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Should you ask for a pay rise in a pandemic?

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

I have had many conversations with colleagues about this very topic. Asking for a pay rise is challenging for many at the best of times. 2020 has been a far from ideal year for many with instability, stand-downs, a reduction in work hours and a looming crumbling economy.

What if, however despite all this you have actually been outperforming and exceeding your role expectations?What if -in normal circumstances you would be requesting a pay rise? Should you be requesting one in a pandemic?

If your company generally has not been struggling financially, has not made redundancies and you have been performing well in your role contributing to the success of your department, position and company- then yes consider the below:


  1. Start an informal conversation- Many performance reviews and pay rise cycles occur once a year having an informal conversation allows your employer to consider your request well in advance. Request an informal meeting time over zoom or Skype if you are still working remotely or face to face if your office has returned to work. Start off by saying how much you value working in the organisation and that you see a long term career for yourself here. Talk about the impact you have been making and that you want to continue to make an impact. Ask about being considered for a pay rise and be prepared with a copy of all your successes and wins to go over.

  2. Prepare a solid case - Show your value to the organisation by presenting actual facts, results, feedback, improvements, benchmarks achieved and how you have contributed the success of the company. Under normal circumstances you may be more confident requesting a pay rise however there are more job seekers willing to take on a new role for less salary than before so you want to make sure you present a strong case. You also want to let your employer know that you are willing to take on any feedback necessary to increase your chances of a pay rise when the time approaches.

  3. Work out what you want -When evaluating what you want you must ensure your request is reasonable and fair for your experience and the results of the current market. Even if your company has not been overly affected by the pandemic you need yo ensure your request is reasonable and equates to the value you bring to the organisation.

  4. Think beyond the $$$$ - Evaluate all aspects of work-life balance and perhaps ask for other perks if a pay rise is going to have to wait a while. Request for later starts or flexible hours or to continue to have some work from home days. Your employer may see the value in giving you a pay rise however the timing may not be right or your performance appraisal is not due yet.. At least you have planted the seed with a solid case and ensure you leave the meeting with a reviewed date and time. When you leave the meeting always send an email thanking your employer for the meeting and ensure you have listed a summary of your wins you discussed and the value you want to continue to bring to the organisation. You may at least have walked away from the meeting with: a pay rise, perks, feedback to continue to improve on or a follow up date for your review where your employer will be prepared with all your wins so far for a more successful appraisal. At the end of the day you will not know unless you ask.




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