City superwoman Dame Helena Morrissey reveals how to get a pay-rise

City superwoman and mother-of-nine Dame Helena Morrissey reveals how to CHARM your way to a pay rise – and says women still pitch their salary expectations too low

  • Dame Helena Morrissey, 52,  is head of personal investing at Legal & General 
  • The businesswoman has been offering advice on how to secure a pay rise at work
  • Reveals it is possible to ‘charm’ your way to getting a raise – and says getting confrontational over money with your boss never works
  • The mother-of-nine has juggled a stellar career with parenting her giant brood – but says her husband has been key to family life running smoothly

Businesswoman Dame Helena Morrissey has revealed her top tips for securing a pay rise at work – and says women often sell themselves short when negotiating their salaries.

The mother-of-nine, 52, who had carved out a glittering city career by the age of 35, and earns a seven-figure salary as the head of personal investing at Legal & General, says charm can be the key to persuading your boss you are worth more money.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Dame Helena, whose husband Richard has been the main carer for their nine children, aged from nine to 26, says an unemotional but charming approach was the key.

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Charm offensive: Dame Helena Morrissey, 52, head of Legal & General and a mother-of-nine, says stating your case as to why you deserve a pay rise in an unemotional, charming way is the key to getting what you want

She explained: ‘To maintain good relations with your boss, my own recommendation is always to use charm.

‘I recommend you start your pay negotiations by referring to the facts and making your case in a calm, non-confrontational, yes, even charming way.’

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The businesswoman added that setting out what you’ve achieved in an evidence-based way is also key, with detailed examples of how you’ve helped the company you’re working for.

Dame Helena also expressed disappointment that gender often still plays a role in whether a person achieved a pay increase, saying women were naturally more reluctant to fight for better wages. 

She said: ‘We need to encourage women to get over this natural reluctance, to ensure they get credited for doing a good job. 

Superwoman Helena with her extraordinary family; the businesswoman says women still need to be more confident when carving out a successful career path. (Pictured from left: Millie, 19, Clara, 18, Tuppy, 19, Flo, 23, Theo, 12, Fitz, 26, Octavia, 15, Helena’s husband Richard, Cecily, ten, Helena, Bea, nine)

‘I’ve even interviewed women who have pitched their salary expectations too low for the role and when I’ve queried it, hinting as much, they come back with an even lower figure.’

Dame Helena added maintaining a cool head and a non-confrontational approach are also important, with little gain to be had from letting frustrations over annual salary pour forth in your boss’s office.

Helena herself has been labelled a supermum for managing to juggle her high-powered career with being a mother-of-nine – but in her most recent book, A Good Time To Be A Girl, she says that having a house husband has been crucial to her success.

Richard decided to give up his job in the run up to the birth of their fourth child and soon turned to Buddhism, becoming a monk while devoting himself to family life.

Helena previously told the Times how the couple made the decision that Richard would leave work: ‘When we were expecting our fourth child, he sat down one day and said, “Look, we are struggling to cope with both of us having jobs'” — such as working out which one of us would get home to relieve the nanny or wait at home in the morning until she arrives.’

Dame Helena, pictured in 2010, said she was disappointed that gender still played a role when it came to salaries. She told the Sunday Times Magazine: ‘I’ve even interviewed women who have pitched their salary expectations too low for the role and when I’ve queried it, hinting as much, they come back with an even lower figure’

The longest period of maternity leave Helena took was five months with her shortest leave from work being just shy of three months. Despite her intense working schedule, all of the Morrissey children were breastfed.

Richard says caring for the needs of nine children has seen him focus on routine to successfully raise them including a 5pm ‘mocktail’ session every day and sitting down to relax with episodes of the American sitcom, Modern Family.

He reveals the hardest part of his role looking after the Morrissey brood has been society’s views of stay-at-home fathers. He says that ‘being a parent in our society is not seen as a meaningful, full-time role, especially for a man, given the lack of income.’

The couple became grandparents at Christmas after their daughter, Flo, 23, gave birth to a son.


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