Seven Pivotal Questions To Ask Yourself If You Want A Significant Salary Increase

Being driven by intrinsic motivation is a sound way to develop in your career. Extrinsic motivation, like a salary increase, is also a factor. Your salary is a notable current and future signal of how much your work is worth. According to Aon Hewitt’s annual U.S. salary findings, the average pay raise in 2017 was 3%. Changing employers or getting to the next level in your career is a common way of receiving a salary increase, but it’s possible to boost your income without changing jobs. I’ve seen individuals get more than a 20% pay raise.

Knowing how to ask for and obtain a salary increase can also be a useful step towards managing burnout. Career burnout can occur because of frustration or a loss of inefficacy which then has an impact on productivity and engagement.

Ask yourself these questions before communicating with your employer:

1. Does someone with the same experience earn a higher pay rate?

This question is especially useful to consider if you’ve been in your role for a long time. The starting salary a few years ago could have been lower at that time. A professional market value assessment would be an excellent step to employ. A thorough market value assessment uses a myriad of labor market research including online resources and primary research. It’s not just an employer’s job to make sure that you get paid fairly; it’s your responsibility too.

Tip: Once you’ve done your research, show an employer how your 30-day, 90-day, six-month and 12-month contributions have directly impacted an area of business.

2. Do you have a skill set or area of knowledge that will impact company growth or efficiency?

Think about your personal, as well as, professional achievements. For example, your company may be trying to expand market share in a demographic that you have insight on due to attending a conference, living in a country or through connections in your network.  Get feedback on implementing your knowledge or developing your skill set to ensure value.

Tip: Spending 15-20 minutes each day on actions that are directly related to your development assists in ensuring performance outputs.

3. Would it take a long time to train someone to do your role?

The time it takes to gain job competency can sometimes be longer in technically skilled roles. Regularly networking with others in your industry can give you an idea of how you uniquely perform your job duties. Perhaps, you’re responsible for using skills and knowledge that someone working in the same role at a different company wouldn’t utilize. Any additional education or courses that you’ve taken can also be considered when thinking about how long it would take to train someone in your role.

Tip:  Although you may be up to speed with your job duties, focus on creating value. Value is what leads to a significant salary increase. Measure your worth by how well you keep up with deadlines and the quality of your work.

4. Do your clients, customers or team highly value you?

Talking about the impact of your relationships is just as important as stating your achievements because it signifies emotional intelligence. Make a list of the benefits others receive and experience by working with you. Also, think about how your leadership qualities may have impacted another person’s performance.

Tip: Find out exactly why those you work closely with value your relationship. It could be because your leadership promoted work-life harmony, or perhaps, a relationship you fostered saved the company money through innovation.

5. Is your credibility and performance substantial?

You’ll want to evidence this in your performance review. Outline the impact, value and tangible results you have achieved throughout the year. You can also include supporting documentation, like feedback, from team members or executives.

Tip:  If you can respond with a resounding yes to the following statements, then your performance is probably great: The team you manage has won an award. You’ve been nominated for or won an award. You’ve been rated among a top percent within an organization, department or in your industry.

6. Are you doing a critical job function of another job role? 

If you’re being asked to take on more responsibility, it may be time to ask for more money. It may be that you got invited to be the lead for a lengthy project in a complimentary department. The strengths of your relationships may help you understand what the job entailed before you came on board.

Tip: There is much joy in hard work, and helping out doesn’t necessarily give one the license to ask for a salary increase. Plus, it may not be a unique value proposition if it’s common to be wearing multiple hats in your organization.

7. Are you seen as an informational resource – does everyone trust and turn to you for advice?

Years of experience can lead to knowledge of your company’s processes and culture. Maybe as an executive, you have built up thought-leadership by writing or speaking at industry leading events. Don’t underestimate the value of being trusted.

Tip: A great way to gauge whether you’re an ‘informational resource’ is by noticing how people feel when you return to work after time off. What emotive phrases do they use?

Besides these pivotal questions, you also want to be mindful of the decision maker’s personality, work habits and the best time of day to approach the conversation. Best wishes!