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Not Happy With Your Salary? Here Are 6 Strategies to Use When Asking for a Pay Raise

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Asking for a pay raise is undoubtedly the most dreaded conversation at the workplace. Usually, people feel like asking for a raise will paint them in a bad light. They may come out as greedy or entitled, which are labels no one wants to associate with.

Because of this fear, many people earn way below the market pay rate for years. They hope their employer will notice their hard work and reward them with a raise which is rarely the case.

If you are not satisfied with your salary, please know that asking for a raise is normal in employment.

And so, to help you get started with this awkward conversation, here are six strategies you can implement to get a competitive salary.

But first things first.

Arguments like the economy is hard won't help your case. If the economy is tough, it's tough on everyone. So, base your request on nothing but your performance. Click To Tweet
Why do you need a raise?

This is the million-dollar question that your employer would like you to answer.

Arguments like the economy is hard won’t help your case one bit. If the economy is tough, it’s tough on everyone. So, base your request on nothing but your performance.

You must convince your boss beyond reasonable doubt that your input in the company has gone to the next level. More than saying, show how your performance has added value to the organization.

  • Have you taken additional responsibilities that are not in your job description?
  • Which goals have you met that have set up the company for success?
  • What are some of the accomplishments that show you’ve gone the extra mile?

Once you have a clear reason why you deserve a pay raise, do a little background check to find out how much more you deserve and if it is possible to get it.

Understand the company’s salary increment policy

It’s acceptable to want a salary increase if you’ve put in the work. However, before you prepare for your big request, check your employment contract and any other employee handbook to find out what the policy stipulates.

It will be in vain to ask for a pay raise mid-year when your contract clearly shows that you are eligible for an increment after the employee performance review at the end of the year.

Suppose no clause talks about salary raise. You are in luck!

Get your expectations right

Beginning a conversation about wanting an increment without research on how much you expect to earn is ridiculous.

So, delve into research to find out how much professionals in your position within your industry are paid. Several salary estimator websites can give you a rough idea of the salary range within your industry and region.

But since these websites only give a rough range, you can refine your research by asking other professionals in your field. Please steer clear of bluntly asking people, “How much do you earn?” Instead, ask for estimates, ranges, or averages.

Your research might reveal that your salary is either way below, somewhere in between, or above the market value for your skill set. It goes without saying that if your pay is above the market rate, you have no case. Or maybe you do, but you’ll have to prove your point.

With this new finding, you’ll be better placed to negotiate your pay raise with facts.

Also, pay close attention to your employment contract if the document stipulates any percentages where pay increase is concerned. This information is important because it will guide you on how much to negotiate.

Choose your timing well

Starting a salary increment conversation at the wrong time is a sure way of not getting that raise for the foreseeable future.

So before you mark your calendar on when to bring it up, assess the situation at the workplace.

  • Did the company acquire high net worth clients?
  • Did the business open new offices across the country?
  • Is there a new product line?

If all the signs point to the fact that the company is doing well, go for it.

But that’s not all.

You must be strategic. Wait for a month before the company’s fiscal budget to talk to your boss as they’ll be planning the following year’s allocations.

Furthermore, you can coincide your request with a performance review. I mean, there’s no more appropriate time to talk to your boss about an increment than when they are acknowledging your commitment towards the company’s vision.

More than what’s happening in the company. Check the overall mood of your boss. You don’t want to ask for a pay raise when they are tense about an upcoming appraisal. Read their body language and only introduce the topic when they seem vibrant. If in doubt, schedule a meeting with your boss, asking them that you would like to discuss an important matter regarding your job.

Have the conversation in person

The most dreaded moment is finally here. Armed with data to support your request, it’s time to talk to your manager.

Now before I go any further, let me make something clear, again. Asking for pay increment doesn’t in any way make you a selfish employee who is only there for the money. Okay, maybe you are. But one thing that’s a fact is you are providing your expertise in return.

So, please don’t feel bad about it.

Be confident and express yourself respectfully. Remember to express your gratitude for your current compensation. Then, present to your boss facts on why you deserve a pay raise.

Bear in mind; an increment is based on performance. So, articulate your recent accomplishments, the goals you’ve achieved, the additional responsibilities you’ve taken up, and the projects you’ve worked overtime to accomplish.

Once you’ve quantified your value addition, let your manager know the increment percentage you hope to get.

Be prepared for the best but hope for the worst

You’ll either get a positive or a negative response.

It’s on rare occasions that they’ll give a straightforward “yes” immediately after you’ve finished your conversation. They’ll probably say they’ll look into it. In that case, ask when you can follow up on the same.

If they say you can’t get a raise at the moment, probe further to know why. Perhaps in due time when things get better, you’ll be considered. But don’t stop there. Ask when will be the right time to raise that conversation again.

Suppose the response is an outright “no.” DO NOT throw tantrums, threatening to resign. Instead, ask your manager what it will take for you to get a salary increment. A good boss committed to the well-being of their employees will guide you on the areas you need to improve to qualify for the increment.

Suppose they don’t specify what you need to do to be eligible for a pay raise and simply dismiss you. It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and find the job that will pay you the competitive salary that you deserve.


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