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Get the Pay Raise You Want

Updated on December 16, 2014

Now that the year is coming to an end, pay raises are on the minds of many professionals. To those whose wage increases are set at a standard amount, they may think the guesswork is limited. To those who must request a pay increase, the idea of making a solid case can be intimidating.

Most companies have the workforce believing their input is unwarranted. They respond to questions regarding pay raises with a curt but reassuring reply, one meant to subtly imply that any salary increases have been pre-determined, which eventually discourages employees from trying to negotiate. This is especially true for women, who are more unlikely to approach management with salary increases. Even when given the option to have a say, it’s important to note that most pay increases are limited by the profit margin of the prior year, which impacts the upcoming budget, the number of years you serve, and the arrangement you have when you accepted the position. These considerations should not dissuade workers from trying to negotiate their salary increases. With a little effort and preparation, a mutually satisfactory agreement is possible.

  1. First word of advice: Don’t take no for an answer. Set up an appointment with management and notify them about the topic. Offer to submit a proposal. If your first attempt is rejected, request that you speak to someone else. Have a trusted friend or colleague review your application and hand it in again.

  2. Do your research before broaching the subject. Use an online salary calculator to determine your worth. There are different criteria used to determine your salary range. Some tools focus on your title and the region you live in, while others are more extensive and request years of experience and job responsibilities. Play with a few calculators and use the top appealing results to make your case. If you use financial advisors, ask for feedback. They may even offer to do the research for you.

  3. Be prepared to market your accomplishments. Make a list of how you have contributed to the company over the past year and use percentages and numbers to highlight your successes. Include these figures in your proposal and have someone review it before turning it in.

  4. Be reasonable with your final offer. Determine what the top percentage increases are for the year. Ask around about the department’s final budget and what percentage will be allocated for pay increases. You want to make an offer that will complement your experience and contributions. Making an over-the-top request will likely land you the rejection you have been trying to avoid.

Asking for a raise is an intimidating idea, but one that is possible if you do your research, believe that you deserve one, and convince your bosses that you do. Once again, if your initial application is rejected, offer a negotiable one. No one can make a better case for your advancement at work but you, but you need the evidence and the right support to back it up.

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