By Tara Ricks, Managing Director, Randstad Financial and Professional
The world of banking and financial services is renowned for having confident people who aren’t afraid to speak their minds — and who generally back themselves whatever they’re up against.
It’s a little surprising, then, that in a recent survey we commissioned of financial services and banking employees relating to pay rises, nearly half (49%) of the respondents said they are concerned that asking for a raise could jeopardise their position.
Equally eye-opening was the fact that 44% of the people surveyed said that the fear of being turned down stops them asking for a rise. People who are largely thought to be thick-skinned may be more sensitive than they make out, it seems.
Other findings were also a bit out of the blue. For example, 41% of respondents said they were concerned about what their employer’s reaction might be if they asked for a raise, while just over a third (34%) said they wouldn’t be comfortable with having to justify their raise.
In a sector renowned for working long hours, what’s less of a surprise, however, is the fact that nearly one in five respondents (18%) said they are put off from asking for a raise by the idea of having to work even longer hours post-promotion.
Maybe the importance of the work/life balance is finally starting to feed through into banking and financial services. Well it is 2016, after all!
All in all, for the reasons given above and doubtless many more, nearly three quarters (72%) of the respondents said that they haven’t asked for a pay rise at all in the past three years.
On a more positive note, however, the survey did reveal that 77% of people working in financial services and banking have had a pay rise in the past three years.
But if there was one last surprise from the survey, it’s that one in five respondents said their pay has stayed the same over the past three years. This was a slightly higher number than we had anticipated.
Deserve it? Ask for it
All in all, the survey suggested that, for whatever reason, a lot of financial and banking employees aren’t proactively asking for the pay rise that many of them doubtless deserve.
Yes, the vast majority are getting a raise, however it’s at the discretion of the employer rather than due to the employee’s initiative. It’s important that if people feel like they deserve a raise, they ask for one.
Break-out box: How to ask for a pay rise
Whenever you ask for a pay rise, the key is to make a clear and methodical case for why you deserve a pay rise and to back it up with plenty of examples of how you are adding value and why you will achieve even more if your salary is increased.
You also need to have a solid understanding of the industry standards and general expectations for your role. Have a look at job vacancies within your field and take note of average salaries, typical expectations and responsibilities to strengthen your case. Do the same for roles that you would consider to be slightly more senior and try and build a well-researched case for a pay rise.
Finally, and most importantly of all, pick your moment. Choose a time when things are more relaxed and workloads aren’t causing chaos and general panic. If you’re smart, you’ll evaluate the state of your company before making your case for a raise – if personnel are being cut and business is slow, you might want to consider postponing your approach, no matter how deserving you think you are.