A penny saved is a penny earned: Negotiating your pay

When progressing through hospitality careers, you will inevitably come to the point where you have to negotiate your pay. However, in this tough economic climate, asking for a pay rise can be tricky. Here are a few ways in which you could tackle the subject.

Knowing your value

You will want your manager to keep you on, so you need to stand out from the crowd and be sure that you are known as a person, rather than just a staff number. With turnover rates in the hospitality sector sitting at around 34 per cent, you need to know your worth.

By researching online, you can see what the job you are doing should pay you. You would be surprised at how many employees are short-changed because they get promotions and no consequent pay rises. If you have been over earning up to now, then you need to be realistic about how much extra you are actually going to get. If you are at this point and want even more money, you probably will need to put even more effort in. Getting more money than your peers always has to be for a valid reason.

Knowing the business

Your manager will recognise your hard work, so if they seem to be ignoring this, bring up some good examples in meetings. Think outside of the box and consider some ideas you could pitch, such as how the bar could be run better. With regular appraisals every few months, you will undoubtedly have the chance to bring up such matters with your manager. Asking for a pay rise should always be done face-to-face, rather than on e-mail, as you can be guaranteed that it will be ignored otherwise.

Generally, you should be aware of the wider industry. If bookings and profits are low, it is not wise to pester your manager for more money. Signs of this will be if staff numbers have been cut or if there are fewer customers than usual.

Knowing when to compromise

When asking for more money, do not think how much you would want to get, but rather how much you would settle for. No manager will be willing to just throw money at you, so whatever option they give, you should never make a decision on the spot, or react in any way. Tell them that you need to go back and think about it, and then sleep on the issue.

If your manager rejects your offer, don't be afraid to ask why, as you may need to be doing something different or just waiting on for a bit. There may be a reason you are not aware of, so you could potentially receive better perks, instead of an increase in pay.

Knowing the signs

If you feel like you are being undervalued, or there is no hope for any pay rises in the near future, it may be worth considering other options. Even a resignation may spur on a pay rise from your manager. This does not mean you should throw yourself into the line of fire. Be sure to leave your job, once you have been guaranteed another place.

Berkeley Scott provides specialist advice and support to help you find hospitality jobs