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How to get a pay rise during a slump in profits


Active Member
Hay peeps,
Just thought I would make a post because I am hearing so much these days, especially down the local, my companies looking to lay off I know I'll be next, company wont be here in x months etc...etc... got in this morning after having my review this week and got a pay rise starting next year, even though our company is £12k worse off this year than the year before.

I honestly believe, ego aside for a change, I know hardly happens, that if more people honestly followed how I have done it then less people would be being made unemployed and more companies would be doing a lot better, so hence why I thought I would share, as hopefully it may help some peeps.

Background I am a project manager at the company and the sales team of 2 are out pretty much every day networking etc..etc... and no ones biting, sales are right down than this time last year and the year before, they both say its unheard of how much they are haivng to actually fight for business. But that is when you should pick up the ball, and rather than sitting around doing nothing look for improvements, look to see where clients may want to spend more etc...etc...

What I have been doing is making my self valuable to the company. We have had mad patches where it has been manic and other paches espically recently where it has been really quite. But during the quite days I blog, I look for errors on the site, 404's, analytic data, keywords we have missed, I spread the work we have out, I see how the company site can be improved, SEO wise, useability wise, accessibility wise, design wise in general and I let the MD's know about it and why I think it would be. I improve in house proceedure's, in a design meeting I push on areas the sales team may have missed, or the client didn't think about before hand, this then goes back to the sales team for a fresh quote etc...1 client alone I doubled the price of the work as I was like O how about this...and they where like didn't think of that when they mentioned something. Not a problem I will need to run it past sales first as its outside of the invoice, not a problem and that was it.

That even includes at the weekends rather than sitting around on a Sunday thinking I could go down the pub and moan that in 6 months I may not have a job or I could blog, do something to push the business that little bit more, even though its not my business and I'm not getting paid.

I know 4 of my blogs have bought business in so it really does work.

If its busy and the MD's say use freelancers to cope I work outside my hours to make sure I don't have to, or I rescheule work I can put off, to get round having to that way the company makes more from having fewer over heads from paying freelancers. Sorry freelancers.

Now if profits where down by 12k this year than the year before think how much more they would have been if we then paid free lancers to help us out and I hadn't pushed areas the sales team may have missed, I hadn't blogged and bought in more business that way?

When clients phone in ask them about alternative solutions if it makes sense/they are teeting on the edge of asking anyay, I got 2 minor website updates, 1 cms enquiry and 1 new web page in one day from doing that and I'm not even part of sales.

Then you see, like the MD's have, that even though the company made £12k less this year than last, that 1 your contribution is worth far more than it is currently, and 2 that you are no candidate for cuts, when maybe the others around you who haven't gone that extra mile are.

End of the day with the country on the edge of a second recession I would rather do more at home where I am not paid and have a job in 6 months time as I am seen as a valuable part of the company, company asset if you like, then do just what I am asked and be cut because I haven't done anything to help the company through a down turn and the profits are down too much to justify keeping you on.

For example one of the areas recently is I convinced the sales team to focus more on SEO customers than new sites as SEO customers generate more money in the long term and blogs I read tell me companies are upping their SEO budgets as its a better form of marketing. Again pushing what I know to make the company better as a whole.

Just think where you can be noticed for improving the company and do it, but make your self known that you have done it, otherwise your hard work will go unnoticed and you may still be laid off, which would be harsh.

But what I know now is the hours I have done for free with this pay rise will be paid for plus a lot more in the long run, because I worked for free.

If you are a freelancer, coming from someone who hands work out to freelancers, do the same go that extra mile. We have one freelancer where if he can do it I will pass him the work over the others as I know he will use CSS3 and go that extra mile than the others, and for the same price thats who I then go to, because he's doing the same, he's better value for the money we pay him, and thats what you need to do make yourself not the same value what the company invests in you, but make what they pay out to you pay them far more back then you wont be the name on the list if it comes to cuts.

Hope my logic helps someone else as it has done me so thought I would share. :)


That's definitely some great advice there. I think it's one of those things that's kind of obvious - when you actually sit down and think about it. The problem is that not many people actually do take or have the time/inclination to do so.

You must have a very stable and mutually beneficial working environment for you to do all that work off your own back - I think that is possibly why a lot of people don't have the same desire to succeed. Business culture in this country isn't very supportive in that way unfortunately.

Thank you for sharing that with us :)


Active Member
The problem is that not many people actually do take or have the time/inclination to do so.
Don't take this the wrong way then I really wish so many people would stop saying how hard thier life is right now, how it was unfair they got the cut, they are out of work when it is not their fault, granted they are in a pub rather than getting their CV going round every, biking if they don't have a car, business related to what they were doing and basically begging for work. If they say we sub out to agencys, ask for the agency number. Send off CVs in my opinion is a suckers game. Why do you think you/anyone should get a job if all the work you/they did was write a letter and put it in a envelope and over 100 people apply for a job that has £400/month attached to it, and yes thats what we got for a temp Admin. Just as why should I get a payrise if all I have done is what I was told?

Seriously said it to loads of peeps round me so many times now, its really not funny anymore as not one person I would put money on it, has done it, yet they have time to sit and moan they don't have any work coming in, in the pub!

I have two jobs at the mo, evening and weekends working with EBD kids and, Monday to Friday web development project manager, and I blog for WEb Dev job when I am not working, thats not including freelancing or volunteering for adventure scouts that I also do and if I can find time so can anyone, as I also have 3 kids 50% of the month on my own as currently I am single so don't give me how people just don't have the time sob story. Sorry but that is nothing more than one massive excuse and really pees me off. Same as "..moaning they don't have any work coming in, in the pub (WITH PINT IN HAND)!" no crap you don't, yopur in the pub with a pint in your hand, what are you doing networking? :mad:
But you are happy spending my tax money drinking that pint.

I know loads of peeps, hence why I posted, who don't even have one job and think totally that it is not their fault they got made redundant. But when you ask them what did they do to keep their job, how did they stand out, you can guarentee it is the same as everyone else, nothing than what I was told, why should I? Okay then:
Why should you keep it, when people need to go?
Then why are you suprised if you did not stand out?
Why are you surpirsed if you did not save the company money they don't keep you?
Why are you surprised if you didn't see areas the company could improve and just improve them. That way the company makes more money and less people then have to get made redundant.

You must have a very stable and mutually beneficial working environment for you to do all that work off your own back
Actually no, TBH until recently I thought I may be out of a job mid 2012, hence WHY I put the effort in to keep it. Not O I am going to be out of a job in 6-8months I know it so why bother I'll do what I am told and nothing more.

Business culture in this country isn't very supportive in that way unfortunately
Sorry but I really do disagree, I think your right if you don't premote the business your working under, if you stand out and are noticed for standing out it is totally a different kettle of fish especially now, weird saying that, but if you don't stand out your grey like everybody else, stand out and your colour. Who are going to be the prime candidate's for cuts, or even a payrise with less coming in even in big companies? The grey people or the people who are coloured in?

In another way, who are the company assets and who are two for a penny?
Because I grant it the assets will be the last out the door.

And if you can make the company more money in your own time, they may not need to have any cuts, as I personally think if I havdn't of improved it and earned that extra cash for the business, but more importantly shown why I am an asset rather than why I am in the office at all, then well my old boss, one of the MD's would have done my job again, rather than in my review ask me about company direction.
I think the moral of it all is, instead of crying about what you don't have, start fighting for what you want!

When stuff started to get bad at my (non graphic design) job, I put my design hobby into high gear, and started to pick up work to pick up the slack and lost days at my actual job. Needless to say worked picked up, and now I'm slammed on both fronts.

But I'm not complaining. hehe


Jaz, I'm not sure how you interpreted the first point you quoted but I agree that far too many people complain about their situation and don't do enough to solve those problems. I mentioned people not having time as a catch all clause because I don't like say "everyone" does or doesn't do something and I'm sure there are people out their working their arses off and not getting anywhere. However, that's most certainly the exception and not the rule. So just to clarify I was agreeing with you about that situation and not trying to defend people who are too lazy to use their initiative.

I'm not sure if you're referring to just the design industry here, but I was talking more along the lines of work in general, be it in a super market or a design studio.

However, motivation is not something that everyone has and it is often incredibly difficult to maintain in an environment where even when you do try your hardest you get put down or have the credit taken by other people. That destroys motivation and in turn will leave employees feeling neglected and very much unwilling to do extra work because hey, why put those extra hours in if it's not going to amount to anything? Perhaps you've just been lucky if you haven't witnessed or been a victim of this in the work place (again, I'm not talking strictly about graphic design and if it can happen in one job there is no reason it can't happen in another) but it most certainly does happen. Let's not forget about office/workplace politics either.

You seem like a very motivated person that understands how things work on a larger scale but some people just aren't brought up in a way that allows them to develop those skills and character traits. What I meant by stable and mutually beneficial working environment was a workplace which doesn't hinder your abilities in any way, be it physically or psychologically, I wasn't referring to job security. In that environment it's easy to stand out from the crowd but unfortunately a lot of people don't have the luxury of working in such an environment.

These are obviously all subjective points which I raise not to argue against you jaz but to simply explore the different possibilities and situations that other people may be going through. It's unfortunate but I know that generally people take the easy option to solve an issue, if they even decide to fix a problem in the first place, which will undoubtedly result in lots of people sitting at the pub complaining about how unfair life is.

Don't get me wrong, I have little to no sympathy or time for anyone who simply can't be bothered to do things in life. I've had many a conversation with my mother who will defend my long-term unemployed, stay-at-home brother who holds no formal education to the death but she will never listen as she simply believes that there are no jobs anywhere on the planet and if there are that an illegal immigrant will steal it. I gave up trying a long time ago...


Squiddy said:
Don't get me wrong, I have little to no sympathy or time for anyone who simply can't be bothered to do things in life. I've had many a conversation with my mother who will defend my long-term unemployed, stay-at-home brother who holds no formal education to the death but she will never listen as she simply believes that there are no jobs anywhere on the planet and if there are that an illegal immigrant will steal it. I gave up trying a long time ago...
Sounds like my brother-in-law.. he's a waste of space too...:mad:


Active Member
Sorry maybe I misinterrpeted where you coming from, it just really gets to me, because so many people blame the banks etc...and yeah it is their fault but its not why they lost their job. Granted more businesses lost income streams coming in when cuts took place but it always outstounds me when you can just see area's where businesses can or should have improved and didn't as they have just carried on on the same business plan where is what they should have done is gone right, this has worked for us up until now but wont be in 6 months where else can we take the business starting from today?

At my review thats exactly what I did, I said get out of static and CMS systems focus more on converstion and optimization.

1 CMS site £1800
Conversion rate optimization £300/month, over £10k of sales in a month 1% of profits on top.
SEO £200/month

Do the math of what 1 client alone will equal over the year and how long it took to get the 1 CMS customer. You change your business plan to adapt to the market not carry on like so many have on a plan that no longer works. Now if someone doesn't point that out what will happen in 6months when contracts start drying up? Cuts, what will happen if the business plan was changed 6months previous? Higher chance of no one losing their jobs at all and the company making more money. What if you see it the business owners don't?

Take my mate, he has had 2 websites both for a start up business of his which is focused online, he has no website experiance and has always gone with the cheapest providers. I have said both times previous to his new venture which to be far this one will work buts its a website for a offline business, lets cut it 50/50, what will you bring to the business he has always said? Now this is a prime example of most businesses from my experiance.

Well for one I will get it ranked accross the board, 2 I will make it easy for people to buy and 3 I will build you a top of the range site, that if you had done by a company that knows what they are doing would costs you well over 10grand. I mean its what I do day in day out, he thinks puttings words in the keyword tag would make the site on page 1 for those terms, but again a business owner who can't see where his business needs to be improved on.

Yeah but if I make £50k he has said both times I'll have to give you £25k and not take £50k for my self. Yeah if you make £50k your right. :D

6months later I got a call, actually both where about 5-6months later the website, not done by me, hasn't worked out I'm shutting it down got this other great idea.

Now he was right 50% of £50k would have meant he only got £25k but by not taking my services on he lost money in hosting, paying for the site and domain name, and hours he put in to it, so lost more because he was like so many other businesses, IE not looking at the bigger picture.

Now ask your self how many businesses you have worked with indirectly or directly and gone wow you could make so much more if you did this that and this, now if people on the inside said that then profits would go up and even if they didn't stand out/where recognised for doing it/got the credit because profits where up less people would have to go due to thousands upon thousands of flawed business plans that haven't adapted and if they had done it and as James rightly says fought for it they would still have kept their job, may have not got a payrise, or regonised but enough money was made that they kept their job indirectly.

Now my point is more less of ego, well I wont get noticed for doing this so why bother, but more more money coming in from what they have improved and as a result they didn't get the chop because either 1) less people needed to or 2) No-one needed to. :)

I agree about office pollitics but from my experiance some people do keep their jobs when they shouldn't but that said I have never seen anyone how didn't work their ass off never been rewarded, or regonised, for doing so.

And again if you are an employer you would have to be a stupid business owner, again bringing it back in to the business plans that don't adapt, to cut the assets who you know are outside of the office politics.

I may add I stay out of office gossip/clicks/politics that way you can't be singled out for being a muppet, or part of the crowd. Scouting is a prime example of politics dear lord I have never seen so much and it's all volunteers its unbelievable, work wise has bay far nothing on it. But again stay out of it, which is easy if you keep your head clear and don't join in, which is really easy to do at a coffee break, and to you its easy no politics.

So when someone next time goes OMG I can't belive what Tim did....
Did you see what Becky did what a cow...
Walk away and stay out of it and life is so much simplier, because its the clicks that screw it up IMO. If you no you are doing it or not. :)

But think how many people would still be employed if businesses adapted rather than not looking 6months several years ahead, and how many of those people who are now unemplyed 2.7million in the UK at the mo, would not be if they had done something about it regardless if they got noticed or not. :)


I can understand how annoying it is to hear people blaming everyone but themselves for the problems they are having to face now. I've heard it a lot of times they just seem to assume that because there are problems that no one has any money. I've often heard people say things like "Well, how do they expect me (long-term unemployed, unqualified, lacking in character etc) to get a job when there aren't any..? It's just ridiculous". It's then why you point things out like the fact that unemployment has been around the 5.3% mark during 2002 - 2008 even after that it has only risen to around 8% a different of 3% does not give every lazy sod in the country the ability to use the economic situation as a scape goat for their own laziness and inability to adapt. (I'm not quite sure how the ONS and the news organisations are able to quote different figures for different years as the BBC states unemployment was at 2.64% and the ONS says 8.3% for Oct 11)

But herein lies one of the biggest problems - humans are a reactive species by nature. It takes something bad to happen before things are changed, you can see examples of this almost everywhere you look. Thankfully those who were brought up with the ability to think ahead and consider the consequences of specific events are able to think about all the things you mention jaz, and act accordingly - much like you have done.

Unfortunately the world is much too safe a place for natural selection to be of any substantial effect these days :(


Active Member
I do totally disagree with this:
Unfortunately the world is much too safe a place for natural selection to be of any substantial effect these days
Ha, ha you don't go out too much at the weekends these days do you, or play many sports? :D

But business wise I do disagree as well but I like you so I am going to agree to disagree as I think both of our points have been made, and made well, and neither of us will back down.

Work hard on one side, layabout on the other. :lol:
I work extremely hard during my working hours - then I do what I want in my free time - its what I get paid for and I've still got a bonus / pay rise etc since I make sure I work hard in the context of what I am expected to do during my contracted hours. I've said it on another thread that a work life balance I really important for your health and general well being. If you feel your job is potentially under threat and you feel safer by working extra for free and at weekends then fair enough - by the sounds of it the raise might just cover all your overtime? Of course anyone getting a pay rise in these harsh times is good.

Don't get me wrong with the right company (it could be the one your at, or it could not be) all your hard work could really pay off and who knows in a few years you could become a partner in the company - on the other hand you could get a steady pay rise each year, which only really pays some of your overtime.

Generally speaking, all the workaholics need to make sure all your extra hard work isn't taken for granted and is not expected of you as like I say, the work / life balance is important and too much work could have a negative impact on your life inside and outside work...


I find that some times the workaholics don't usually climb the ladder very fast as they're doing "such a good job" in their current position and promoting them to a position outside of their current team/location would mean that other people have to pick up the slack - and they usually don't so the efficiency of the team drops.

I agree with the work/life balance, definitely. I always think that my job should support my lifestyle, not the other way around.