Does the rise in the cost of living mean it’s time to ask for a pay rise?

Between the rising cost of living and in particular energy prices, not to mention our supermarket bills going up on a weekly basis, it’s no surprise people are asking themselves if it’s time to request a pay rise. In fact, data from the Office of National Statistics shows the jump in the cost of living is the highest in 30 years.

Whether you get that pay rise isn’t actually about timing though, it’s how you ask for it. Just going to your boss and saying your bills have increased so can you have a rise to manage them better isn’t going to cut it. The boss – and everyone else in the organisation – is going through the same thing, after all. And, in fact, inflation is hitting the bottom line of a lot of companies too.


Arm yourself with plenty of ‘data’

What will give you a better chance of getting that pay rise is to arm yourself with data. By data we mean ‘evidence’ that you deserve a boost to your pay packet. This could be the higher salaries that other organisations are paying for your role i.e comparison data (and which you can find on recruitment sites). Other data could be what you’ve achieved for the company i.e if your role is in social media, let your boss know by how much you’ve increased engagement or if you’re in retail, how much you have exceeded your sales target by.

Certainly, be positive and arm yourself well. Don’t end up suffering from what Dr Grace Lordan at the LSE calls ‘Fobsag’. It sounds like something Scandinavian, but it’s not some new lifestyle trend. Rather it stands for Fear Of Being Seen As Greedy.

Dr Lordan @profgracelordan says: ‘Dispel the fear of being seen as greedy (Fobsag) accept you should be paid your worth, and quell any fears that you are being greedy by paying your taxes and giving to charity.”


What sector you work in matters

Another thing that can affect whether your request for a pay rise will be received favourably – or not – depends on which industry you happen to work in. At this moment in time those employed in construction and the restaurant trade have a better chance of getting that rise. This is simply because both sectors are calling out for staff and will want to hold on to the good ones they already have.

If you are working in academia, teaching or medicine then it may be worth putting off your request for a while yet, according to Jonathan Black, director of Oxford University’s career service.

If you’re wondering whether you can still ask for a pay rise when you’re working flexibly i.e from home so much then the answer is ‘yes.’ And, actually, you can sell the home working as a benefit. The majority of studies conducted on hybrid working and home working show employees tend to be more productive and efficient because they are less distracted. Not having to commute also gives them more time and energy to focus on work.


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