“Don’t Sit Around Waiting!” Industry Icon Esther Clerehan Spills On How To Ask For A Pay Rise

“Don’t Sit Around Waiting!” Industry Icon Esther Clerehan Spills On How To Ask For A Pay Rise

Talent specialist and B&T Women In Media Winner, Esther Clerehan is known in the industry for her no-bullshit approach to advice. So here at B&T, we picked her brain on how to get a pay rise. 

It is always hard to talk about money, but let’s face it, with inflation, the cost of living and the $6.80 Chai Latte I just bought this morning, it’s the current front of mind for many people in our industry. So, if you feel ready to ask for more because you deserve more, how should you do it?

Clerehan told B&T: “There’s no one way to ask for a pay rise. But I would make sure that you have a solid case to put forward and ensure that you are asking at a good time. Ideally after a win of some sort, or as part of a formal review.”

Is there a common mistake people make when going for a pay rise? Clerehan clarified that in her experience, timing is often everything. “There is nothing wrong with asking. If you are performing well but bad timing possibly or being unprepared for an unsatisfactory response could get in the way of you getting your rise. It’s best to ask after a win or during a performance review,” she said. 

And when asking for that pay rise, what should your pay increase expectation be? “I would say this another way. How much would it cost them to replace you? You might not always reach the ‘retail’ number, but you should be on or above the ‘wholesale’.” Clerehan explained. 

Now, it’s no secret that often, women find it harder to back themselves and ask for what they are owed. For instance, a survey by Glassdoor found that 73% of women have not asked for a pay rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, in comparison to the 58% of employed men. 

So what advice would Clerehan give to a woman nervous about seeking more money? “Don’t sit around waiting for a pay rise. It happens sometimes, but most of the time, it comes from asking for a review. Build your case. Make notes if it helps with nerves. Go another step and create a pitch deck to illustrate your case if that gives you more confidence. 

“Make sure you are on solid ground in your performance and that of the company. If it helps, think of a version of yourself (or a partner, parent, or mentor) who you have to report back to and make them proud. (You don’t have to report back to them, but it may help reduce the anxiety if you are motivated, not just by the money, but by performing well in the exercise of asking.)

And if you don’t get the money you’ve asked for? Is it time to walk? “This depends on whether the company COULD afford it, but they are not wanting to pay you more. And for what reasons. If the response is genuine and has a pathway to another conversation then think about trying again. If you’re convinced you are being undervalued, then maybe it’s time to look for another job. But I would caution that money is not a good reason to take another job. It is a good reason to leave an employer if they do not value you though.” Clerehan said. 

Go get that pay rise and then buy yourself an overpriced coffee to celebrate.

Also just a little reminder today is the last day to enter our Women In Media Awards – Nothing like an Award to help you push for a pay rise.




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Esther Clerehan

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