‘Should I ask for a pay rise even if Andrew Bailey doesn’t want me to?’

dear moral money,

I have been working in a small family business for about three years and have not received a raise in that time. Now that my bills are going up, I’m starting to struggle.

I used an online inflation calculator this week and found that I’m now making less in real terms than I did at my old job, even though my wages are higher on paper. In a way, I feel like I wasted three years of my career.

However, the company I work for is struggling. My boss is a dear friend and I know they would accept my request, but having to pay me more could put them in a dangerous financial position.

I read that Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has urged people not to ask for big pay rises as it could lead to a spike in inflation.

I see myself as a sane member of society and I don’t want to make things worse for the country or my company, but I’m fighting. What should I do?

VL, via email

Asking for a raise can be daunting, and many people will be in the same boat as you after seeing the cost of living rise dramatically over the past few months.

As things stand, your boss may not realize that you have concerns about pay, so it’s important that you make them aware of your position.

Although your concern for the company’s finances is understandable given your relationship with your boss, remember that you are an employee of the company and are not responsible for its financial viability. You should not be expected to sacrifice your own good for the company of another.

Your boss may argue that you’re getting paid the right amount for your skills and experience, but you won’t know until you’ve talked about it. If your boss doesn’t think you deserve a raise, but you believe you could make more for the same job elsewhere, consider moving to a new company. After all, it is currently an employee market with a record number of job offers.

Of course, there are other reasons to stay in a job besides the pay. Non-financial benefits such as parental leave or flexible working hours can be valued higher than hard money. Only you can decide if it’s worth underpaying for these factors.

The fact that the company may not be able to afford a raise is also a red flag. It’s worth exploring other options if you’re worried the company might go bust in the near future.

As you point out, Andrew Bailey recently urged workers not to demand large wage increases as inflation continues to rise. Mr Bailey, who incidentally earns £575,000 a year, said he turned down a pay rise for 2022. This doesn’t mean you or anyone else has to do this, especially if you’re having trouble. ‘Should I ask for a pay rise even if Andrew Bailey doesn’t want me to?’

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