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5 minute read

When You Don’t Get the Salary Increment You Want: What Next?

It might be demoralising to hear a ‘no’ when asking for a pay raise, but the good news is there are steps you can take to turn a negative situation into a positive one.

For many of us, bringing up the topic of a pay rise might be riddled with anxiety and endless questions such as: ‘How often should you get a pay rise?”

The frequency of a pay rise depends on various factors, from your work performance to external factors beyond your control, like your company’s financial position and market conditions. As such, bear in mind that not getting a pay rise doesn’t always come down to your performance.

Examine your expectations before asking for a pay rise

When asking for a pay rise, it comes as no surprise that you have to earn it – your request is unlikely to be successful if you’re asking your boss for more money to do the same job. Take a step back to review your contributions over the year, and honestly ask yourself, “Do I deserve a pay rise?”

Have you met and even exceeded all your goals and expectations? If so, you’re in a good position to make a case for a pay rise.

Build your case for a salary increment

If you are starting to find that your efforts are misaligned with your salary, take the initiative to sit down with your manager and list all the reasons why you deserve a pay rise. Before the meeting, prepare some evidence to back up your case, including information like industry salary benchmarks for your role, your key achievements, and comparable job openings in the market that pay more than your current salary.

Above all, be your own biggest advocate. Your manager may not always be privy to the projects you are working on, making it important for you to collate a list of all the great work you have done. Be sure to note any targets you’ve smashed or additional business and revenue you’ve brought to the company. Your manager is more likely to respond to quantifiable contributions rather than an emotional plea.

If you can clearly explain why you deserve a pay rise and back that up with plenty of examples and proof, then you are putting yourself in the strongest possible position to secure the salary increase you want.

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Consider negotiating for more or better benefits as a means of compensation

When a pay rise is not possible due to budget limitations, it’s possible to explore other employee benefits that also provide tangible value. Here’s how you can navigate this situation:

Evaluate your priorities: Before approaching your employer, assess your priorities and consider the benefits that would be most valuable to you. This could include additional vacation days, flexible working hours, professional development opportunities, health and wellness benefits, or a performance-based bonus structure.

Research industry standards: Conduct thorough research to determine what benefits are commonly offered in your industry and at similar positions. This will help you establish a benchmark for reasonable requests.

Propose specific benefits: Clearly articulate the benefits you are seeking and explain how they will contribute to your job satisfaction and motivation. Make sure to link these benefits to your performance and the value you bring to the organisation.

Be open to compromise: Recognise your employer’s limitations but remain open to alternative solutions. If a pay rise is not feasible, consider negotiating for a combination of benefits that will provide you with a fair compensation package.

Maintain a positive attitude: Throughout the negotiation process, maintain a professional and positive demeanour. Demonstrating your commitment to the organisation and a willingness to find mutually beneficial solutions will leave a positive impression.

Negotiating for additional benefits requires effective communication, preparation, and a clear understanding of your own value. By being proactive in exploring alternative forms of compensation, you can strive for a more favourable outcome, even if a pay rise is not immediately achievable.

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Your requests were rejected. What next?

If you present your case, exercise your best negotiation skills and yet still receive a rejection, it’s natural to feel rejected and angry. However, it’s important not to become so disinterested that your quality of work is affected, hindering your chances of a pay rise in the future. Stay motivated, be respectful and focus on what you can control.

If you weren’t offered a specific reason during your meeting, follow up and find out why you didn’t get the pay rise. Be proactive in making clarifications, instead of making assumptions.

If your performance is the reason, getting feedback straight from the horse’s mouth will give you a better direction to do better for your next performance review.

It’s also worth getting advice and a different perspective from an outside party, such as a mentor. Ideally, you should speak to someone who has been in a similar position, for advice on the best ways to handle the situation.

Work towards the next opportunity for a pay rise

The best way to move forward: focus on the future. Work closely with your manager to focus on the key priorities and goals for the new review period, and ensure you check in from time to time. Welcome criticism and use it to improve and work towards getting that pay rise.

You could also explore training that will add value to the business as well as your skill set. Speak to your manager about career development opportunities within the organisation and chances to get involved in a broader range of projects to strengthen your experience.

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Moving on to a new job

Before you hastily hand in your resignation and start looking for a new job, make sure you’ve thought it through and are confident that this is the best decision for your future. If your achievements have gone under-appreciated over an unreasonable period of time, then perhaps you are working for a company that doesn’t value its employees appropriately, and it might be time to move on.

Know what you are worth

Knowing your market value, along with the ability to clearly outline your achievements and skills, will go a long way towards helping you to obtain the salary you deserve.

Before you begin salary discussions with potential future employers, ensure that you research your current market value. Armed with up-to-date market information, you would be able to approach your next salary discussion with greater knowledge and confidence.

This article is contributed by Michael Page.

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