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How to ask for a payrise

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It’s not easy asking for a pay rise. Worse still, a recent salary survey suggests we’re unlikely to get one, anyway.Woman with Megaphone

The Australian Institute of Management’s (AIM) 2014 National Salary Survey has found that there’s a distinct weakening in demand for labour. It also forecasts a sluggish pay increases in the year ahead.

The survey showed that the average pay increase recorded over the past year was 3.6 per cent, down from the previous year. And this downward trend is forecast to continue across all states and territories.

Resignations also increased from last year, proving that salary is still a major motivator for employees to change roles, head of research for AIM NSW & ACT and the report’s author, Matt Drinan says. Companies need to think more creatively when it comes to pay, he says.

But don’t be put off. If you feel you’re entitled to a pay rise, go for it.

Career consultant Amanda Rose says it’s important to leave room for negotiation.

“You never, ever ask for the exact amount you’re happy to settle for. In the back of your mind, you need to have a number you know you can live with. Never go below it, or you will start resenting where you work and stop enjoying your job.

“Also, make sure you have a strong case to present. Don’t do it on a whim or just because someone else has. And never share your experience with a colleague, whether you got a payrise or not. This puts the whole process in jeopardy,” Rose says.

Here are some more steps to make it easier:

  • Start by working out your company’s pay review process and how it manages budgets. Also bear in mind that it’s more common to wait for the 12 month anniversary with a company to ask for a pay rise. Make sure you’ve plucked up enough courage to ask.
  • Dig out your position description and make a list of anything you’re doing above and beyond that list to help argue your case. Perhaps you’ve picked up someone else’s workload in some areas, for example.
  • Make sure your boss is the one who can decide this. If not, it’s a good idea to ask your boss if you can discuss a pay review with their boss, so you’re keeping them in the loop.
  • Email your boss to make it clear you want to discuss salary and ask when it’s convenient to discuss it. Make sure it’s well before when budgets are due so your boss can review and consider your request.
  • Go armed with some supporting evidence, such as your last pay rise, emails or letters from colleagues or clients praising your work and any above average performance reviews. If you feel you’ve been underpaid against the market, present information to back up your argument, including salary surveys.
  • Be prepared to leave the information with them to consider, and ask for a follow-up meeting in a week or so.
  • Don’t look for another job and use that job offer as leverage, because some companies might be happy to say goodbye.
  • Also don’t explain your personal financial circumstances, as this has no bearing on how a decision will be made. Instead, argue to your abilities and what value you add to the organisation.

Good luck!

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