Do you feel like you’re not paid enough money for the work you do? If you do, you’re not alone. Salaries have leveled off during recent years as job responsibilities have expanded. With costs skyrocketing and jobs being outsourced, many employers have tried to maintain or increase productivity without adding staff.
Many workers feel that their compensation has not kept pace with the contributions they are making to their company. If you’re one of those people who feels underpaid, what is the best way to ask for more money?
How to Ask For More Money
How should you ask for a pay increase? The basis for any request for additional compensation should be a clear track record of solid performance.
If your employer conducts regular performance evaluations, then you may already have documentation in place. If not, ask your supervisor if she can schedule a review so that you can get some specific feedback on your performance, and formally establish some objectives for the next year.
Keep the focus on your job performance, rather than on your personal circumstances when you’re discussing salary.
Track Your Performance
Make sure that you keep a record of your daily and weekly accomplishments, and any data supporting these achievements. Even though you’re doing a terrific job, your boss may still need reminding. Keep your supervisor in the loop about your progress with an ongoing stream of communication about your activities.
Document Your Value
Research compensation and salary trends for your field through surveys by professional organizations, online salary tools, and informal dialogue with professional colleagues.
Once you can document the value that you have added to your employer and established what you’re worth in the marketplace, it’s time to ask your supervisor to schedule a meeting to discuss your salary. This might occur naturally at the end of an already scheduled meeting for your performance review.
If you’re asking your manager for a meeting specifically to talk about salary, mention it when you request the meeting.
Summarize Your Accomplishments
Prepare a one to two page summary of your accomplishments, to highlight the reasons you have earned a salary increase. Be careful that you don’t imply an ultimatum, or convey frustration or any negative emotion. Be ready to calmly counter any objections which you can anticipate. Pay raise negotiations often involve a back and forth exchange, not just an initial request by an employee.
Your rationale for a pay raise should be entirely based on the quality of your work. Avoid the temptation to present personal reasons such as family responsibilities or additional expenses which you have incurred.
If You Get Turned Down
In the case where your employer turns down your request for a raise, ask what you might do to qualify for a bump in salary. Work with your supervisor to establish specific objectives to enhance your performance and a timetable for reaching those goals.
If your supervisor raises a legitimate performance issue, discuss the steps you need to take to overcome the problem and a timeline for review.
It is not uncommon for employers to use a salary freeze as a reason for refusing an increase, even though they may affirm that you might otherwise deserve a raise. Explore alternative scenarios with your supervisor whereby you might increase compensation, such as a promotion or position upgrade. Be prepared to show how your role has evolved over time, or to mention ways that you could add value in a new role.
In this era, the most common way for many salaried workers to secure a raise, unfortunately, is to change employers. If you receive an offer from another company, your current employer may match or exceed that offer to keep you on staff. Of course, there is no guarantee that this will happen, and you should be prepared to change jobs if you pursue this strategy as a way to earn more money.
Some employers will react adversely if they even think you are seeking alternative employment, so be very discreet if you decide to pursue other opportunities while you are currently employed.