How and when to request a salary increase

5 June 2020

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Subconsciously we associate salary increases with the end of the year, which is typically when companies conduct employee annual reviews. This is an opportunity for an objective and subjective assessment of successes achieved over the past year. There are many opportunities and reasons to request a salary increase, but they all have one thing in common: diligent preparation. Before you decide to request a salary increase, summarise all of the points that may help you to succeed. We’ve prepared a number of helpful tips for how to do just that.

End of the year or trial period

As the saying goes: 'every end is a new beginning' or when something ends, something new begins - even if it only involves the symbolic close of the calendar year, your first year of service or the end of your trial period with your current employer. It is worth taking a look back over the time you have spent at the company in all of these instances.

Tip: Do not hesitate to highlight your satisfaction within your team or in your current position. Take a deeper look at your results and successful efforts to accomplish the objectives they set out for you. Be sure to highlight your strengths that helped you to achieve your objectives.

If you have met expectations in terms of your work and contribution, this is an ideal opportunity to request a salary increase and nothing should stand in your way.

Tip: Keep a diary or a notebook to record your successes, both big and small, and any praise from your supervisor throughout this period. You may find it difficult to remember all that you've accomplished before your evaluation meeting. A notebook will ensure that everything is to hand.

Let the results speak for you

Being proactive, having enthusiasm for one's work and the desire to constantly improve things, being productive: these are some of the numerous qualities many employers value in their employees. However, increasing performance and associated results should also be reflected in your payslip.

Have you worked for your company for two or more years? If you request a salary increase, try and compare the results you achieved in the first and second years. Show that there is a significant shift in your efforts, that you are more and more experienced and comfortable with your position and place in the company.

Tip: Write down at least three points in which year-on-year improvements can be observed and that you can use as suitable arguments.

Are more assignments, responsibilities and a greater volume of work and hours worked piling up? Compare them to your job description in your employment contract. Express your thanks for the trust your employer puts in you. Express your willingness to accept this fact. Your employer should certainly take a salary increase into consideration as a result. Don't be afraid to ask for one.

If you are excelling at work and you've streamlined your day to such an extent that you can take on more challenges and projects, there is certainly room to request a higher salary from your employer as a type of motivation.

Tip: Prepare a summary with the evaluation you received during the annual evaluation of your work from your supervisor. Show off your successes and highlight at least three of the most important points to help you succeed. Summarise the tasks and responsibilities that you would like to take on in exchange for a higher salary.

It is not always true that an employee is deserving of a higher salary at the end of a certain period of time; but it may also work as a suitable motivation when faced with a new project.

Have you been promoted or even transferred to another department, which also requires a higher work commitment? Again, this is an opportunity to discuss increasing your financial remuneration.

Extraordinary successes should not go unnoticed

Every company appreciates an employee whose ideas or approach help achieve long-term improvements or whose innovative approach helps to move things forward. This is even more true when it is reflected in overall financial results.

If you are among the lucky few born with creative thinking skills and have managed to implement innovations within your company, then it's time to ask for a salary increase.

Tip: Describe the improvements that your approach has delivered and how you can be of even more assistance going forward.

The same is true if you achieved an extraordinary success in improving processes (internal or external) or better sales results, completed a huge project with tremendous results, helped improve service quality or implemented cost savings for the company. Do not be ashamed to brag in any of the cases mentioned above.

Tip: Talk about your strengths that have helped you to achieve results. Complement your soft and hard skills with a qualitative and quantitative comparison.

It is also a real accomplishment if you opt for additional education during your career. Whether you are finishing school or going on to further education, or completing vital or useful training or a course which can have a positive effect on your education and thus contribute to the excellent results of your work. All of the above can bring you, and your company, the desired success results.

Is your salary lower than average?

Have you gone a few years without receiving a salary increase? Is your salary currently lower than average for your position? Are you worse off than your colleagues, and yet your performance and results clearly indicate things should be different? These situations can be trickier when it comes to an employee deciding to ask for a salary increase. However, they do not deserve less attention. In fact it is quite the opposite.

If you find yourself in just such a situation where your salary hasn't increased over a relatively long period of time, begin by talking about when it last happened and everything that has changed since then - positive changes, your results - basically everything that can help you achieve the desired outcome.

If you find yourself in the second situation, where your salary is lower than average for your position and region based on an online salary comparison, then prepare an argument as to why it is appropriate for you to be in the average salary column for a given position.

Tip: Compare salaries for free on Paylab / Platy or purchase a transparent salary analysis for a small fee that you can use as an argument when requesting a salary increase.

If you've been employed by a company for some length of time, but your salary remains at a lower threshold compared to colleagues with the same responsibilities, then you are certainly justified in requesting it be brought up to the same level. .

Personal reasons

If your company has moved or you were assigned to a team located in a different part of the city or in a completely different city or country, this will almost certainly be reflected in your cost of living. Due to such increase, or even the need to apply for a loan or mortgage from a bank to cover housing costs, you can certainly request a salary increase from your employer to mitigate these costs.

Any of us can experience a difficult life or personal situation for a while (loss of parent or partner, divorce, serious health issues, etc.). While this doesn't directly play out at the workplace, it clearly has an impact on an employee's working life as well.

Tip: If you find yourself in such a situation and your cost of living has gone up, be honest with your employer and request assistance for a specific period of time until your situation improves.  


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