Australian wages have been at an all-time low. Even the Reserve Bank of Australia has told workers to get a pay rise.  Since this is the season of giving, is this the right time to be asking your boss for a salary rise.

Here are 10 tips on how you should go about it.

1. Choose your timing

Don’t approach the boss at the busiest time of the week like Monday mornings when everyone is warming up for the week or on Friday afternoons when they are winding down for the weekend.

Instead, chat with your manager when they are feeling relaxed like after lunch. Don’t ask for a salary review when the company has just received some bad news or your boss is in a bad mood.

2. Pick the right spot

Try to have the meeting in a neutral place in the office and seat your boss somewhere soft and comfortable. A relaxed boss is more likely to agree to your demands. If your boss is seated on a large imposing chair, it is more likely that he will behave in an authoritarian way.

  3. Appearance matters

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. The image you portray is part and parcel of you doing your job well. So dress to impress.

4. State your reasons

Give clear examples of how you have gone beyond your basic job description and highlight examples where you have taken the initiative or helped support the team. Always keep in the mind that this is a business meeting and your goal is to convince your boss you deserve a higher salary.

5. Be silent

After you have said your piece and stated the reasons why you deserve a rise, give your employer a chance to respond. Never say you are underpaid. Instead you should say: “I have been thinking about my responsibilities and how they might be reflected in my pay. What do you think?”  An open question gives the boss a chance to answer.

6. Keep the boss on side

It is always in your interest to keep your boss on board. Reaffirm your commitment to the job and show you are up for challenges. Never get defensive or aggressive. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your boss will be.

7. Stay calm.

Leave your personal financial woes out of the conversation with your boss. Pleading about how you are struggling to buy a home, can be a major turn-off. Avoid tantrums and threats to resign if you do not get your way.

8. Make your own pay rise

If the boss says no, look for other ways to boost your income and change your work habits. Ask if you could work from home one day a week – that would shave off at least 20 per cent of your travel costs.

9. Listen to the answer.

If your boss declines to give you a pay rise, be gracious and ask for feedback on how you can improve your performance so that you can  work smart.

10. Follow up with an email

If your boss says they don’t have the budget for a pay increase at the moment, ask them when they expect the situation to change and make a note in an email. Your note to the boss should mention “how interesting to hear your views and as you suggested, I would ask again about a salary review in six months time.’’ This would give you a paper trail.


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