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Real wages fall as inflation outpaces pay increases: Is it time to ask for a pay rise?

Real wages fell by 1.2% at the end of 2021 as shop prices rose faster than salaries, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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The news has created real concerns that some workers will struggle to get by this year, with prices set to keep soaring for months to come. But while there’s not a lot you can do about the soaring cost of heating your home or filling your petrol tank, there might be space to boost your salary. So to try and help people up their earnings, the experts at money.co.uk have compiled a quick and easy guide with all the need-to-know information.

James Andrews, Senior Personal Finance Editor at money.co.uk, said: “When considering a pay rise, the first thing you should do is find out how your salary compares to other workers in similar roles. There are useful salary checker tools on LinkedIn and Totaljobs, which let you see how your wage compares to other employees at the same level nationwide.

“Similarly, you should find out how your salary compares to your company colleagues. Workers are entitled to discuss earnings between themselves following the 2010 Equality Act. This will help you understand your value, and put you in a stronger position when it comes to bargaining. 

“Once you know where you stand salary wise, you should decide how much of a raise you are going to ask for. Figure out how much extra cash you would need to take home each month to make the job worthwhile and use that as your negotiating target.

“In terms of actually asking for a pay rise, try and have the conversation face to face (or at least via video call). Employers will respect this approach more than an email, which can come across as unpersonable and possibly show that you are lacking in confidence. 

“When popping the question, it’s important to sell yourself, so make sure that you are able to pinpoint your value to the company. Make a list of the best things you have done while employed there and use those as a point of reference during the negotiation - especially if you can show the impact they’ve had on the company. 

“In order to be successful in your negotiation, it’s important to time it right. If you have had an especially good few months when you have hit targets and helped the business flourish, then that’s the perfect time to ask for a rise. On the other hand, if you have been struggling or the employer is going through a difficult time, you might be better holding off for a bit.

“If things don’t go your way and the request for a rise is denied, don’t be disheartened. Ask your boss what you need to do in order to get where you want to go. This will provide you with a pathway for the future, and make it much harder to say ‘no’ the next time you ask.

“Earning a pay rise may enable you to afford your bills and expenses, as well as saving some of what’s leftover. To compare savings account deals from all the top providers, use money.co.uk’s comparison tool here: https://www.money.co.uk/savings-accounts.htm.”


About James Andrews

James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.

View James Andrews's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.