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How to negotiate a pay rise in a construction job

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Rebekah Valero-Lee Building, Construction and Infrastructure

No matter how experienced you are, when it comes to talking about money at work, it’s safe to say things can get a little awkward. If you’re thinking of approaching your manager about your salary, you need to ensure you’ve got a strong case to put forward, or you could be left feeling a little bit red-faced.

So, how do you negotiate a pay rise in a construction job? To point you in the right direction, we’ve compiled a list of questions that’ll help you determine whether you can justify your proposal. Once you’ve put together your responses, write your proposal out formally before handing it to your manager.

What do you think you’re worth?

Before you start asking for more money, it’s important to do your research and find out what the average wage is for your role. In an industry like construction where there are a vast number of specialist employment opportunities with varying salaries, you’ll need to ensure that the salaries you’re researching are applicable to you.

Have a look through our construction job listings to see what other companies are offering for your role, or use a salary comparison tool, such as PayScale to see how your current salary compares. This way, when asked, you’ll be able to justify a pay rise by highlighting your market value.

Check out our construction salary guide to see how your salary compares to the industry average

Do you actually deserve a pay rise?

After you’ve worked out what you think you should be earning, you need to determine whether you actually deserve it. How successful were you at your last appraisal? Do you have any new qualifications? Has your level of responsibility increased? If there’s any part of your job that’s seen you take on extra work, whether it be managing other onsite members of staff or qualifying as a Chartered Engineer, you can use this to support your case.

Not sure what qualifications could help you towards a pay rise? Take a look at these 4 professional qualifications that could take your construction career to the next level.

Are you going above and beyond at work?

Although you may be working hard, you need to ensure that your hard work is being noticed. Draw upon examples of when you’ve gone the extra mile for clients or have shown dedication to your construction company. Ensure you don’t over embellish however, as this could completely undermine your point of view. If you want  a pay rise in a construction job, you need to show examples.

Would you be willing to take on more responsibility?

Being willing to take on more responsibility can often be the deal breaker when it comes to negotiating a pay rise. If your boss doesn’t currently think your role is entitled to more pay, showing your willingness to take on a more senior position will not only demonstrate your ambitions, but also show you’re aware that you may need to meet your boss halfway.

Make sure you’re fully prepared to provide a detailed answer to this question face-to-face and think about what qualities you have that make you suitable for a more senior role.

Where are you falling short?

As well as playing up your strengths, you also need to be prepared if you’re challenged on your weaknesses. If you’ve made an error in the past, be ready to show how you’ve learnt from your mistakes and how you’re working on improving your weaker areas. Highlight these areas when building on your ambitions for the future and you’ll turn that negative remark into a positive.

What if your request is rejected?

If your boss turns down your request, you need to think about what you’re going to do next ahead of time. Consider whether you’re asking for a pay rise because you believe you deserve it or as an incentive to stay in your current job. If you’re just using it as motivation to continue where you are, you may be better off searching for a new, better paid position elsewhere.

However, if you’re prepared to stay in your current role, ask your boss what you need to do in order to move into that higher pay bracket and set goals for yourself to ensure you fulfil those targets in a realistic timeframe.

Curious to see what other roles are available with the construction industry? Browse our latest job listings to see if there’s a better position out there for you.