How to… improve your market value

If you wish to be paid your true worth, then you need to be aware of your
relative value in the marketplace and be able to adequately convey that to your
senior managers. What’s more, should you move on, any future salary may be
dictated by your current income.

Not every organisation has a job evaluation scheme in place, so even with
pay scales awards can be arbitrary, leading to pay disparity even for similar
levels of experience and size of jobs. And a recent Personnel Rewards survey,
conducted by Croner Reward and published in conjunction with the Chartered
Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), shows pay in HR has fallen behind
other functions (with the exception of supervisors and senior clerical staff).
Middle HR managers receive 6.5 per cent less than their equivalents in other
functions and senior managers are 2.3 per cent behind, while HR directors lag
4.3 per cent behind the average for directors in other functions.

Feeling undervalued can have an impact on workplace performance and may also
lead to resentment and disaffection – particularly if you feel others are being
paid more than you. Sadly, too many of us let these feelings fester which can
impact on other areas of our lives.

What can I do?

List your professional assets, such as your qualifications, career history
and major achievements. This forms the basis of your value to the company, so
include everything that shows off your talents and abilities.

If you know your skills make you unique or indispensable to the organisation,
stress them. It may be that you are the most experienced member of the
department when it comes to merger and acquisition activity, or you
project-managed the introduction of an online flexible benefits system that has
achieved nearly 100 per cent take-up from staff. Anything that allows your
talents to be quantified and linked with the company’s bottom line is
especially good, so if your initiative has saved the company money, make sure
you detail how much.

Include any industry awards or plaudits, such as a coveted Personnel Today
award or invitations to speak at conferences. Avoid conceit but, equally, do
not hide your light under a bushel.

In addition, are there any high-fliers in your department who you can take a
lead from in terms of their conduct or actions that will help raise your
profile? As part of this it may also be necessary to engage in a certain amount
of extra curricular activity: one multinational makes it clear to its managers
that they will hit a natural ‘ceiling’ if they choose not to regularly attend
its corporate soirées.

Research pay structures internally and externally. HR is uniquely placed to
get the inside track on an organisation’s pay scales. This is a taboo subject
in many UK companies, so familiarise yourself with these if you haven’t already
done so, along with the salary range for your position. Learn the national
averages and pay structures outside of the organisation. Some of the best
sources for these include Personnel Today’s weekly Yardstick section, trade
unions and trade associations, and dedicated websites, such as
www.salarysearch.co.uk.

Kitted out with this information, you can confidently pitch yourself at a
realistic level and provide supporting evidence. Whether negotiating with your current
or prospective employers, you’ll sound more reasonable quoting a salary range
rather than demanding a specific sum.

Don’t be disheartened if the top of the salary band falls short of
expectation – if you are worth it, employers will cough up or offer an enhanced
compensation and benefits package.

Show you can make a difference. It isn’t always within your power to do so,
but that shouldn’t stop you from demonstrating that you have the potential.

Show that you also have the potential to be more strategic: on your list of
assets, include ideas for developing your role that use areas of expertise that
are not being exploited, and ideally, link these with the business aims of the
company. If you know that the company wants to reduce administrative costs, for
instance, sketch a plan for a self-service HR solution.

What role should my manager play?

If your manager is a high-flier, then it is likely that you will share some
reflected glory. If your boss is going nowhere, however, and shows no interest
in your development, your notional value may be lessened. As Craig Robinson,
regional manager at career transition and organisational consulting specialists
RightCoutts points out: "A good boss who listens, gives you scope for
development and encouragement, supports you, coaches and acts as a mentor, will
do far more for your future marketability than if you work for an ineffective
manager who hinders your growth, development and achievements."

Where can I get more info?

Books

Brand You 50: Or fifty ways to transform yourself from an employee into a
brand
Tom Peters, Alfred A Knopf, Price £9.99, ISBN 0375407723

Report

Personnel Rewards, a survey or pay and benefits for HR and training
specialists by Croner Reward, in association with the CIPD.
Price £350, Tel 01785 813566

Websites

www.salarysearch.co.uk
www.reward-group.co.uk

If you only do five things…

1 List the top five assets you bring
to the organisation

2 Find a benchmark for what you should be earning

3 Take your lead from high-fliers

4 Demonstrate you add value in everything you do

5 Keep your skills up-to-date

By Craig Robinson is regional manager at career-transition and
organisational consulting specialists, RightCoutts.

Expert’s view: Craig Robinson on improving your market value

What common mistakes are made when assessing market value?

People often just look for similarly titled roles in the advertised press,
looking to see the package on offer, rather than looking first at themselves.
Real value in the job market (like any marketplace) depends on what you have to
offer and how much the market wants that. Offering the same background,
knowledge, experience as others reduces your value – what you can offer that is
different will only increase your market worth.

If you were moving to a new sector/position, how would you benchmark your
remuneration package?

You need to be careful when benchmarking packages in isolation, as you’ll
probably want to move sectors because of other factors, such as the sector is
fast-growing, innovative, or offers more independence or greater opportunities
for long-term career development. When making any comparison of remuneration
I’d use a simple comparative grid system, enabling me to view all the
comparative information easily [basic, bonuses, car allowance, private medical
cover, pension, life cover, holidays], highlighting areas of concern.

How can individuals improve their market value?

It is about ensuring you have something to offer that the rest of the market
wants, but doesn’t offer. Increase your value by showing you add value in
everything that you do. Like any product, you must not only keep up-to-date
with other products in the market – you must work hard to stay ahead of them.

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