Wages growing at fastest pace since June 2008 – how to get a pay rise

13 August 2019

Workers’ wages grew by 3.9% between March and May 2019, the highest rate of growth since June 2008


Wage growth ticked up to the highest levels in more than a decade between March and May.

Pay grew by 3.9% excluding bonuses. However with bonuses not enjoying the same level of growth, pay increases with bonuses included was marginally lower at 3.7%.

When compared against the rate of inflation, with the current CPI measure at 1.9%, wages grew by 1.8% - the highest level in four years.

The last time pay growth topped 3.9% was in June 2008 when wage growth stood at 4%, right on the precipice of the financial crisis.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown comments: “We’re still earning less than we were before the financial crisis. And while average pay is growing, it doesn’t mean everyone is getting an above-inflation pay rise. There are still plenty of people watching the value of their work fall year after year.

"Fortunately, you don’t have to live with the disappointment: you can do something about this, by either negotiating a pay rise, or moving on to a better-paid role. There are fewer job vacancies around than at the beginning of the year, but there are still hundreds of thousands of opportunities out there."

How to get a pay rise

The latest figures on wage growth are averages. This means not everyone will be getting such a big boost to their pay. There are some good ways to ask for a pay rise if you feel you deserve to be earning more from your job.

Rob Moore, entrepreneur and founder of Progressive Property shares his tips for how to get a pay rise:

Don’t – private and public sector

  1. Don’t tell your employer you need a raise because you can’t cover bills. Employers don’t care and you’ll look irresponsible for not managing your money.
  2. Don’t try to leverage a raise by saying you have another job offer or are thinking of leaving. It is a negative starting point and won’t lead to positive discussions. And employers are likely to just call your bluff.
  3. Don’t demand a pay rise because you found out a colleague got one. It’s not your business what your colleague earns and the deal they negotiated is based on their perceived worth to the business. You should be focusing on arguing your worth. This could also lead an employer to stop giving raises to anyone as they will mistrust people to keep their wages to themselves.

Do – private sector

  1. Arrange a meeting with your boss and praise the company. Come prepared with a report on how you’ve benefited the firm with details of extra revenues, systems, tasks, time savings and other projects you’ve done to improve and help out.
  2. Book a meeting with your boss to outline a series of tasks, projects and actions you will undertake and oversee to improve company revenues, profits and performance. Demonstrate your future potential value. If you’re in a revenue generating role you could ask to receive a cut from increased profits you’ve earned.
    If you’re not in a revenue generating role, you can offer examples where you’ve saved the company money, time and processes to demonstrate your value, alongside new ideas.

Do – public sector

Receiving a raise in the public sector can be much harder, especially when wage rates are set nationally. Motivational speaker, Brian Tracy, told Mr Moore this in 2007 and is your best chance of getting a significant pay rise in the public sector:

“Seek out the job or role that pays the salary you desire, then learn everything about that role and offer the value to the company. Do the job that pays the salary you want.”

Above all Mr Moore says you must demonstrate your value to your employer before getting the raise. People too often demand a raise before attempting to demonstrate why they are worth it.

At the end of this if you still don’t get the raise, you can seek out a new employer keen to pay you more money.

Unfortunately, this can mean leaving the public sector if you aren’t able to achieve your financial work goals.

Read more on how to get a pay rise from Rob Moore.

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