Written by Janine Turkington, Research First
Pay rise. It’s the conversation that can send even the staunchest of us running in the other direction. Not because we don’t want to get paid more, but because the concept of asking for more money is intimidating and even a little bold.
You could be forgiven for arguing that it’s just simply a reflection of the large dose of humility born in every Kiwi. But it seems the problem is not germane to understated kiwis alone. American research suggests that only 12% of people actually ask for a pay raise during a performance review and 44% of people never bring the subject up! New Zealand statistics mirror this, with 46% of New Zealand professionals not intending to enter the discussion in 2017.
Yet, when you’re working hard, billing considerable hours, throwing the life-line for an uncomfortable situation, or circumventing a crisis altogether, why shouldn’t you back yourself to have the conversation?
Because fundamentally, most of us have an innate fear that we’re not deserving – yes, the imposter syndrome – you’ve heard of it, right?
Psychologist and author of The Joy of Me, Dr Shaelyn Pham, believes it’s more typical for people to undervalue themselves than it is to be aware of the contribution they make to an organisation, and certainly their contribution in relation to co-workers.
Of course, if you don’t believe in your own value, it’s obvious you’ll have difficulty in asking for more.
If you unpack this a little more, then the fear of rejection is most likely bubbling away in the back of your mind, too. The embarrassment of the answer being ‘no’, becomes too much to warrant the risk of asking the question in the first place, and heaven forbid the thought we might think of a ‘no’ as being a starting point for negotiation. And for the most insecure among us, a ‘no’ might even mean ‘clear your desk and don’t come Monday’.
Perhaps the answer to our insecurities around our value lies in a lack of confidence in how we have progressed professionally; or more precisely, the lack of formality we’ve put around the knowledge and skills we have gained and continuously apply to our everyday work.
In the communications industry, we often roll our eyes at the mention of professional development (PD) likening it to days away from the office, time wasted, and not a lot actually achieved. However, in this day and age, if you want to be competitive on the pay scale, PD might just be the circuit breaker - especially if you’re a woman.
The latest Research First PRINZ Survey shows that, despite an over-representation in the industry, women are typically under-represented in higher salary brackets and the very top jobs.
While some employers actively prioritise the professional development of their employees, many do not. It is essential to the industry, and to us as professionals, that we constantly learn and evolve as communications practitioners. If PD is not on your employer’s radar than it is up to you to take charge of your career and look for programmes to develop yourself.
PRINZ is actively encouraging members to develop a professional development plan for themselves. Far from simply being days away from the office, CPD activities can include attending webinars or other industry related events and courses, becoming a PRINZ mentor/mentee, or completing the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) programme, an internationally recognised qualification.
The more you develop your skill set the better a professional you become. And with skill comes confidence. It is pivotal in any job, but especially in this industry, to back and empower yourself, so that when you do have to sit down with your employer and talk about money you have the skills, the ambition, and the confidence to negotiate the salary that you deserve.
So, don’t leave a pay rise to chance. Take responsibility for developing yourself, be confident in the value you bring to the table and kiss goodbye to the unease associated with the discussion. The only conversation you should be having is quite simply “of course I’m worth it.”
Haven't filled out a 2019 professional development plan?
The free PRINZ professional development plan is part of the PRINZ Continuing Professional Development programme where credits are accumulated for participation in professional development training and activity. You earn credits for any verified professional development both internal and external to PRINZ.
The annual CPD target is 60 credits. On completion of 60 CPD credits, a certificate of practice is awarded for achievement of the year’s continuing professional development goal.