Asking for a raise can be intimidating and talking about money can be an awkward thing to navigate. However, if you believe you’ve outgrown your current salary package and want to be rewarded for your current work; planning and being confident in your request is important. Here are some things to consider before you start planning for a pay rise.
What to do beforehand
Gauge beforehand whether your raise request would align with the company’s financial situation. Are they in a position to afford salary increases for their employees? It will also allow you to estimate how generous the raise could be. If they’ve not been progressing economically, then it probably isn’t the best time to ask. Another indication that it isn’t the right time is if they’re letting people go. It is ok to wait if the timing isn’t right. However, if they’re hiring more employees and so can afford to pay more salaries, or if there has been a successful project that has finished under time or under budget, it is a good time to ask. It also allows you to mention how you contributed to the success of the project.
It would be useful to understand how your employer runs things to assist with your plan. Find out when raises are usually granted and whether you are at the stage of employment when you should be offered a raise. This does depend on how the company is structured and whether they have a fixed time for promotions and pay raises, or if it’s not time specific. Remember, your boss is only human - choosing to time your request at a moment when he/she is stressed or time pressured will alter their mood, and so won’t be the best time to ask. Aka wait till they’re in a good mood!
It is important to work out how much you wish to ask for. The best way to find out what a suitable raise would be is to compare your current salary to the wider market. This can be easily discovered by researching similar roles via job adverts for an idea of the current salaries paid in your industry.
The UK Tech industry for instance is growing 2.5 times the rate of other industries so there may be alterations to salaries and skills needed for your current role. DevOps salaries for example have risen rapidly in the last few years; therefore, some DevOps engineers may be being paid less than the market rate if they have been in their current role for a few years.
Another thing you can do is speak to a specialist recruitment consultancy to find out more information about your role and the current demands/salaries. Prism Digital is a recruitment consultancy that specialises in DevOps recruitment, so we can point you in the right direction and inform you of the current trends in your sector. You could also access information from career surveys or LinkedIn salaries - this breaks down salaries by job title, location, and companies to inform you of an appropriate salary in line with industry standards. Doing some research before making your request will give you confidence as well as a reasonable excuse for a raise if it shows you aren’t being paid enough.
Asking for a raise
A strategic way to put yourself in a strong position to ask for a raise is to first try and receive job offers from other companies that will pay more. Then you can leverage this to your advantage when asking your current employer for more money, putting yourself in a stronger negotiation position. If you have other offers at a higher salary, this will show your current employer that perhaps they are not paying you enough and that they are at risk of losing you. In such a candidate short market, if you are truly worth the raise, your employer will often match the salary you have been offered elsewhere so as not to lose you. Plus if your request for a raise is not granted, you have the immediate option to move to a different company that will pay you what you want – if that is what is truly important to you.
When making the request, this may be obvious but don’t do it via email. You will be respected much more if you approach someone and have a discussion face-to-face as it conveys confidence, enthusiasm, and determination. Make sure to arrange an in-person meeting to discuss your request, perhaps via email. This will allow them time to think about it, rather than putting them on the spot which may lead to an immediate jerk reaction ‘no’.
It is vital that you make your employer aware of your successes supported by evidence, and how you have contributed to the company’s overall efficiency and profit or played a part in it. (This reminds them that you’re proactive and vital to the team.) You could mention moments that stand out to you as demonstrating leadership or when you’ve bent over backwards for the company.
Noting down these achievements before the meeting as well as any well-worded statements/ rationales for a raise will be beneficial as it is easy to lose track of your thoughts when put on the spot. Even if you haven’t been part of the organisation for very long, there could be many ways in which you add more value to it than what you’re currently being paid. This is very true in the case of the Tech industry where a good skill set can give you a competitive advantage. Mention your skillset which could also have been transferable from previous jobs.
It is important to think about the delivery of your points. The actual delivery should be confident with eye contact to make you appear confident in the decision. Making it apparent that you love your role and value the company can also lift your employer’s mood. Prepare for every possible scenario that your employer may present to not give you a raise. There may be some resistance, so be prepared to stand up for yourself. If there has been a reason proving that you’re not eligible for one, you could ask your boss what milestones and targets you must achieve. Document the conversation and once those expectations have been hit, you have demonstrated your worth; it will be hard for them not to offer you the pay rise. If a raise is something they’re not prepared to offer, you could negotiate other options, for example, a few extra days of holiday or an employer’s contribution to your pension scheme.
Remember not to make it a hostile exercise. Pushing too hard can damage the relationship with your employer. You’re working with your employer to help them understand why you add value to their company, by explaining that you like your role, and you’re committed but compared with market data, you are not where you should be in terms of salary. You may not get a definite answer, but managers must often pass on the request to a superior before making a decision. Just ensure you are following up on the request after allowing time.