Asking for more $$$ can be one of the most awkward conversations you’ll have in your career. And yes, it needs to be an actual convo, hitting your boss up for more cash via email is not ok.
But unless you want to live on your current salary indefinitely, you’ll unfortunately have to ask, as your boss calling you in to give you a spontaneous pay rise for ‘all your good work’ is about as rare as a blue diamond (I only just found out they even exist). Good companies should be doing pay reviews annually to ensure they’re competitive, but that will generally be pretty incremental (nothing like an extra $20 per week to make a gal feel valued amirite).
So if you fancy seeing your bank weightier in numbers, read on for some pretty damn good advice (if I do say so myself)…
FIRSTLY, discover whether or not you’re actually entitled to and deserve a pay rise.
Sorry to say, but turning up at work and doing your job doesn’t entitle you to a salary increase. Salary reviews can usually be justified by the below factors:
What is the market range?
Investigate what salaries for similar positions are being advertised for on Linkedin. If you have friends in similar jobs and feel comfortable to discuss $$$, enquire with them. There’s also a bunch of online calculators which show averages.
Note: There will always be discrepancies based on factors like experience (so you might have the same job as someone but their salary is higher as they have 5 more years experience) and company (a copywriter for a giant ad agency is going to get a higher salary than a copywriter at a small media outlet). Comprendo?
Are you meeting your KPIs?
Unless there’s a legitimate reason (like you’ve been given priority tasks outside the scope of your job description), don’t even think about asking for an increase if you’re not meeting your KPIs.
Is your job description accurate?
If you look at the JD you signed your contract for (and subsequent salary) and see it’s vastly different from what you’re actually doing, there will probably be reason for a new title and salary increase.
What is the current CPI?
Every year the CPI (consumer price index) increases, which basically means that our cost of living gets higher #inflation, so our salary should consistently reflect this. Have a google if you want to learn more, it’s interesting shit.
Are you a valuable asset to the company?
How hard would it be to replace you? Do you bring a lot of positive attributes to the business and a unique set of skills? For more senior roles, it would generally be more expensive to hire and train someone new than give you a raise, so smart employees will know that straight away.
Note: It takes 6 months to get someone fully functional in their role and 1.6 x annual salary in lost productivity.
SECONDLY, you need to actually ASK for the pay rise so you’ll need to prove why you deserve one. Follow my steps for setting up the convo that you’ll need a wine after having…
- Send your manager and HR a meeting request stating ‘salary review discussion’ in the subject so they aren’t blindsided (and also don’t think you’re quitting).
- State why you want a pay rise keeping in mind the above points. As an example, a dance teacher might say ‘my class attendees have doubled since I started and repeat attendances have increased by 46%’.
- PREPARE anything you think will help your case. This could be graphs showing the increase in performance in your area, sales figures, KPI reports, feedback from clients/colleagues. Using the dance teacher again as an example, she would bring proof of the increase and her original JD that had the smaller number of attendees on it.
- State the increase you’d like. Be realistic about it, unless you’ve taken over an entire department, you’re not going to get a 30% salary increase. 5% is standard (and good) so you’re most likely to get a positive outcome by sticking within this number.
- Send a follow-up email reiterating everything discussed and ask for a decision within a certain time frame (otherwise you could be waiting months while they drag their feet).
LASTLY, you need to deal with the outcome like the professional #girlboss you are.
If your pay rise is granted, don’t gloat or tell your co-workers as that can create morale issues. Enjoy the increase in your bank account and prove to your superiors you deserved it by working extra hard.
If it’s denied you need to go back and ask why, then ask what actions you can take to get it and when would be a better time to ask. Make sure you get it in writing so when you bring it up again, you have correspondence to fall back on.
If all else fails and you’re feeling undervalued, it might be worth looking for a new role within a new company where the opportunities are stronger.
Words by Kelly McCarren.