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When can I ask for a raise?

Time for a raise: the classic reasons

In most jobs there are several classic scenarios when you can expect your salary to increase:

You have been promoted

The promotion is basically THE reason for the raise. When you are promoted you move up the ladder taking on additional responsibilities for yourself or others. In other words: A shiny new title should mean a bigger wage check. As a rule of thumb: The more responsibility you have to shoulder and the more important the decisions you are expected to make, the more money you can ask for.

You have reached your targets

Many companies set their employees targets for the current business year. That means: setting performance-related targets for the year together with your line manager. These may be measurable targets such as a predetermined sales volume or fixed number of new customers. Sometimes they concern soft factors such as the acquisition of new skills that are of use for the whole company. At the same time that you set the targets, you should also discuss the “reward” for achieving them in the form of the percentage increase in salary you can expect.

Arguments in favour of a raise

There does not always have to be an official reason for asking for more money. There are other good reasons why a raise may be appropriate:

Time served

Of course, simply turning up for work every day is not enough reason to expect a raise. Nevertheless, longstanding employees can cite their many years of loyalty and service as ample reason to expect a salary increase.

Your performance of your job has gone above and beyond

Perhaps you have landed an important new customer on your own initiative or through your personal network. Congratulations for you and your company. If your employer has profited from your additional efforts on its behalf, recompense in the form of a salary hike may be in order. It is certainly something you should remind them of at your next performance evaluation meeting.

Careful: Now may not be such a good time to ask for a raise

Just as there are many different reasons why you should ask for a raise, there are also situations when a discussion of that nature is not such a good idea:

You have messed up in the past

You have missed an important deadline, misplaced key documents, been unfriendly to a customer? Stuff happens - even to the best of us. But, of course, mistakes like these can quickly take the wind out of your sails when it comes to negotiating a pay rise. At the end of the day, pay is linked to performance.

The company is not doing so well

Financially speaking, the company has hit a few bumps in the road. Perhaps now is not the best time to ask the boss for more cash that isn’t there. Weigh up carefully whether you want to push for a raise when the boss is worried about the company’s survival. But don’t forget: Sometimes a poor financial situation is used as an excuse to postpone raises for the workforce.

It hasn’t been that long since your last raise

Do you go cap in hand four times a year? That does not go over particularly well with most bosses. Plan to ask for a raise once a year at most, for example at your annual performance review - unless you have already negotiated a different arrangement with your employer.

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