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With unemployment at a three year high, and very little recruitment going on, now’s the perfect time to get a pay rise. Here’s a guide.

Move to the agency with the highest base salaries

Staffed by former wife-beaters, drug addicts, and Somalian pirates, this move is sure to see you with an extra $20k in your pocket. Well, your basic will go up by $20k, but billings may be hard to come by time you figure out that your firm has been blacklisted round town due to your boss being on P. There is also the slight disadvantage that the business model only works in a post-covid boom, and you’ll find yourself redundant in three months. Strangely, your boss will still own a house in Remuera, and the “new” business will be registered under the office dog’s name.

Tell your boss you need one because of the cost of living or “tax”

Working on the assumption that your boss lives in a parallel universe where prices were frozen before decimalisation, tell your boss that with the cost of living, you need a higher basic. Ignore the fact that you’re not billing, that a higher basic means a higher threshold, and that absolutely no one else is getting a pay rise (even those who bill more than you), and reiterate the fact that you should get more for less until the whole business declares bankruptcy. Or, as has happened to me, explain to your boss what income tax is and how much the government take, because business owners only pay tax on the champagne which gushes from our gold-plated taps.

Use the fact you were once paid $110k by a firm who fired you to justify being paid $120k elsewhere

What stronger argument for a pay rise than this. An owner of a blue collar recruitment firm drunkenly offers you a job after trying to finger you in Chapel, and you show up Monday with a serviette scribbled with “I WILL PAY YOU $110K. YOU ARE HOT!! 027*** ****”. From this point on, you are a recruiter who is easily worth this, no matter how you perform.

Change industry and demand a $10k pay rise

Spend 5 years understanding an industry, and building up your network. Decide that you’re bored/the industry is dead/ you’ve burnt all your bridges, and move to another sector. Start afresh and spend 6 months googling what “ruby on rails” is, all the time getting paid more than you did when you were doing a job you actually knew how to do.

Explain to your boss how every cent you bill over your basic is pure profit for the business

Demonstrate your commercial prowess by reminding your boss that your $15k month is over $8k in their back pocket. Be sure to remind them of this should they book a weekend camping trip with their family. “It’s alright for some” you remark.

Talk about how many “years of experience” you have to the millisecond, but become surprisingly forgetful when asked what you actually bill

In this market, no one cares about results. What they do care about is that your first placement was a lamp-lighter of old London town. Skirt the subject of performance, and talk about your work with Nokia, Kodak, Telecom, and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Become a “non-billing” manager

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Well Billy Ocean doesn’t know sh*t about agency recruitment. What he should have said is “when the going gets tough. the tough decide they want to mentor a team of three and never make a sales call again“. Unfortunately this is less catchy so let’s go easy on Billy.

Anyway, hopefully this helps some of you out there. Have a great weekend.