How to Ask for, and Get, a Pay Raise

When it comes to requesting a pay raise, you need to keep it both professional and calm, writes Kirstie McDermott.

The cost of living is on the up in Australia. The most recent statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed that the country’s inflation rate had reached 6.1% – the fastest annual increase in 21 years, driven primarily by the increasing cost of food and fuel.

ABS also noted that annual wage growth was 2.6% in the June quarter of 2022, but a recent salary report has some better news. Fifty seven per cent of organisations reported that budgets for 2022 were higher than their 2021 compensation packages.

All 15 of the largest global economies experienced higher salary budget increases in 2022 than both 2021’s actual and 2022 projected numbers, with many Australian companies increasing their salary budgets by 3.5%.

But what can you do if you are yet to see more cash in your pocket? The obvious thing is to ask your manager for a raise. However, before you go in guns blazing, do some prep. It will increase your chances of success, and walking away with exactly what you want.

Do your homework

If you left your company and took a job at a competitor salon or beauty business right now, what would your starting salary be? There are plenty of online resources that can help you research the average wage for your sector.

Take into account factors such as your experience and education levels: do you have additional qualifications and awards that might help your case? A colleague may have jumped ship and experienced a pay bump, but did they have specialist knowledge that was of value to a competitor – they may have recently completed a new certification or advanced training in a high-demand area. If you have done any of those things too, then that’s good news for your market value.

Time and place

If you want to convince your manager that you deserve higher pay, choose your timing well. Have you recently received praise from a high-paying client, have you brought new business onboard or have you boosted the visibility of the business in new ways – for example through developing a great social media feed. If you can directly track your contribution to a financial figure, it will be way easier to ask for, and justify, a pay increase.

Keep calm

When it comes to requesting a salary increase you need to keep it both professional and calm. It is best to keep your request strictly to performance-related reasons, as it’s far easier for your manager to turn you down if you start bringing your personal finances into it. 

Have a list of prepared talking points ready. Each should be rational, factual and work-based. Sure, you might work harder than Sandra on the front desk, but if you don’t do the same daily tasks as her it’s like comparing apples and oranges.

It might be no

Be prepared to be told no, even if you have prepared an exceptional case for why you deserve a raise. Maybe your company can’t increase your financial compensation, but is there any other way your overall package could be improved?

Maybe they can offer more paid time off throughout the year: Additional PTO could help to reduce childcare or commuting costs which will increase your disposable income. Could you ask for flexible working hours or a contribution towards your travel costs?

Don’t take a no as a hard stop. Think of it as a jumping off point for negotiations.

Don’t get angry

It’s understandable if you feel frustrated with a refusal, but take a deep breath and don’t get angry or make threats, especially if you can’t see them through. If you already have another job offer from a competitor, be careful how you use it.

Most companies don’t respond well to threats or ultimatums from staff who seek to use job offers as salary leverage, so if you want to use another offer to boost your current compensation, do so carefully. Explain you have received another job offer but are happy with your current role and would like to know if anything can be done to match the new salary you’ve been offered.

You may have to walk away

And if, after all that, your employer is unable or unwilling to acknowledge your market value and the benefits you bring to the company, you have to ask, is this job the right fit for you?

This doesn’t need to be something you need to do immediately, and you should take your time looking for a great new role that’s a fit for your skills and which will compensate you accordingly.

If you know what you’re worth, and the value you can bring to an employer, take that information and find your dream job on the Professional Beauty Job Board.

This article was produced in partnership with Jobbio.

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