AROUND half of UK workers have suffered pay cuts in real terms due to the coronavirus crisis, according to research.
It comes as official data suggests wages have grown the fastest in nearly two decades.
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The Resolution Foundation said official figures on average weekly earnings had been disrupted by the large number of furloughed workers.
Data showing average weekly earnings growth of 4.5% in late 2020 was “too good to be true”, according to the think tank.
The research found that the median pay rise was 0.6% last autumn, a drop in real terms of 0.2%, meaning at least half of all workers experienced a cut.
The median pay rise then increased to 1.8% in the final quarter of 2020, but it was still the second lowest since mid-2013.
Pay growth deteriorated the most among those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic, including the young and the low-paid.
Below we round up some tips on how to get a pay rise.
How to get a pay rise during the pandemic
1. Do your research and show examples
First and foremost, whether we’re in a pandemic or not, it’s important you think through the reasons why you deserve a pay rise.
You’ll need to be prepared, and should consider the ways you have gone above and beyond at work and use it as evidence.
This can be anything from delivering on a big project to the extra hours you put in at the weekend when requested.
It’s also worth looking at job adverts for similar roles to your level and comparing what these pay.
2. Choose your timing carefully
Once you know how much is realistic to ask for, choose the timing of your meeting with the boss carefully.
The business you work for is unlikely to give you more money if it’s already going through financial difficulties.
3. Be confident
You’ll have heard it before, but confidence is also key when it comes to asking for a pay rise.
You can avoid coming across nervous by speaking slowly, making eye contact and by avoiding nervous giggles.
With most of us currently working from home due to Covid, you may find it less nerve-racking to ask over a video call instead of face to face.
4. Expand your skillset
By expanding your skillset, you’ll also stand out from the crowd and increase your value.
There are plenty of ways to do this, so make sure you take up any training that may be available or take on new projects to help build your experience.
A new survey by CV-Library of 1,500 UK professionals found that 30% said the skills they needed for their role had changed during the pandemic.
Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, told The Sun: “With this in mind, if UK professionals are looking for a pay rise, the best tip is to demonstrate to your employer your competencies and skills in this area.
“Recent and detailed examples of your adaptability will enhance your worth and signify valid reasons for an increase in your pay as it’s the most coveted skill in the UK right now.”
5. Ask and be prepared for a negative answer
If you’ve prepared your case and the answer is still “no”, don’t take it personally.
Sometimes companies don’t have the money to approve pay rises, or it could seem unfair to other employees.
If that happens, you can use this as an opportunity to follow up and ask what more you need to do to earn one.
Mr Biggins added: “If your employer sympathises with you, but the money just isn’t there which is highly likely after the last 12 months, don’t let this get you down; instead, try to negotiate other terms that could benefit you.
“Perhaps ask for flexible hours or more annual leave—whatever is going to benefit you the most.”
6. Get a new job
If your boss rejects your request, and you’re still convinced you’re underpaid, it might also be time to look for a job elsewhere.
Spend some time perfecting your CV and practising your interview techniques, then your job search can begin.
Just bear in mind the jobs market is currently very competitive due to the pandemic, so try to avoid quitting a job before you have another lined up.
Millions of young workers will get a pay rise of £345 from April, as the Natoial Living Wage increases.
The national living wage is different to the real living wage, which is a voluntary amount that companies choose to pay their workers.
On November 9, 2020, it increased by 20p to £9.50 per hour for workers outside London.