Craig Wilson
Craig Wilson

Articles From the Team

Pay rises and the commercial legal sector. Is it time you asked for a raise?

The Telegraph featured an article recently which touched on comments by the new Bank of England rate-setter Sir Dave Ramsden. Sir Dave is a member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee and one of only two MPC members (from nine) who voted to keep interest rates on hold earlier this month.

When asked why he voted to retain the status quo, Sir Dave commented that he did not believe a rate rise would be needed “in the coming months” because wage growth showed few signs of picking up.

So why exactly has wage growth stayed so low?

Sir Dave is on record as stating that “since the [Brexit] referendum workers have responded to uncertainties about the outlook [of the economy] by showing even more flexibility in their wage demands.” In other words, employees appear to be resisting the urge to ask for a pay rise, despite inflationary pressures through price rises etc. possibly in the hope of finding and/or retaining a job.

According to Sir Dave, this “increased flexibility” on ‘pay explains why unemployment has fallen sharply and pay growth has stayed low.’ In addition, “people’s willingness to accept lower real wages [has encouraged] firms to hoard labour.”

BCL Legal opinion:

It appears that many employees are wary of asking their employer for a pay rise and employers appear keen to retain a higher volume of talent on lower wages, as opposed to operating with less but more well-paid and higher skilled talent.

Somewhat bucking the trend in the wider economy, employees in the commercial legal sector should have no fear about rocking the boat or maintaining the status quo when it comes to salaries and pay increases.

As a consequence of high-demand for talent, and a lack of suitably qualified commercial (and corporate) solicitors (NQ-8 years’ PQE), employees in in-house legal and commercial private practice teams find themselves in a very fortunate position.

There has never been a better time, certainly in recent history, to ask your employer for a pay rise. Commercial solicitors are in significant demand and BCL Legal is working with a great many in-house departments and law firms that seek to bolster their existing teams with the addition of new staff.

If you feel you are under paid then the time is right to ask for a raise. Your skills are in demand and your existing employer will undoubtedly find it a challenge to replace you should you leave. Requesting at this time ensures you are asking whilst your stock is high and it gives you the best opportunity to realise a salary increase. Should your current employer not be forthcoming then in most cases there are other companies / law firms who would be interested in speaking with you.

Below are some useful tips when asking for more money.

Asking for a pay rise:

Do your research – look at salary survey’s or speak to someone at BCL Legal; • Get your timing right – as above, pick a time when your stock is high; • Look your best – appearances and demeanour are important; • Set our your reasons – ensure you are well prepared with well thought out reasons; • Reaffirm commitment – explain you enjoy your job and are up for the challenges ahead; • Let your boss speak – stay silent and try to avoid confrontation; • Listen to the answer – if you are unsuccessful then ask what you can do differently; • Remain calm – relax, don’t get defensive and definitely don’t threaten to resign; • Follow with an email – thank them for their time and clarify what was said.

For more information contact Craig Wilson at BCL Legal.

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