September 4, 2014

Should you ask or Pitch for Your Next Raise?

Business man during presentation pointing to white flipchartHave you ever asked for a raise in your job or even in your career? It’s quite likely you haven’t as a July 2014 CareerBuilder study of around 5,000 workers suggests that around 56 percent of you haven’t asked for a raise, ever! And if you haven’t asked for a raise in your career, there is a good chance that you have left money on the table, (or more likely it’s been grabbed by a more bold and forthright colleague), because CareerBuilder found that success rates amongst those who ask for raises are very high. Sixty-six percent of people who ask for a raise receive them, but women are not as likely to have asked for a raise (38%) as men (49%).

But, asking for a raise is not enough in itself; you’ll need to pitch for your next raise too, and below I have set out five tips on how to simultaneously ask and pitch for a raise for maximum effect.

1. Wait until your stock is riding high.

Wait until you have completed a large project well or a string of successful projects as your value to the organization will be clearly understood, meaning you’ll feel more confident about asking for a raise and your manager will be able to more clearly recognize your value.

2. Target cash rich periods.

Understand the budget and business cycles of your business and ask for a raise when the business is feeling rich, e.g. when new budgets are released or when they have secured a major new client or major new client renewal.

3. Dress for success.

We know timing is everything, but you need to pitch well. Wear a suit on the day you sit down with your boss to discuss your raise. This will show that you are serious. Studies suggest it could make you feel more confident and deserving and it will help you to be seen as more productive and management potential.

4. Pitch For a Pay Rise, Don’t Ask.

Don’t just walk in and ask for a pay raise. Pitch for one; make a convincing case for a raise. You should also have a list of three or four cast iron and substantial achievements that demonstrate your value and set you apart from your peers. Itemize any additional responsibilities that you have taken on and tell them what contributions you are willing to make in the future. This is a compelling pitch for a raise.

5. Choose your figure carefully.

Make sure you have reliable data sources to back up the figure you select. Also, avoid using a round number for your raise request, e.g. $50,000, and use a specific number like $49,575 as studies show that this is a more influential way to present your request as it appears to the other party that you have done your homework, making your proposal amount seem more trustworthy. It’s best to aim high as this gives you room for negotiation if asked, enabling you to appear like a reasonable individual and will help to keep the discussions genial.

6. Always be ready to negotiate.

It’s the language of business and a great way to overcome an obstacle between two parties and generate trust and rapport in the process.

Good luck with asking AND pitching for a raise.

Read more in Salary Negotiation

Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.