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How to successfully achieve a salary increase in a Western company? Find out with EP Advisory career consultants

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How to correctly ask for a salary increase from management? Should you prepare for difficult negotiations? Should we expect the initiative to come from the employer?

Specialists from EP Advisory have prepared a detailed guide for you that will help you achieve a well-deserved increase.

Work on your value

Reminder: It's completely normal to strive for more and ask for a raise.

Each of us may have different motivations for working at a particular place: the company helps with a visa, a friendly team, competitive wages -  all these things are advantages. But even if all the conditions are met, at some point you may realise that you have been working in the same position for several years, constantly taking on more responsibility, and without a word about your career growth.

To prevent this from happening, you need to understand your value as a specialist. For this:

  • Write down your achievements and reflect regularly. What have you been up to this month/quarter? How did this benefit the employer?
  • Keep an eye on the market. Periodically review job postings, research job requirements and salary levels, or find people on LinkedIn with relevant experience. This will help you understand whether you are being compensated adequately for your position and responsibilities.
What if you refused?! Prepare for any scenario

You conducted research and realised that you could get more money elsewhere. Is it worth immediately changing jobs in this case? Do not hurry. Changing jobs, even for job seekers with wide experience, is always stressful. Try to get promoted within your current company. You most likely already have an established relationship with your superiors and many achievements, you are already on the road to success. All that remains is to overcome your fears and beliefs and think through a competent self-presentation.

There are two options for how such negotiations could end:

  • The boss will say “I hear you” and take time to think. It is important to understand that such decisions are not made immediately and may take some time - several weeks or even months. Determine for yourself in advance how long you are willing to wait.
  • Refusal. This happens very rarely. But  if so, then refusal is also a result on the basis of which you can make further decisions.

If you do decide to change jobs, consider this path as a new opportunity. You will be able to expand your portfolio with different industries, acquire new competencies and improve your resume. The main thing is to understand what is more important to you in the future: maintaining a position with a stable (albeit not increased salary) or fundamentally looking for something else.

Taking the initiative into our own hands

Or maybe you shouldn’t talk at all and harbour a grudge against your boss? Let him work  everything out himself!

The manager, of course, must foresee how the labour market is changing, but one should not rely on his consciousness. It is best not to wait for a miracle and take the initiative into your own hands.

An employer is rarely willing to pay extra for the same duties that you performed before. Then what is the way out? How to get a salary increase?

In most cases, negotiations will be successful if:

  • it is difficult for you to be  replaced, since you are multifunctional and have unique competencies;
  • you have become a more effective and valuable employee in the eyes of your boss over the past year;
  • you are not afraid to take on new responsibilities.

Our experience shows that employees who easily accept criticism, know how to work with feedback and actively participate in the development of the company most often receive a positive response. But the position of demand in the style of “you must pay me more, like they pay my friend Petya” usually fails.

Only constructive cooperation with the company and a request for dialogue is the right path to promotion. In addition, experienced managers always notice when a person is trying, working effectively and developing. But you also have the power to do everything so that your bosses are aware of your development.

Those candidates who negotiate salary after submitting an offer usually receive an offer with income 10% higher.

Eka Vankova, EP Advisory expert on careers in marketing

Building relationships with colleagues

One of your key tasks is to form a relationship in which your superiors are aware of your achievements and reputation.

If you work in a large company, then it is important to build relationships not only with your direct boss, but also with other employees who can indirectly affect your promotion.

Of course, this doesn't mean you have to write directly to everyone about your achievements, but consider in what context it would be appropriate to share the progress and results of your work. Give yourself time to build a network with colleagues. Our experience shows that this can be done even while working remotely.

I work in marketing and PR, and sometimes not everyone understands this type of work . So I created a channel for achievements in my work- Slack. I share links to recent publications there so that my colleagues can see how much cool stuff we do. Such channels can be used for both personal achievements and departmental results.

Eka Vankova, EP Advisory expert on careers in marketing

Highlighting achievements and increasing responsibilities

Often we get stuck in our daily routine and forget to notice something useful that we have done. Keep your finger on the pulse and try to write down big and small achievements once a month or at least every six months. Update your CV and LinkedIn more often - what if another employer approaches you with a lucrative offer? Looking for a job yourself and being the one approached by the company’s headhunters are two fundamentally different positions.

In any case, it is important to find reasons to be proud. And behind these reasons comes a possible reason for a salary increase.

Some employees confuse responsibilities and achievements.

Responsibilities are the routine tasks of a specific position. These are also worth keeping an eye on: how have responsibilities changed since you were hired? Have new tasks been added?

Achievements prove your professional competence and productivity. Use a skill-activity-result framework to communicate your accomplishments.

Example of responsibilities: attracted clients.

Example of achievement: doubled the number of active clients of the company over the past three months.

Which achievements are worth mentioning?

  • Achievements that influenced the company’s work and led to changes (redesigned business processes, which increased KPI; launched a new direction, etc.).
  • Achievements with specifically measurable results. This could be the company's financial performance or even the time it takes to complete certain tasks.
  • Achievements that are associated with the development of soft skills. They can be cool too! For example, you improved as a speaker and conducted training for several dozen employees, which helped improve processes in the company.
Determining the size of the increase

How much should I ask for as a salary increase? Based on the value of the work you've already done: how your responsibilities have changed since you were hired and what you contribute to the company.

It’s better to go to your boss right away with specific numbers and materials confirming your achievements. Be realistic: it is unlikely that they will be able to offer to double your salary, even if you have developed a lot over the past year. But you can count on an increase of 10 to 30%.

What if, for example, you work in sales and receive bonuses ? Can you then ask for a rise? You can. In this case you need to weigh all the benefits, decide for yourself what is more important - bonuses or stability - and also calculate what is taxed more.

Choosing the right time

How long does it take to ask for a rise? It all depends on you: some achieve a promotion six months after starting work, others need more time. The most common patterns are from one to two years. This is the time during which you will have time to establish contacts with colleagues and accumulate achievements.

It is important to choose the right moment to talk to your boss. If you see that the company is currently experiencing difficulties or everyone is busy launching a new project, it would be prudent to postpone negotiations until calmer times.

In general, a manager is most inclined to enter such negotiations when:

  • you get a new job;
  • the company summarises the results of the year and sets goals for the next;
  • your functionality expands.
Ask for a meeting

Warn your boss in advance that you want to talk about your prospects in the company, and agree on a time for the meeting. It’s better not to talk about money directly - this is already understandable in the context of “career growth”.

You can ask for a conversation at a regular one-to-one meeting or by e-mail. For example, write a short letter: “I would like to discuss how I can further develop in this company. I conducted some research and would be glad to present it if you have time to talk with me.”

Hold negotiations

How to negotiate your salary correctly? The answer is simple: come prepared. For example, make a presentation - it will be morally easier for you to rely on a pre-written text and you will not  confuse your words due to being excited.

Make a list of your current responsibilities, how they have changed, and think about what else you can take on.

Briefly describe why the last six months/year/two have been successful for you, with examples of achievements.

Be honest, straightforward and confident. Focus on your value.

What should not be mentioned during negotiations?

  • Don’t resort to blackmail: “I’m quitting.” What if you really have to? Don't give yourself an awkward ultimatum.
  • Don't say that a particular company pays more. Different companies may have different types of motivation - and this is not just salary. In this case, it is better to refer to the general market research you have done.
  • Do not mention external factors: inflation, family circumstances, and so on. Talk about work and your areas of responsibility.
  • Don't focus on seniority if you've been working for a long time. “I’ve been in the company for five years, it’s time for me to improve” is not an argument. Yes, you can be a good person, proven by time, but this does not guarantee a promotion.

Negotiations at the employment stage

When applying for a new job, it is important to understand that most often the first offer is not final. Yes, yes, you need to bargain.

Specialists who negotiate often receive an average of 10% more from the initial package.

During interviews, try not to be the first to name a specific amount, so as not to accidentally underestimate the figure or overestimate yourself - wait until they make you the first offer with a specific social package and salary.

As a last resort, you can mention compensation at your current job. This will make it clear that you definitely do not intend to receive less. But try to ensure that the employer names the first numbers. This will become the starting point for subsequent negotiations.

A negotiating tactic that works is to ask for a few days to think things over, and then openly tell the employer: “I’m really interested in your offer, but I would like to know if we can discuss salary opportunities again?”

Before you make a counter offer, count all the bonuses from the current company (paid vacation, courses, etc.). If this is a relocation, take a look at Glassdoor and see the approximate salary range in the company you are applying for. Estimate what the average salary for a local candidate with a similar amount of experience will be. This will help you convert your salary into a currency amount and create your own salary range for financial negotiations.

Don't give one specific number - ask for more than you are willing to agree to. In this case, it is important to start with market research and an understanding of the value you can provide to the company.

Most often, you will be answered with a lucrative counter-offer and bonuses to your salary and benefits package.

Source: EP Advisory

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