In any career, progression is a must. Be it in promotions or pay raises, to remain in the same place for too long is tantamount to stagnation, and while these are normally earned through hard work, they must sometimes be asked for and demanded, whether out of necessity or a desire to improve.
FHM asked a few professionals how best to go about asking a pay raise. We've compiled their insights in this easy guide.
Familiarize yourself with company policy
Marie Falcon, an HR Coordinator for a large multinational company, says that the first step to asking for a salary increase is knowing company policy. Many companies are fairly flexible with their salary policies, while others are more stingy and strict, requiring paperwork and other various procedures before being considered for a raise. Some workplaces might have protocol that involves setting up an appointment with your employer and having a discussion in his office. Whatever the procedure may be, follow it absolutely, and to the letter.
Consider the timing
The timing will never be perfect, but other moments will be better than others. Is your company going through a rough patch? Was a four percent raise granted all across the board? Has your company just invested in some expensive and costly endeavor? Then you might want to consider asking for that raise at a better time.
This might also go more smoothly if you set up a meeting with your boss instead of surprising him with this discussion. Give your employer or whoever’s in charge of salary increases time to prepare—his salary projections might even be higher than yours if you allow some lead time.
Determine and prove your value
Kristoffer Gaerlan, a Marketing Manager at a large shipping firm, stresses the importance of feeling like you deserve a pay raise, which can be best achieved through a great work ethic and perceivable output. Make sure to keep thorough records of the duties and goals assigned to you, and how you went above and beyond them.
Yes, you heard that right: above and beyond. Doing your job is only the bare minimum, and to qualify for a pay raise means to do more than is necessary.
Back it up with data
Lara Cion, who has worked for three years in HR, maintains that data is an absolute necessity. Data on your accomplishments is necessary, but knowing the details of the industry, and the position you currently hold—from salary statistics to projections—will help you determine how much more to ask for. A lot of this information is readily available online, and a little research could go along way.
Look up the average salary in your location for your current position and use this as a stepping off point in the calculation of your desired increase. You will have a higher chance of success if you have an exact figure ready in your negotiations.
Falcon further stresses that acting with a modicum of professionalism is an absolute. Do not go to the discussion with your boss unprepared. Make sure you have systematically organized your data and properly chronicled the history of your achievements and contributions to the company. Anything to make the communication of information more conducive, from visual aids to graphs, will show your employers how much value you place on your career.
Be very careful in how you word your statements, and remain unemotional about the whole process. For example, comparing your salary to that of your colleagues is inappropriate. It might be better to say, “based on local data on salaries appropriate for my rank and length of employment” rather than “Why is that person making more than me?” It should go without saying as well that laying down ultimatums—“I’ll quit if you don’t give me that raise!”—is unwise, and might just prompt your boss to call your bluff. If you really feel that you must search for that salary increase from another employer, search for that job opportunity quietly, and leave your current company with dignity.
It is also unwise to mention why you need it—be it increasing rent, hoping to fund a vacation, or buying a new car—rather than why you deserve it. Lara Cion says that this might depend on the culture of the company as well. In some companies, it might be acceptable if a dire need is provable. In others, it might not.
Be prepared for a“No”
More often than not, your boss will refuse you for some legitimate reason. And maybe you’re not as valuable to the company as you think, and that’s okay. Now, more than ever, is the right time to prove that you want to increase your value. Regardless of a yes or no, you should ask for more responsibilities, more opportunities to lead, and more chances to prove your value. Then, maybe, you can ask again some time down the line. If it really is important to you to get that pay raise now—more important than staying at your current job—then search for a new one with a better salary.