Could a pay rise be on the cards?

One of the main reasons why people leave their employer is because they don’t feel they are being paid what they are worth. This is perfectly reasonable, after all legal practitioners at every level are renowned for putting in the hours and demonstrating unswerving dedication and commitment to their employers.

Indeed, the recession provided the perfect excuse for employers to hang fire on giving their employees a pay rise, even though many people worked longer hours and covered more of the roles that may have previously been done by two or even three people.

Now we are in an improving jobs market where employers are competing with one another for the best people. But to get and retain their ‘man’ or ‘woman’, they need to pay the going rate otherwise they risk losing that talent to a rival firm – something no employer wants to see happen.

So if you know what you are worth, how do you go about translating that into additional pounds, shillings and pence in your monthly salary?

Choose your moment to ask for a pay rise carefully and consider all possible outcomes – get the negotiations right and you could see a healthier bank balance at the end of each month.

The following five steps will help move you a step closer to securing the salary you really want:

1 Be an achiever, but don’t show off:

It’s all very well performing your role as per your current job description, but what are you doing above and beyond what is simply expected of you? Before an employer agrees to hand out more money they will want to see what return they have had on their investment in you up until now, and what more they could get from you if they grant you a pay rise.

Think about your accomplishments: how have you contributed to the team, the department and the organisation as a whole? Remember, every employer, regardless of sector, has a very close eye on the bottom line.

2 Get your facts straight:

Check the market to see what salaries are being paid to others performing the same role as you by checking the legal sector’s salary guide, looking up comparable roles online or speaking to people like us! We recruit for roles like yours every day, so we have real time insight into what employers are currently paying for your type of position.

3 Call for a meeting:

Salary discussions are always a sensitive issue, especially if one party (i.e. you) feels that the current rate of pay favours the employer rather than themselves. Formalise your salary discussions with a pre-arranged meeting and even if your boss says ‘No’ to a pay rise request, that might simply mean ‘not right now’; they may be prepared to put a date in the diary to discuss the possibility later down the line.

4 Manage your own expectations:

Timing is a critical factor in any negotiation, so make sure you can negotiate from a position of strength both for you and the business. If the company has shown strong signs of growth in recent months, such as taking on new staff or merging with another practice, seize the moment to ask for a raise. Likewise, if there is the possibility of redundancies, use your head and hang fire on asking…for now at least.

5 Have a back-up plan:

It is estimated that a good benefits package can add as much as 30% or more to the value your salary. So think about some of the things you might accept instead: subsidised gym membership, extra holiday, private medical insurance or increased car allowance, for example.


If a pay rise is not on the cards in the here and now, do what you can to strengthen your position the next time the subject is discussed. Develop your skills, learn new ones and increase your professional knowledge.