The environmental sector is growing and presents ever more interesting real-world projects and careers for those with a passion in the area. Salaries can fluctuate according to skill, level and seniority but understanding what you are worth and then having that difficult conversation about attaining it, can be challenging. Here are some tips on how to ensure that you do the job you love and get paid appropriately too.
Do your research: Salary check the position against other companies. A search of advertised positions on sector-specific jobs boards, including ENDSJobSearch will give you a gauge of the salary band for your level, experience, specialist skills and title. Remember that some locations add cost of living weighting, including London. Factor in working patterns too, including hybrid working, that should be viewed as a non-financial perk and may be of more value to you.
Gather evidence: Your chances of a successful negotiation are greatly increased should you attend your meeting forearmed with evidence on how your role has progressed since you first took it on. Demonstrating the projects and their successful outcomes you have been involved in, together with any new-departmental strategy executions, environmental campaigns or corporate initiatives, will help you to set your stall.
Execute the timing: It doesn’t matter how good you are, you won’t gain a successful outcome if you make your pitch when the business is losing customers, money or has hit hard times. If there is a redundancy round occurring for example, asking for a salary hike will appear distasteful and inappropriate. Similarly, you may want to weave in your negotiation when your employer is asking you to take on more responsibilities, increase your professional profile at events or lead a project. Timing, as they say, really can be everything.
Show flexibility: The signs might be pointing towards cash not being fluid in the organisation but can they offer you equity in the business, partnership or shares? A long-term carrot may be equally as conducive to increasing your net pay and may even serve to provide a more exciting deal for the future. Again, it’s important to find out about the business’ bottom line. Are they making profits? Are shares available? What perks are colleagues being given?
Lose the aggression: Being dignified, polite and professional always wins over aggression, bullying tactics or threats. Sadly, showing your ‘ugly’ side will only mean you slide down the corporate ladder rather than climb it. It’s important to pick your moment when you are not emotional, upset or rearing for a fight. Book a meeting with your manager for a future date. A spontaneous conversation at the wrong moment may wind up not only in defeat but may cost you your reputation.
Don’t make it personal: While employers are much more attuned to employees’ wellbeing, they cannot hand out pay rises because you have fallen upon hard times or need to repay a loan. The reasons for a salary hike must be linked to your value, input and talent in the business, not for any personal reasons.
Get qualified: Many environmental positions require specialist knowledge and appropriate qualifications and often pay is banded according to the skills levels, training and specialist qualifications you may hold. If you don’t hold the necessary certificates, find out if your employer can support you in attaining them and look at the long term pay grades that link to qualifications. You may be stuck in a pay grade because a lack of formal training is preventing you from moving further forward.
Network: Expanding your network can only be beneficial. Not only will you glean great industry insights but you may also become more valuable to your business via your connections. If you help to land a business partnership with a client because you have worked hard on your key stakeholder relationships this adds to your pitch on why you deserve a salary rise.
Most important of all is not to give up at the first hurdle. Landing a pay rise is often not a quick win, it takes time, dedication, perseverance and a willingness to go above and beyond. Those that stick to the plan will get what they deserve when the business recognises them for their talent and is able to reward them appropriately.