Current world and economic affairs are pretty stressful at present. Inflation is becoming a harsh reality and many people are looking at rising costs compared to what they’re earning and becoming concerned. Without a salary increase, how are they to make ends meet?

Unfortunately it’s not only employees asking that question. Companies have been severely squeezed in the past few years. Even before the pandemic the construction industry was operating on lean margins. While these improved somewhat, pressures remain.

As much as employees feel that they need and deserve a pay increase, this may not always be feasible. In this article we explore some of the reasons why as well as how employees can approach the question of an increase.

Pay cheque versus reality check

While some construction companies are doing remarkably well despite challenging economic conditions this is the exception. If companies are fortunate enough to not be struggling with cash flow, then there are the challenge of skill shortages and rising material costs. Managers are being required to stretch budgets and do more with less. As much as they would like to reward employees with increases for their efforts, they may simply not have the budget to do so. So what are the alternatives?

With pressures to continue increasing output there is a very real risk of burnout. With companies not able to afford to lose their best employees or offer substantial increases, there are alternatives.

Working with what you have

Adopting a policy of random bonus days off gives employees some breathing room to recharge. LinkedIn recently started offering employees 7 consecutive days off outside of their standard leave. Recognising that employees are working harder and at risk of burnout they felt this was the most viable solution. For employees looking to increase their benefits, having time off to spend with family might be the next best option.

Flexible working is a strong negotiating point. The ability to work from home can reduce costs, especially considering the rising costs of fuel and commuting. With no additional cost to the company, this can help employees save and reduce financial pressures. Emerging from the pandemic, many companies are more open to flexible working conditions and when approached from a financial perspective, they  make a lot of sense.

Economic challenges are unlikely to recede in the coming months. Rather than expecting increases, employees should think creatively about alternate solutions and be open to negotiating compromises.