How to Get a Raise you Deserve
One of the most discussed quotes of 2014 was certainly Microsoft CEO Satya Nadela’s “Women shouldn’t ask for a raise, just trust the system.” Many articles were written discussing the statement itself, and even more were written with advice on how to ask for a raise, if you decide to do it anyway.
How to get a raise? This is a question which crosses our minds very often in our career. Based on all of the content available online, I am going to guess you are already aware of the procedure for getting a raise: choose your timing, book a meeting with your boss and “sell” yourself by explaining why you are worth more than before. So far, so good, but what if you still don’t have the guts to do it?
In my career I have found that there are certain factors stopping people from asking for a higher salary, and not knowing the procedure is rarely one of them. These factors circle your mind in the form of “but” questions. “I think I deserve a raise, but do I?” “I can explain why I deserve it, but will I be heard?”
Here’s how to get a raise. In this article, we will answer your Top 4 “But” questions and clear your way to a better financial year.
1: “But” do I deserve a raise?
When you have to ask your boss (or anyone for that matter) for more money, it is obvious that confidence counts. In order to be confident of the fact that you deserve a raise though, think about whether your value for the company has increased because:
- You have taken on more responsibilities and are handling them well
- You make (or save) more money for the company, ideally thanks to a system you have developed
- You have reached outstanding results in the previous months/year
- You have increased yours and/or other’s productivity by managing people better, or by creating a system that works better
If any or all of the above apply in your situation, you definitely deserve a raise. So bravely proceed in scheduling a meeting with your manager to discuss.
2: “But” what do I tell my boss?
If you have confirmed that you deserve a raise using the points in Question 1, you must feel pretty good about yourself right now. But once your boss is in front of you, asking what you want, this feeling will be replaced by terror (or best case scenario: nervousness). Calm down, this is not an exam. What you are going to is, in fact, a negotiation and it may help looking at it this way.
A classic negotiation process has 5 steps:
- Preparation and planning – for you this means informing your boss in advance that you would like to discuss your salary during this meeting. This will give him/her time to consider their position. Depending on how you normally book meetings with your boss, you can do that via e-mail, in person or by informing his secretary. This is just a request for discussion; nothing scary so far, right?
- Definition of ground rules – when we are talking about two big companies working out a partnership, this may be a document created in advance with the procedures around the meeting. In your case though, this is what you can do in the beginning of your meeting by simply saying something like . . .
“Thank you for agreeing to discuss my salary. This is an open discussion, so first I would like to state the reasons I believe I deserve more, how much more, and then you will have the chance to ask any questions or counter-offer.” There, you have put your conversation in a frame that your boss understands, and it is not so scary now.
- Clarification and justification (this where you state your reasons) – you can use the statements in Question 1 (“But” do I deserve a raise?), supported by some numbers to prove them.
- Bargaining and problem solving – this is the part where questions may be asked and numbers discussed. You should be open for any suggestions you haven’t considered, for example a good bonus system instead of a raise.
- Closure and implementation – once you have agreed on a solution, don’t forget to clarify details like when will this be reinforced, whether you need to formally inform anyone (someone from HR for example) etc.
3: “But” how much do I ask for?
This is a tricky one. In the corporate world, there is an unspoken rule of salaries going up a maximum 3-4% per year. However, you shouldn’t be guided only by this number. I suggest you do a research, counting on factors like:
- How many jobs are there in your industry – if you are in IT for example, you’d have many options and that would raise the price of your services. Enter a “job ads” website and search for jobs similar to yours to find out if you are in demand right now.
- What is the average salary in your company – technically you might be forbidden from knowing that, but in informal conversations between friends you can often find clues how much others get. This may give you an idea how far you can go.
- What is the average salary for your job in other companies – this may be more difficult to find out, but not impossible. You can talk to friends with similar jobs, who work for other employers, or even Google “How much does a X get in Y?” where X is your job and Y is your country.
Once you have done your research, consider also the minimum which would make you happy. Then go and ask for slightly above that minimum. The right preparation and good timing is what is you need. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, So, plan your pitch and get the right raise, the raise you deserve.
4: “But” what if my boss refuses?
This is up to you, but it’s good to think about it in advance. There is a chance, however low, that your boss declines your request all together. It doesn’t feel good, but you shouldn’t take this decision with feelings anyway. Consider whether you are ready to quit if you don’t get a raise. If not, that’s okay, but you need to have a plan. Maybe you would stay at this job just long enough to find something better. Or maybe you will save up for a course that will make you more valuable and try again.
You could even propose that your raise is revisited once you reach certain targets. But plan B is always a good thing to have, so do prepare it. And of course, the main thing for getting a raise is doing something about it.
So after reading this article on how to get a raise, get ready and act. And after acting, leave a reply below to tell us how it went!