1. Penalty shootouts 
  2. Eurovision 
  3. Predicting the weather 
  4. Understanding whether we are at a party or work 
  5. Talking about money 


There are five very different things on this list, but they all have one thing in common; These are things that I believe we British, are not very good at. 

Now whilst you might argue that Eurovision is no longer a stigma for the us to hold following the recent success of Sam Ryder. I would argue one swallow, does not make a summer. You might also say that understanding whether the gathering you are at, is actually work or a party, is really only specific to one house in the entire country. A Fair point. However, one thing we can surely agree on is that as a nation we are not fantastic at talking about money, salary, or the dreaded pay-rise? 

Don’t think we are bad at talking about our own salaries? Just Google ‘how to ask for a pay-rise,’ and you will see page after pay of articles written on this topic. A BBC article on this advises people ‘not to giggle,’ to ask at ‘the right time,’ and to complete what feels like scientific research to come up with the value we are asking for. I mean when is the right time, and for who? The business, the economy, or me?! 

Pip Jamieson Founder of the Dots, the professional networking site and creative alternative to LinkedIn once famously said; ‘No one ever got fired for asking for a pay rise.’ A great soundbite which is used in nearly every article you will find on this topic written in the past four years. Jamieson went on to say asking for a pay-rise is a good thing when stating ‘In fact rather the opposite – asking for more money shows ambition and shows you want to stay with the company.’  

So that’s it then, asking for a pay-rise is a good thing! It will turn me into a legend within the upper management of business, and I will be spending my extra income before you can say ‘cost of living crisis?’ I’m afraid not. Being honest, talking about money is still a problem I come across nearly every day in my role, and it does cause anxiety and frustration for both individual and businesses alike. 

So, what is my insight to this struggle and what solutions can I offer? Let me share with you the three most common people I come across when it comes to talking about money during the recruitment process. I will also share the problems such people pose, and the advice I can offer. 


The Ranger

The Ranger is the most common person out there in the great salary debate. The Ranger walks among us, it’s more than likely you are a Ranger in-fact! 

When asked the question of ‘what salary would you require to make a career change right now?’ The Ranger confidently replies ‘I would be looking for between £45,000 and £55,000.’ They don’t realise there are so many problems with that answer from; a range is not a number, why would someone not just pick the bottom of the range, to a £10,000 range on average of £50,000 is quite large. More than any of these things however the Ranger puts questions into my own mind about how serious someone is about making a career change. You must know your value, and that value needs to be specific. 

The solution? You need to be bang on the money (pardon the pun,) let’s get specific here. Let’s talk about the exact number you need, and or want to make that exciting move, most importantly why have you picked that number? The last point is just as important as the number itself. 


The Charity Worker

This is probably the one, being honest I find the most frustrating. The Charity Worker is a sure as the day is long that they are not moving jobs for money, money offer ZERO motivation to them, they are moving for progression, a better work life balance, and the challenge. The Charity Worker quite simply does not even need to think about money, it’s not and has never been about that. 

Brilliant I hear you shout! Moving the Charity Worker must be a recruiters dream right? Wrong! The Charity Worker can turn into a nightmare for me, their existing business, and the business who now wants to hire them.  

Why I hear you ask? Because nine times of ten in the current market when any worker goes to resign, they are going to receive a counter offer to stay in post by their current employer. With jobs now officially outstripping people in the UK, there are not many people who want to lose members of their team. 

Nine times out of ten the Charity Worker stays where they are because they have been offered more money, even though nothing else has changed. 

The solution? Accept it is 100% OK to be money motivated, 99% of us have bills and responsibilities that need paying for, and we dream of nicer things in life. This is fine. However, if you want more money, then one, speak to your existing line manager, there is no such thing as the right time, if you feel you have earned, or deserve it, and can demonstrate it, then just ask. Don’t waste yours and a hiring businesses time when you are going to stay where you are when offered more money. 


The Baller 

This person is a post pandemic phenomenon, they certainly were not as prevalent pre 2020 in my experience. The Baller currently earns £45,000 a year and had a pay rise in the past 12 months. When asked how much they would be looking for to make a career move, the Baller calmy replies £60,000. Without even blinking the Baller demands a near 50% pay rise because ‘the market is crazy right now, so I might as-well get as much as I can.’ 

Whilst we can all agree the UK jobs market over the past 12 months have resembled the wild west of crazy town at times, I just don’t think this is the way to go. I am a huge believer in the value someone represents to a business when they are looking to hire is about the value they can bring, rather than what they were paid before. That said, the Baller can never explain why they want some a big pay rise, they certainly can’t provide tangible examples. 

The solution? Don’t be a Baller. You weren’t one pre-pandemic, don’t be one post pandemic, it makes you look greedy and delusional. It is however fine to ask for more money than you are currently on if you can clearly demonstrate the value you can add to level this equation. Can you do that? 


In short (at the end of a long article,) I am not sure if we will ever get over our adversity to talking about money, and pay rises, any more than I don’t hold hope of England winning a penalty shoot-out in football anytime soon. 

I would however just like to finish by saying money is not a dirty word and wanting more of it for the work you do does not make you a bad person. Like most things in life this topic is best dealt with through communication, whether this be with yourself as to what is important to you in the career you want to have. Or to your boss who drives the Roller and thinks can share a bit of that wealth with you! 

If you want my advice; if you want more money in either your existing job or new job, then just ask for it. Just be specific, know what you need, and why you need it. 

This article was written by Craig Fenn, Product Partner at Digfital 51. Do you find it difficult to talk about your salary, are you a Ranger, Charity Worker, or Baller? Craig would love to hear from you on if you are.