perks. They will take care of a lot of the hard, and sometimes awkward, work for you, so make sure you’re honest and realistic if you’re asking us to negotiate on your behalf.
Negotiating a pay rise in your current job
If you’re happy in your current health and safety role, that’s great. But if you think you’re worth more than your salary suggests, it might be time to request a pay rise.
For larger organisations, you may be tied into annual or bi-annual pay review cycles where progression has clear rules. For smaller organisations, there’s likely to be a more flexible approach to pay discussions.
Either way, talking to your manager's face to face is key, as is an honest evaluation of yourself in line with your performance objectives.
Don’t cause friction: You’ll want to stay on the right side of your boss, so don’t go in all guns blazing, demanding a raise. You should calmly and professionally approach the situation, leaving emotion at the door in order to maintain that relationship, no matter what the outcome.
Don’t wait if you don’t have to: If you’re completing your performance objectives and doing a good job, why wait until your scheduled annual review? Have a quiet word with management and explore the opportunity for opening pay discussions when you think they’re merited.
Don’t take it easy: If your request is successful and you’re rewarded with an increased wage, be aware that you may be expected to do a little more to justify it. Along with your higher salary, you may find you’re also expected to show more responsibility.
Timing is key when discussing a raise, so make sure you get it right. Don’t go in and ask during a difficult financial period, for example, as you’ll likely end up disappointed.
How we can help you secure the pay rise you’re looking for
At Shirley Parsons, our Consultants are well versed in negotiating salary packages for our candidates. If you’ve been offered a role through us, we can do much of the negotiation for you.
If you’ve been left disappointed by a salary review at your current employer, perhaps it’s time to start looking around for a new opportunity.