You know your services as a Veterinary Professional are in growing demand—but before you look for a new job, it might be worth having that talk with your current employer. Love for animals won’t pay the bills, so don’t let the opportunity for a pay rise pass you by.
While asking for a raise can be stressful, there are seven clear steps you can follow to create a win-win outcome.
Prepare a Strategy
Start by asking yourself some questions:
- How much are you making currently? (Useful to know before you start!)
- How much of a raise do you want? Be specific – and add 50% for haggling purposes
- What do you need to do to prove that you deserve a raise and are worth the cost?
Ideally, start planning your approach three months before you actually ask for a raise. Think about how you can make yourself more useful and visible by taking on extra responsibilities. Start subtly highlighting your efforts about two months before you make the request.
Know Your Market
Talk to your peers at other clinics about what they’re making to get a better idea of the going rate in your local area. Take into consideration their experience and the type of animals they work with. For example, someone who specialises in exotic pets will probably make more than someone who mainly works with dogs and cats.
About a month before you start negotiations, look at similar jobs online to get an idea of what they’re paying.
Have a Goal in Mind
When you ask for a raise, have the figure you want in mind—and ask for 50% more. You’ll probably find that you need to haggle and end up somewhere near your original figure.
Always talk about the new total, not the size of the raise, and choose a slightly odd number like £81,000 or £127,000 to increase your chances of success. Also consider what non-financial benefits you might like to ask for, such as continuing education, flexible hours, more time off, profit sharing, bonuses, or even a pathway to partnership.
Prepare Your Arguments
Be prepared to explain why you think you deserve the raise. What have you done to add value? Consider:
- What you’ve done above and beyond your job
- Reliability and commitment
- Any special skills your colleagues don’t share
- Recent special accomplishments
Choose the Right Time And Place
Timing is crucial. Choose a low-stress time, perhaps early in the day. The time of the year can also matter: if your practice has slow periods, choose a time when business is booming and money is flowing in. Arrange your meeting well ahead of time, and let your boss know clearly what it’s about.
Choosing the place is also important: make sure it’s somewhere private, perhaps off-site, but not in a cafe or restaurant, as you need to keep things focused on business.
With a friend or mentor who knows the industry (again, not a colleague!) roleplay your meeting and practise the specific words you’ll use to ask for your raise, how to overcome objections, when to talk and when to listen, and how to bring the conversation to a mutually beneficial close.
Be proud of your valuable skills and experience. Asking for a raise isn’t selfish, it’s about establishing your self-worth. And it should be something you do every year. If you aren’t achieving a work-life balance and a deserving salary, contact us to see what opportunities are out there!