Career Corner: Promotions & Pay Rises

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Almost every hard-working professional is looking for career progression. It’s human nature to seek new challenges and, in turn, greater rewards. Yet many people feel very unsure about how to navigate potentially difficult conversations with their managers about promotions or pay rises.

The most important thing in any situation is to be prepared. Why do you feel you deserve the thing you’re asking for? Outline this in a quantifiable way and present evidence – identify specific areas where you have personally made a difference and show what you’ve achieved, ideally with indisputable figures, whether that’s increased revenue or a decreased number of risk incidents.

Try not to lead with vague generalisations (“I’ve worked hard for a long time”) or one-off moments (“I came up this new process”) but instead to build up a picture of how you’ve contributed positively across the previous 6-12 months, highlighting individual actions but linking those together to show your role has been helping the company in an ongoing manner.

If you’re asking for a promotion, you need to have a very clear understanding of how the more senior role differs to your current one. Research the specific responsibilities and requirements of the role you’re asking to be promoted to, and before you even arrange a talk about it, try to demonstrate the necessary qualities in your current position.

Record all of the ways you go above and beyond – and then set out to take that one step further by creating a detailed plan of what you aim to achieve in your first year in the role you’re seeking. Again, focus on hard figures as much as possible – the world of Governance, Risk and Compliance can seem a little more ambiguous than other areas within the Financial Services sector but you need to find ways to quantify your goals and achievements to solidify your case. “Building a positive compliance culture” is hard to measure and therefore hard for management to act on, “reducing customer complaints by X%” is something concrete they can work with,

Finally, when it comes time to have the talk, enter the meeting with a positive attitude. Modern managers don’t want to see an entitled employee demanding more money and power – they want to hear about how you are helping their whole company and want to be rewarded fairly, or how you’re seeking the next rung on the career ladder so you can contribute even more and on a larger scale.

If you enter a pay rise or promotion discussion with a calm, friendly manner, a thorough bank of evidence and a clear position on what you want and why – and you find yourself passed over, brushed off and feeling undervalued? That’s when it’s time to start looking to advance your career somewhere else.