So you have the job you want, and you’ve been there for a while. Your responsibilities within the role have grown, or perhaps you’ve improved processes or profits. But there’s been no talk of increasing your remuneration.
Salary reviews are often part of an organisation’s annual appraisal process, but not always. If they aren’t (and let’s face it, most companies don’t want to part with money voluntarily), then it’s up to you to ask.
There’s no denying that asking for a pay-rise is daunting. It may be one of the toughest meetings you have. But if you know you deserve it and you won’t be happy in that job without it, then you need to take action.
Think about why you deserve it
Brainstorm: write down your strengths, your achievements to date in the role, and any tangible cost savings or profit increases you have brought about. Be specific. These are the facts you’ll need when your boss asks you that terrifying question: why?
Give your proposal some real thought:
- How much do you believe you deserve? It’s hard to put a value on yourself, so do some research into benchmark salaries for similar positions in your industry (look at online job boards and salary surveys), ensuring that you’re looking at comparable business sizes, responsibility levels, qualifications and experience.
- As well as tangible savings and profits, there are hidden costs to be considered. Have you improved levels of customer satisfaction? Saved time by improving processes? Increased quality of a service or product? List these.
- Be realistic; it’s unlikely you’ll receive a 20% increase.
- Don’t sell yourself short. Know what you’re worth and aim for that; you can always negotiate down, but you can’t negotiate up.
- Think about the future. How will you give the company real ‘value for money’ if they invest this money in you? Write down your plans and goals for improving things even further.
Schedule the meeting
Make a time with your manager to sit down and discuss the issue. Make it a time and location that mean you have undivided attention and some time to talk it through rationally.
There’s no way around it now; just do it. Put forward your proposal. This is the time to be a salesperson. Think of it as a pitch and, just like in the job interview, you’re selling you.
- Your current salary, how long you’ve been earning that amount, and why it is no longer sufficient. (Keep your reasons business-related.)
- All the things you’ve thought through: outline your achievements, improvements (both tangible and intangible) and the research you’ve done to come up with the figure you have.
- Why you deserve it. Remember, when your manager asks why you should be given a pay-rise, they’re not saying no; this is a question to be taken seriously and an opportunity to deliver your pitch.
It’s unlikely that your manager will have the ability to make a decision on the spot, so ask for a timeframe and then follow up on it. You don’t want all the hard work of asking for a pay-rise to go to waste.
Didn’t get the answer you wanted?
If the response is a firm ‘no’, or the amount of the pay-rise is less than you expected, remember not to take it personally. But you’re entitled to ask questions. They probably won’t change their minds, but they should be able to give you some concrete reasons as to how they came to this decision.
- How was the decision made?
- Is it related to my performance and goals? (Remember, there are many other factors when management consider remuneration increases, including the organisation’s profits and targets, so don’t assume it’s you.)
- What can I do to make sure I get an increase next time? Perhaps you can undertake some training to take you to the next level, or there may be other specific requirements before an increase can be authorised.
- When will my salary next be assessed? Ask for a specific timeline, mark it in your diary and follow it up with this same process. In the meantime, make sure you do everything you can to back up your request for that pay-rise.
Got the pay-rise?
Congratulations! You deserve it.
Megan Blandford holds postgraduate qualifications in Human Resource Management and has worked in this field for ten years.