How to Ask for a Pay Raise

CareerSeptember 28, 2022 16:00

Let’s face it: Salary negotiations can be a tricky business. Read on for a guide on how to negotiate for a pay raise and increase your odds of getting it.

Prepare adequately

Adequate preparation is key. It is crucial not to enter salary negotiations without having done your fair share of market research about the industry averages. What are other Singapore workers in your particular role and industry earning—and how does your current remuneration package compare to that? The last thing you would want is to appear ignorant and unreasonable to your manager.

Besides staying abreast of market trends, you need to build a well-substantiated case for your pay raise. Review the achievements you have had during the past year—and write them all down. Any information that will persuade your manager that you have indeed contributed to the company’s growth is fair game. It can range from the successful launch of a project you managed to the glowing client testimonials you received.

In essence, seek to answer the question posed by career coach Jessica Smith: “How was the business positively impacted because of what I've completed/accomplished?” By gathering evidence to support your case, you will be more confident and self-assured during the salary negotiation process. It is also helpful if you can generate ideas and propose initiatives to aid the company in achieving its targets. Your eager proactiveness will further demonstrate to your manager that you are a valuable asset to the company.

Your final step of preparation is to ascertain the amount of pay raise you are asking for. Have a specific figure in mind; get clear on the amount and be ready to vocalise it. Concrete numbers act as an anchor during the negotiation, without which your manager may not know what exactly it is that you want. Other than pay increases, consider if you are open to receiving non-monetary benefits such as more annual leave and increased educational or business travel opportunities.

Ask for that pay raise

After prepping all of the above—and rehearsing your delivery aloud in front of the mirror—it’s now time for the actual negotiation. The best times to ask for a raise as an employee are either after your workload and responsibilities have been increased or during your regular performance appraisals. (Of course, the exception is if you are receiving generally negative feedback about your performance at work.) You should ideally have this conversation face-to-face. If that is not tenable due to a fully remote work environment, you should at the very least have a video call with your manager.

During the salary negotiation process itself, stay professional, stay positive. Bear in mind that your manager is not your adversary—you both are seeking to reach a win-win situation. Moreover, avoid any mention of your personal finances or rampant inflation when asking for a raise. Keep the conversation centred on your performance at work. Your demeanour should be calm and collected throughout; even if you are upset, try not to pull a long face.

Regardless of whether your manager acceded to your request or not, remember to follow up. Show appreciation for the raise or the consideration given. If you received the raise you asked for, congratulations!

Denied a pay raise?

If you did not receive the raise, do not be too discouraged. Perhaps your company is not doing so well and your team’s budget has been cut. Politely ask your manager whether you can revisit this discussion in 3 to 6 months’ time—and what concrete steps you can take to strengthen your case for a pay raise.

At the end of the day, you can consider switching companies if you still feel undervalued at your present job. The market is rife with opportunity and abundance!


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