Three tips to help you negotiate a salary increase

Every career builder hopes that the path they have chosen will lead to their dream lifestyle. And as a fulfilling or satisfying career is multi-faceted, its definition is specific to the individual career builder.

However, the secret to experiencing more job satisfaction lies in a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Intrinsic job satisfaction is to a large extent contributed to by contentment and appreciation of the work and responsibilities involved, while extrinsic job satisfaction places more attention on work conditions, such as job security, work-life balance, work environment and even the salary offered.

Usually, top on the list of extrinsic factors is the quest for a ‘good salary’. The job market is awash with dissatisfied and unhappy individuals who spend the better part of their waking hours doing jobs they loathe because they need the salary.

While a salary should be commensurate with the efforts and energies expended by a worker, many career builders do not feel appropriately and fairly compensated.

While some organisations have compensation plans that are performance based with periodic increments, other firms seldom increase salaries, or make an increase so infinitesimal that employees refer to it as ‘an insult to their bank accounts’.

The good news is that despite the universally accepted belief that salary increment initiatives are primarily the employer’s prerogative, there is always the opportunity for salary hikes for those who dare to ask.


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It makes sense, therefore, for any individual who wishes to build an awesome career to learn how to tactfully approach the issue of a salary increment so that they can escape the feeling that they lack a say as far as their take-home pay is concerned.

Possible responses

Here are some helpful tips on how to ask for a raise.

Proper preparation: A casual approach has sent many would-be successful salary requests to the dustbin. It is important to prepare appropriately by first booking a 20-30-minute appointment with your supervisor. It is also advisable that you document all your achievements, including past appraisals reports, recommendation letters, trophies, newly acquired academic certificates and any document that will be evidential and justify your request.

Be ready to negotiate: Avoid making outrageous demands and tabling ultimatums. Like any other negotiations, there are three possible responses to a salary increment request: acceptance, rejection or a request for more time to consult with human resources and other team leaders.

Be sober and emotionally stable: The request for a salary review should be accorded the seriousness it deserves. Mental and emotional quotients should be at an all-time high to avoid the drama associated with emotional immaturity. A positive attitude towards yourself, your supervisor and the organisation in general will come in handy to help you maintain calm throughout the discussion.

Be specific with figures: Some individuals show up at salary negotiations with nothing but complaints and whining about how unfairly they are being treated. You should, instead, table the figure you want and back it up with industry wage levels or performance documentation.

Pursing a salary increment is not ‘mission impossible’, and with a professional tactical approach, it is possible to win where others dare not venture.

The writer is a career coach and co-author of ‘The Career Code’.

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