How To Negotiate a Salary Increment: Tips You Need To Know

By Indeed Editorial Team

November 9, 2021

A crucial element of job satisfaction is getting the salary you feel you deserve based on your position and experience level. Your current salary, timing, and the company's financial situation can all affect when you may ask for a pay raise. Understanding how to negotiate convincingly for a raise is essential to achieving the salary you desire. In this article, we explain what a salary increment is, discuss five reasons to ask for a raise, and explain how and when to ask your employer for a salary increase.

What is a salary increment?

A salary increment is another term for a pay raise. When your salary goes up each year—whether based on cost-of-living increases or merit-based—the amount your wage increases is your salary increment. You can measure your salary increment based on the percentage of your overall base pay. Your employer may use these increments to decrease or increase base salary and to grant incentives. You can use them as a reference point when negotiating a new starting salary or a raise with a company.

Related: Understanding the Average Annual Salary in Canada

5 reasons to ask for a raise

Before you meet with your employer, it's important to understand why you're asking for a salary increase. You can consider the situation from your employer's perspective and ask yourself whether you might offer this employee a raise. Knowing the potential reasons for deserving a raise can help you plan how to make your request and judge whether you're likely to succeed. Below are five key reasons to ask for a raise:

1. You motivate your team

Positive employees can help motivate the rest of their team. Showing respect for your team members can help promote a positive work environment. Your respectful attitude may also encourage other team members to work harder to excel in their own roles. It's important to maintain a positive attitude and communicate appreciation for your team to encourage collaboration.

2. You contribute to the company's success

You may deserve a pay raise if you deliver work that impacts the organization's overall success. How you add value to the company may depend on the tasks and responsibilities of your position. For example, if you're a graphic designer who exceeds your weekly assignment quota and receives few edit requests from clients, you may mention these details when requesting a raise.

3. You advise and mentor other employees

Advising and mentoring other employees can provide benefits to you and the mentee. As a mentor, you can increase the value of the workforce by sharing your expertise with other co-workers. You can also help build leadership skills that are valued by most organizations.

4. You take initiative at work

Well-qualified employees are crucial to the health of any organization. You may show initiative by finding more projects to work on, asking colleagues how you may assist them, or requesting extra tasks. You can demonstrate your initiative by mentioning a problem you've noticed to the company's senior management team, and offering your solution.

5. Your performance exceeds expectations

Your work performance is a convincing argument for receiving an increase, and doing more than your job needs may involve exceeding quotas, taking added responsibilities, and helping your team members. For instance, you work in the advertising department as an editor, and your primary duty is to copy edit documents. Still, you often help the writers if they're behind on their assignments.

Related: How to Negotiate Your Salary During COVID-19

How to ask for a pay raise

Before meeting with your employer, you can follow these steps to help increase your confidence and your chances of success when asking for a raise:

1. Research

It's important to always do sufficient research to understand the value of your job position. You can prepare and plan for the negotiation. The more confident you are that what you're asking for is defensible and reasonable, the less likely your manager is to ignore or refute your arguments. You can research the following details about your role:

  • compensation provided by local competitors

  • industry average wages for your position

  • your location's cost of living relative to other regions

  • typical pay raises in your industry over the past few years

  • salaries of colleagues with the same responsibility level at your organization

  • typical lower and upper limits of your role's pay scale in negotiations

2. Evaluate your skills

Once you understand your position's typical compensation and expectations, you can compare this with your own experience, qualifications, and skill set. That can give you a decent idea of the value you bring to your current position. You can look for motivating arguments that help differentiate you from others in the organization, including the following:

  • personal letters of commendation

  • documentation of goals you met

  • copies of recent performance evaluations

  • statistics and detailed information about your performance

3. Determine your target salary

It's important to decide your salary range before starting the negotiation. You can research the current market value of the position to ensure that your target is within the average pay range for others in the role. One strategy is to request a higher salary than you expect for the role so that your employer's counter-offer may still be within your range.

Related: How to Answer “What Are Your Salary Expectations?” and Related Questions

4. Have a backup plan

You may be negotiating for a salary change, but there are other potential benefits an employer can offer. They may propose paid time off, incentive programs, bonuses, or vacation time as an alternative to a raise. You may consider these options to ensure you understand your priorities before starting the negotiation.

5. Wait for the perfect time

Another important part of organizing a salary negotiation is timing. Asking for a salary raise in a profitable year or during a company-wide salary review may make your employer more likely to agree with your proposal. You can consider your company's current financial state and plan accordingly.

6. Submit a formal request in writing

Writing a formal request for a salary increase can be a convincing way to ask your employer for a raise. It's important to put your salary proposal in writing to create formal documentation of your request. You can also discuss it informally with your employer to get their opinion before formalizing the request. Here are some important factors to consider when writing your request letter:

  • The purpose of your letter. You can include your job title and length of employment, then mention that you're writing to ask for a salary increase.

  • The reason for the request. You may mention the reason for the request in the body paragraph and specify your desired salary or other included benefits.

  • Justification for the request. It's vital for the body paragraph to express why you're worthy of the raise. You can summarize your achievements if you take on more work, use bullet points to showcase them and add figures when applicable.

7. Schedule a meeting

You can schedule a short one-on-one meeting with your employer and present your request. When negotiating, it's important to remain calm and listen carefully throughout the conversation. Negotiating rationally can help you and your employer find a compromise that meets both of your expectations.

8. Be ready to make your proposal

If you argue your case effectively and the company has a large enough budget, your manager may grant your request. They can also pass your request through other members of the corporate team to offer their approval. It's crucial to make your proposal as impressive as possible by proving how you have contributed to the company's success.

9. Prepare your response

If your manager does not answer your request clearly, you can respond in two ways. You may thank your employer your their time and ask them to clarify their position and provide more detail on their first response. You can also be patient and try to reopen the discussion after a few months, especially if you expect the company's financial situation to improve, increasing your chance of receiving a raise.

Related: How to Negotiate Salary (With Examples)

When can you ask for a raise?

Timing is key when asking for a raise, and you can follow these guidelines to decide when to make your request:

  • When the company achieves goals. You can ask for a pay raise when the company achieves its goals or profit targets. Reading the annual company reports and press releases can offer more insight into these goals.

  • When it's justified. Your request may be more likely to succeed if you can prove you have expanded responsibilities in your role. For example, you can ask for a raise after showing you improved a system's efficiency or increased the company's revenue generation.

  • On significant dates. Asking for a pay raise before the company's anniversary, at the end of the calendar year, or before the next budget review may help increase your chance of success.

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