THERE is a lot of talk about Singapore’s low unemployment rate of 1.8 per cent and the tight talent market. In your own workplace, people have left without being replaced, and now your own work-life balance is suffering as you pick up the slack. Your boss hasn’t offered you a raise, so you are considering moving jobs.
You are not alone. Competitive salary and employee benefits remain the most important factors for employees in Singapore when choosing an employer, according to the 2014 Randstad Award Survey. They are often the impetus for employees jumping ship to join another company.
But it is not always necessary to leave your current role in order to achieve a spike in salary. If you like your job and it meets the majority of your requirements, but you don’t think you’re getting paid what you deserve, consider asking your boss for a raise.
For most of us, this process of salary negotiation is a delicate dance to perform. When should you broach the subject? How much should you ask for? What happens if your boss says no?
Here are some tips that may help:
Don’t undersell yourself
Before making your approach, keep your expectations in check and research the market rate for someone of your level in your industry. You can find this through a range of websites.
Next, take into account your specific skills, competencies, training and assets that are of value to your employer. Consider what your company would need to pay a new recruit equal to your calibre if you were to move on.
Timing is everything
Ensure you know the salary review process for your company. Is there one dedicated annual review period, or are salaries reviewed on an ongoing basis based on performance or projects and workloads?
You should also be aware of the financial position of your company. Asking for a big pay rise when there is a company-wide pay freeze or sales are down will show you are out of touch.
Learn the art of self-promotion
Doing your job is what you are paid for. The way you will get a raise is by showing your boss how you contribute at a higher level than that you were initially hired for.
When negotiating a raise, you will need to be armed with more ammunition than simply your tenure at the company or a high workload. You will need to demonstrate how you have exceeded your current responsibilities.
How have you made your boss’s life easier? What key successes have you had in the last 12 months? What projects have you undertaken that have seen you operate over and above your job description?
But it is not all about past performance, you will also need to show how you will continue to improve and deliver more in the future.
Consider your options
Even if your performance is up to scratch, there may be other reasons why your boss can’t elevate you salary, including a freeze on salaries due to financial troubles or your request coming after budgets have been set for the year.
To tide you over until a pay rise is back on the agenda, see if you can increase your benefits package, expand your annual leave days, or reduce your work hours.
With 48 per cent of Singapore employees listing good work-life balance as one of the most important criteria when choosing an employer, this is becoming an increasingly attractive option.
To ensure you are next in line for a pay rise, it is vital to check-in with your boss regularly so that you are clear on what is required to take you to the next level.
Ask when it will be appropriate to revisit salary discussions, and in the meantime, continue building your case as a valued employee of the organisation.