Rising inflation is making cost of living more challenging for everyone and healthcare professionals are no different. Here’s why it is the right time for doctors to shoot for a pay rise, and how to go about it.
More so than any other profession, doctors have borne the brunt of a brutal pandemic and many will rightly feel entitled to a bigger pay day.
The good news is, the time is ripe to seek that pay rise.
Low unemployment, a surge in workers leaving their jobs and COVID-induced shortages in the workforce, particularly the health sector, have created a perfect storm.
It’s a rare event but the balance of power is suddenly in favour of employees rather than employers. So if you’re a doctor in an employed role with a contract that allows you room for negotiation (some doctors who are classed as sub-contractors or business owners may not have this opportunity), your window is open.
But all of these factors doesn’t necessarily mean it is a done deal.
Like always, you need a plan and you need to execute it well to convince any employer you are worthy of a raise.
Here’s how to do it.
Know your worth
Whenever you ask for a pay rise, it’s important to do your homework.
Investigate salary surveys from the medical industry, particularly relevant to your region and speciality – you’ll find them via the relevant medical bodies or on the websites of recruitment firms.
Check out job advertisements to see what is being offered and talk to your peers for further guidance.
Prove your value
Your case for a raise will be a lot stronger if you can prove your value.
Try to quantify it.
Perhaps it’s the growing number of patients you have seen in recent months or even your profitability.
Have you upskilled recently? Maybe you have taken on more hours, extra responsibilities or assisted junior colleagues.
Don’t forget to document everything that could help your case and remind the boss why you are important and not easily replaced.
Timing is everything
Depending on your employer, contract or pay structure, the ideal time to renegotiate is a couple of months before you fall out of contract.
Any earlier and you may be selling yourself short or might struggle to justify what you are asking for.
Any later and you may not give yourself enough time for the haggling which may impact your new deal.
Know your audience
Ensure you are prepared for the negotiation by considering your boss’ personality traits.
If they have a blunt, direct manner, the BIFF method is usually best.
It stands for Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm.
Stick to the facts and try to keep the emotion out of the discussion but remain friendly at all times.
If your boss has a more sensitive side or a relaxed approach, you can be a little more conversational, being sure to show that you are taking their feelings and needs into account.
Whichever it is, it will help the negotiation if you can follow their lead and speak on their terms.
This will make them more comfortable with the chat and more open to a positive outcome.
Prepare your pitch
Practice your opening few lines and have ready some responses for some of their more likely comebacks to you:
“Why do you think you deserve a raise?”
“If I give you a raise, I’ll have to give everyone a raise”
“Times are tough at the moment and there’s not much room in the budget”
If a raise doesn’t seem possible, know what you are willing to accept to stay in the job.
Maybe more time off in lieu or less time on call would be attractive.
But also, be aware of the highly competitive market fighting for medical professionals at the moment.
The ultimate negotiation tactic is another job offer – this will see your employer ultimately meet your needs or you have the opportunity to go elsewhere.
Get advice today
Now is the right time for medical professionals to make financial moves and get set up for life. A pay rise can be worth a lot of money over the rest of your working life.
You make the right decisions when you have the right plan. As medical wealth experts, we can help from every financial and investment angle.
Contact us today to talk about your future needs and goals.
The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.
Taxation, legal and other matters referred to on this website are of a general nature only and are based on Nitschke Nancarrow’s interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Those laws may change from time to time.
Nitschke Nancarrow specialises in accounting, tax and financial advice for superannuation.
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