Asking for a pay raise is a tricky thing. No one has really trained you to open up about matters regarding money. You’ve been trained to patiently wait at work for your superior to bring it up, if ever, even when your mind races daily around questions about when and how much after being in the same job for nearly five years.
Now, more than ever, you’re obsessing over your salary package details. You’ve been handling more complicated tasks you know are way outside of what your official job title entails. You have been at this for a while, so how long will you wait? More importantly, how will you bring it up, and when?
Before you make an appointment with your manager or human resources asking for a salary review, you need to prepare so you get it right. Heed the following advice from the top recruitment agencies:
- Get the timing right.
Remember that timing is everything. You should be realistic when it comes to exactly how much your company can offer you, if at all. Troubling times usually mean retrenchment for some, reduced salaries, or simply no increase until things really improve. If everyone’s been getting emails from the company asking staff for ideas on how to cut costs, it’s probably best not to proceed just yet.
But if profits have been great the last few years, and the company is expanding, then count yourself fortunate. Your company can probably afford to raise the salary of a stellar employee such as yourself.
- Research industry trends.
One important preparation you can make is to gather information on prevailing industry rates for people in your profession with a similar background or experience level. You should also factor in the additional responsibilities you’ve been tasked to handle for quite some time as well as your accomplishments. This will help make your case come off as objective and not merely arising out of despair or extreme personal need.
- Be professional.
Properly schedule a meeting with a clear agenda. When you try to make your case before your boss, emphasize the value of the work you produce and how essential it is in furthering company growth. Provide a neatly typed list of your accomplishments and contributions to the team. Go over them with your boss, but avoid comparing your work with that of others.
A good boss would have had a pay increase for you (and similar staff) in mind and may have actually worked on your behalf but is still waiting for a decision, so you making your case as objectively as possible may help further the cause
- Consider adjustments in benefits and perks.
If your company cannot increase your salary for one reason or another (e.g., your salary is already substantially higher than those in the same position), you can negotiate on other terms. Perhaps you can have expanded vacation options or additional leave days and training opportunities. You may want to consider negotiating for flexi timings, remote work options, a change in your job title, or improvements in your incentive structure.
- Take a moment of silence.
When an offer is made and it is beneath your expectations, recruitment consultants recommend staying silent. If you get a good or reasonable offer, stay silent. Thank your boss for the time, and ask for a day or two to mull over the offer. Ruminate on your response and properly frame it. Of course you’ll accept. Thank your boss for the offer. Your success in negotiating shows a degree of assertiveness and will ensure that the door stays open for future negotiations.
Usually, when the company simply cannot afford it, you will be informed upfront. You may decide to inquire about your options – if you can go and get a transfer to another section (with better pay), or simply take a wait and see approach.
Do not, however, expect too much, nor should you make threats or get confrontational. Keep a clear head, do your job well, and be patient. If you feel you cannot wait any longer, review your career plan and options, browse through the latest job adverts available, and see where they will take you.
A recruitment professional with over twenty years’ experience in the field and a record of entrepreneurial accomplishment, David is Managing Director and Head of HR at Mackenzie Jones.
In 2003, David set up Mackenzie Jones in the UK, growing the business across two offices in London and Birmingham. In 2005 David established Mackenzie Jones in Dubai to serve the Gulf region and neighbouring countries. As the Group MD, David is responsible for the overall direction of the Mackenzie Jones Group including Mackenzie Jones, MumsAtWork, MENA Solutions, Simply Digital and ThinkTech.