For some people, asking for more pay comes naturally, but for others, it can be daunting. The fact is that we all work for a monetary return. If you think you deserve more than your current pay and your request is within the relevant salary range, you should consider letting your boss know.
As the saying goes, if you do not ask, you do not get. Here are some tips to help you succeed in asking for higher pay while keeping your current job scope.
Related: Singapore Salary Guide 2023
1. Inform your manager that you want to discuss salary before the actual meeting
You don’t want to ambush your manager because they might not be ready to talk about money. You should not just walk in on their free slot, or book their time without setting an agenda, as this can be seen as disrespectful and unprofessional.
When setting up a meeting with your boss to discuss your salary, inform them of the purpose of the meeting beforehand. This can be done through email or in person, depending on your preference and the culture of your workplace.
When sending an email to request a meeting with your boss, it is important to be clear and concise in your communication. Use a professional tone and provide specific details about the purpose of the meeting, including the topics you would like to discuss and any supporting information or documentation that may be relevant.
This will help to facilitate a productive discussion and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.
2. Pick the right time to speak to your boss
When you ask for a rise in your basic salary and perhaps an improved benefits package, identify the right time for a one-on-one, face-to-face meeting. Mind your timing and do not plan it after a project has failed, or during a peak season.
Wait at least 6 months
You should only consider asking for a pay increase when you feel underpaid or if you have been working hard enough to justify a salary increase.
If you are new to the company, you should wait at least six months before requesting an increase. This allows you the minimum amount of time to prove yourself as an asset to your current employer.
For the best chance of success when asking for a rise, waiting for more than a year may be a better timeframe to ask for more money.
Consider the fiscal year
To ensure your request can be processed, two or three months prior to the end of the fiscal year is ideal.
During this crucial period, many department heads are making budget plans for the upcoming year – so if you time it just right, your request could be considered during that time.
Asking the human resources manager about when salary increases are approved is also a smart move – they will be able to tell you if there’s an optimal time for submitting your request.
Keep it during office hours
Also, make sure you are asking for a rise during business hours. Do not ask for a salary rise after work hours because you will likely get turned down. You could also consider bringing up the topic during your mid-year review.
Don't do it at performance reviews
It may be helpful to schedule a meeting with your manager outside of performance review periods, so you can discuss your salary without it being conflated with your overall performance evaluation.
3. Consider the company’s financial position
When the company’s financial health is poor, employees should avoid asking for rises and wait for an annual review. There could be a hiring freeze.
You should check the news for stories about the company or industry. Collecting salary data about the company’s finances is also a good idea. Even if the company is doing well, you should check out key factors before starting a salary negotiation.
4. Ask for pay rise after exceeding your key performance indicators
Demonstrate that you have met your key performance indicators or that of the organisation. Be sure to mention any additional responsibilities that you have taken on as well.
Be sure to identify what is within your job scope and what you had gone above and beyond for. This is crucial because companies are not there to give you pay rises just because you completed a project well – that is essentially your job, and it does not justify a pay increase.
Related: Building your personal brand
5. Keep your personal reasons out of it
A higher salary is based on merit, not on your number of years at a company, or whether you have taken on a new mortgage, or are getting married.
No employer will give you a pay increase unless you have done something that merits it. Exercise common sense before asking for a salary rise.
6. Prepare a presentation to back your salary request
Have solid data to support your claim about your contribution to the company, such as salary research and market rate.
You need to document your accomplishments and show how they have benefitted the company. An excellent way to present the data is to create an eye-catching presentation.
Negotiating is an essential skill set to have, especially when asking for a more pay. When negotiating, be prepared, set goals, show how your pay rate compares to the rest of the industry, and know what you want from the deal.
7. Pay attention to soft skills
It is not enough for employees to be good at their jobs. Employees’ value lies in their ability to work together. You need to be a team player and someone who demonstrates empathy and care in a genuine matter.
Be sure to demonstrate your value by sharing conflict-resolution stories or showing how you help out colleagues. The way you conduct yourself professionally contributes to your value as an employee too.
8. Gather feedback on your performance
On top of your main reporting line, if you have a dotted reporting line to a few managers and collaborate with other team managers or senior stakeholders, you should use that opportunity to gather feedback from them.
This can help you understand how you can further add value to the company, and also help you find out if your actions have been aligned with the company’s goals.
You can use the positive feedback from these stakeholders to add to your glowing portfolio too.
Related: A culture of employee recognition
9. Research your industry’s pay structure
You must include the correct information when asking for salary increase.
If you can, find out the salary information of other employees and across the industry, how much they make on their annual salary and then use information about competitive salaries as a basis for your request.
Your boss may not know anything about the market value of similar jobs. Make sure you back up your request with more and more data.
You can look at websites like Glassdoor to get an idea of the salary you should be earning, and you can also refer to annual salary guides published by recruitment companies, such as our Page Insights Salary Guide 2023, to understand salary benchmarks in your industry.
These usually take the average salary numbers that recruiters come across over the past year for various jobs, and are a reliable source of salary data for you to get a good estimation of the salary for your role.
10. Salary negotiation may take more than one meeting
Speaking up and advocating for yourself is the first part of the negotiation. If you were rejected, ask for clarity on what would be needed for a future rise, and set a time for checking in again.
You need to have an idea of the amount of salary increase that would keep you happy. That will help you decide if you want to stay in the role or start looking for a new job.
Approach the conversation with a collaborative mindset and be prepared to have a constructive discussion with your manager about your goals and expectations.
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