Money is something that many of us are uncomfortable discussing, so it is really important to be prepared when negotiating a pay raise in order to have the best chance of success. It’s not uncommon for these discussions to take place only once a year, so you want to make the most of the opportunity when it does present itself. A basic statement such as: “I believe I am entitled to a pay raise,” may be less persuasive than an argument based on evidence. The following are some pointers that will be of assistance, and hopefully get you a pay rise soon:
Timing is Key!
When it comes to work, not everyone is entitled to a pay raise simply because they request one, as many people believe. Despite the fact that there is nothing wrong with putting forth a case for a raise, it is critical to do so at the appropriate time. You shouldn’t ask for a raise if you know your company is experiencing a difficult financial period, or if the market conditions are not favorable, or if you know you are at the end of a long line of others who are also looking for the same thing. If your timing is right and your performance justifies a raise, you will have a better chance of being successful than if your timing is off. Adding pressure at the wrong time can have a negative impact on your potential to get a pay raise in the future.
Before Asking for a Raise, do your Market Research!
There are a plethora of job boards available to you, all of which will have positions advertised that are similar to the one you are currently doing. These are incredibly useful if you are going to be negotiating with a manager or director, because you will be able to bring their competition into the discussion. It’s important to note that job postings in your field will outline the qualifications for the position, including relevant years of experience, as well as the salary, which will allow you to gain an understanding of what comparable positions will pay. You may also have a good relationship with a recruitment consultant with whom you have previously worked, who will be able to provide you with information on market levels and what you should expect in the future. Consider your core working hours, benefits, and other factors in addition to your base salary because they all have an impact on the final package you receive. If you are earning less than the average, it can be good to show what competitors are offering in order to seal the deal and secure higher pay.
Ensure you have the Original Job Specifications on Hand
When you first started working for the company, your role should have been clearly defined in a job description, and the salary you were offered should have been based on your ability to perform that specific role. It’s a good idea to go over the job description again and include any additional tasks you perform on top of the original requirements. This can then clearly demonstrate how your role has grown and developed, and, as a result, how the new role should be paid at a higher salary level than the one you started with, among other things. You will have more factual information to back up your argument and demonstrate your added value to the company if you have a list of your accomplishments. If your job has changed to incorporate new work you are not hired to perform, this is often referred to as scope creep, and you can always consider compromising and reducing your workload to eliminate tasks you were not hired for if your company refuses you a raise.
Keep the End Results in Mind, and Don’t Commit Too Soon!
Prepare for the meeting by having a figure or package in mind of what you expect to receive, and allow yourself time to consider any offers that are made to you during the meeting. Keep your options open and resist the temptation to speak or commit yourself to an offer too soon; taking a night to think about it can be extremely beneficial and demonstrates that you are committed to the process. This then gives you the opportunity to return with a compromise or other suggestions after you have had some time to think about them.
A pay increase may not be possible at the time of your discussion; however, you should inquire about what you will need to accomplish and when you will be able to accomplish it so that you will qualify for pay increases in the future. Alternatively, if your company is unable to support a pay increase, you could request more vacation time or more flexible working hours, which will not be a direct financial burden on the company. Another option would be to request additional training and development, which would be beneficial to both you and the company in the long run. This, in turn, will allow you to become a more valuable asset to the company as time progresses, and it will also give them an incentive to keep you on board once you are well trained.
Always Follow Up!
Years of marketing have jaded me somewhat, however it’s really important to keep track of the outcomes of your meeting in writing so that you have a foundation to build on for your next review and so that everything that was discussed is documented. Keep in mind that your boss may not be the final decision-maker, so writing down your case in a clear and concise manner will assist them in communicating your request to someone in a higher power.
Always Remain Professional!
In the event that you are unsuccessful in your pay raise negotiations despite your best efforts, remember to remain calm and professional throughout the process. You don’t want to resign in haste due to frustrations and then find yourself without a job – this is something you should avoid. You will need your employer for future references, and you never know when your paths might cross again, especially if you stay in the same industry. You don’t want to burn any bridges, so don’t burn any bridges with your former employer. If you do end up leaving for whatever reason, it can be nice to give a leaving card, as this actually helped me get a job back with Bupa back in the day, as my manager remembered it and still had it in the office.
Asking for a pay increase should demonstrate to your employer that you are eager to advance within the organisation and are committed to your career. Regardless of the outcome, it can position you as a strong contender when promotions are being considered as someone who is looking to move forward.