Wed | Dec 6, 2023

Raising a raise

Published:Tuesday | March 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Q. I am a single parent in desperate need of a raise of pay. My only son is in second year in a United States college and I am finding it hard to make two ends meet. When I compare my salary now to what it was three years ago, it has declined by 20 per cent when calculated in US dollars, although every year I get an increase from the company.

In addition, although it is recession time, my company's profits, after tax, have increased by 37 per cent. I intend to talk to the managing director about my need for more money and the fact that my son's future in school is in danger. Do you think this is a good idea?

A. It is never easy to ask for a raise outside of an annual increase and the current state of the Jamaican economy makes it even more nerve-wracking. Furthermore, a pay hike cannot be based prima-rily on your needs. Your employer could suggest your child should attend a Jamaican school which is less expensive. Additionally, your employer may not be earning foreign currency, so equating your salary in US dollars movements may not be comparing apples with apples. Other staff members could use similar arguments to ask for a raise.

However, you may be on safer grounds to ask for a raise based on the company's improved perfor-mance - on the assumption you directly or indirectly contributed. The best time to ask for a raise is generally when the results of profits are in.

You then need to show and convince your employer that your performance during that period exceeded expectations and have resulted in the 37 per cent increase in profits. If you can also show your actions have saved the company money; or, made the company's name better known in the marketplace; or, increase market share and/or customer base, then you have a very good case.

However, there are other factors to contemplate when asking for a substantial increase. You ought to know your firm's ethos, and your managing director's thinking, attitude and values. Furthermore, you need to determine if the company has high-interest debts that it may want to retire by using the profits. In addition, would you stand a better chance of getting an increase if you ask for more responsibilities or demonstrate you need a promotion or new job title.

You get what you negotiate

Finally, remember you do not get the pay you deserve but what you negotiate. What you are getting is what you agreed to. Therefore, you must present compelling reasons, in a convincing manner, as to why you deserve a raise over and above other staff members, and what you originally agreed to. You need to plan and prepare for the discussion on the increase in salary, including wearing the proper attire as if you were going for the first interview. You should make an appointment and send a message you want to discuss your compensation package. It should not be brought up as if it is any other matter, or as an afterthought.

Remember, you cannot base the change in your wages and benefits outside of the normal review period on ordinary accomplishment. It ought to be based on a major accomplishment. This is not the right climate because it is recession time and some companies are thinking of making positions redundant. Many persons are just happy to have a job. Many employers are defensive when it comes to granting an increase.

Price yourself

In addition, make sure you do not price yourself out of the job market. Otherwise, the employer might feel he or she could get someone else to do an equally good job for a smaller compensation package.

So, if the company is doing very well and you have contributed significantly to its performance, and are prepared to take on additional responsibilities or a promotion, and you can deliver a convincing case at the appropriate time, then go ahead.

All the best.

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