How to ask (strate­gi­cally) for a RAISE

If you’ve worked hard and gone above and be­yond for your em­ployer, there’s no rea­son you shouldn’t ask for a raise. But tim­ing and strat­egy are in­volved, writes An­gelique Ruz­icka

CityPress - - Business -

It is well known that there is a high rate of un­em­ploy­ment in South Africa, es­pe­cially among the youth. With such statis­tics you’d be for­given for feel­ing that you need to ap­pre­ci­ate your job and cur­rent in­come. Ask­ing for more would just be rock­ing the boat now, wouldn’t it? But, if you’ve worked hard and you think you de­serve it then there’s no rea­son why you shouldn’t ask for an in­crease.

Price hikes, in­creas­ing in­ter­est rates and other fi­nance con­cerns may make you want to rush out and ask for more money, but that would be the wrong thing to do. Ask­ing for a raise is one of the most awk­ward con­ver­sa­tions you can have, but here’s how you can ask for a higher salary, strate­gi­cally, with­out ruf­fling any feath­ers:


It’s im­por­tant to do your re­search be­fore ask­ing for a raise. What are other peo­ple of your level of ex­per­tise, age and in­dus­try earn­ing? Your em­ployer will def­i­nitely be fac­tor­ing this in when eval­u­at­ing whether you need a raise. Peo­ple gen­er­ally keep salary in­for­ma­tion close to their chests, but a new Univer­sity of Cape Town (UCT) tool has sim­pli­fied this process and will help you es­tab­lish if your salary is too low. The in­come com­par­i­son tool has been de­vel­oped by UCT’s South­ern Africa Labour and Devel­op­ment Re­search Unit (SALDRU). With just a few clicks you can find out where you are in South Africa’s in­come distri­bu­tion and how you com­pare to the rest of the pop­u­la­tion. To find out where your salary puts you in the coun­try’s in­come spec­trum, go to­come­com­par­i­son-tool/. SALDRU says the tool is in­tended for per­sonal use and that it does not col­lect or save the in­for­ma­tion sub­mit­ted.


If things are busy at work or the com­pany is let­ting peo­ple go and go­ing through a fi­nan­cial slump, now may not be the best time to ask for a raise. “Don’t ask for a raise dur­ing an es­pe­cially fran­tic time, be­cause your boss will be stressed out and dis­tracted. Tim­ing is im­por­tant,” says Tanya Haf­fern, wealth coach and au­thor.

At the same time, if the com­pany is do­ing well, go­ing through an ex­pan­sion and you’ve per­formed well, there’s no rea­son why you can’t ask for one.

“Do ask for a raise just af­ter you have hit a tar­get or achieved some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary at work,” adds Haf­fern. By ask­ing for a raise just af­ter you’ve shot the lights out or been given more re­spon­si­bil­ity than you pre­vi­ously had, you can demon­strate why you de­serve an in­crease. You’ll find it harder to ar­gue for one if you’ve just done your job.


The way in which you ask for a raise can be just as im­por­tant as get­ting the tim­ing right. You have to make sure that you come across as pro­fes­sional and se­ri­ous.

“Don’t ask for a raise via What­sApp or email. Do sched­ule an ap­point­ment and ask face to face. Make sure you dress the part for the meeting,” ad­vises Haf­fern.


Few things are more nerve-wrack­ing and in­tim­i­dat­ing than ask­ing for more money from your boss. The last thing you want to do is come across as lack­ing in con­fi­dence. This is where prac­tice makes per­fect. “Do pre­pare your in­crease re­quest in ad­vance. Ask friends or fam­ily if you can pitch it to them to help set­tle your nerves and to hone your speech.

Don’t get emo­tional. Money is linked very closely to our feel­ings of self-worth so talk­ing about it – or the lack thereof – can of­ten trig­ger strong emo­tions. Stick to the facts, be calm, clear and con­fi­dent. If you have worked hard, you de­serve an in­crease,” says Haf­fern.


Un­less you re­ceive ex­actly what you want, don’t ac­cept the first of­fer that comes along. Some em­ploy­ers may ex­pect you to come back with a coun­terof­fer but, sadly, many don’t feel com­fort­able enough to re­turn to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble. But it’s vi­tal to have a per­sua­sive, care­fully planned ar­gu­ment at hand as to why you de­serve more than they are of­fer­ing. Just do­ing your job is not enough – make sure you have ex­am­ples at hand to demon­strate where you are do­ing more.

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