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Raise Guide: How much is realistic?

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Those who work lots should earn accordingly – now technically this is how it is supposed to go, in reality, however, salaries are often a product of smart negotiations, a self-confident appearance, and the right timing.

Is it time for a raise? 

Timing is crucial when it comes to salary negotiations. No one wants to appear presumptuous by asking too soon or greedy by asking for too much. There should be a reason as to why you feel like you should earn more and it is important to identify this reason in advance.

New skills

Since your last salary negotiation, you acquired new skills or obtained a degree or certificate? In this case, you should consider asking for a raise. If you are adding more value to the company now, compared to when your current salary was set, it requires adjustment. 

Promotion, new responsibilities or tasks

The same goes for promotions or if you have been given new responsibilities and tasks. If they differ significantly from what you have been doing previously, then your salary should be adjusted accordingly. 

Your colleagues earn more

Quick disclaimer: Just because your colleagues earn more than you, this does not mean that you deserve a raise. If you do, however, feel that you should earn the same based on performance, this could mean that they just negotiated better than you. In this case, you should work on your arguments and your confidence to negotiate a more suitable salary next time. 

How much is realistic? 

There is of course no exact number or table as to how high a raise should be. Many factors have to be considered: Do you work in a start-up or a corporate? Have you been with the company for some time or are you relatively new? Is the company currently doing economically well?

Under consideration of the circumstances, there are, however, rough guidelines that you can use to calculate your individual salary adjustment: 

Promotion, new responsibilities or tasks

If you moved up the company or expanded your area of responsibility, you can expect a raise of around 15 percent, however, you want to start at around 20 percent as your employer will most likely try to negotiate you down. 

No change in responsibilities or tasks

If you still have the same area of responsibility since your last salary negotiation, you can expect a raise between 3 and 5 percent. Again, you want to start a little bit higher, let us say at about 10 percent, to have some room for negotiation. 

Tips and tricks

Now there is no guarantee that you will get a raise and in the end, your employer will have the last word. There are, however, a few tips and tricks that might elevate your chances a little bit. 

Be confident

This first tip might seem very obvious, however, we cannot stress this enough: If you are not confident in why you deserve a raise, why should your employer be? 

Use an unrounded numbers

If you use a very specific number, let’s say 4.570 – this makes it seem like you really researched your market value and put a significant amount of time into calculating this raise. This underlines your confidence, with numerics. 

Come prepared

This one should really go without saying: An employer will not give you a raise just because you want it. Bring details and specifics that prove that you are adding value to the company and that you are not easily replaceable. To really support your arguments prepare numerics. 

Ask after you achieved something outstanding

Although this is technically not a must, it would most certainly help your case. If you can not only prove that you are doing an excellent job in your day-to-day tasks, but you are also doing an outstanding job beyond this, it will be hard for your employer to find arguments against a raise.

For more tips and tricks, check out our Top-Arguments during salary negotiations: How to get your next raise and the 5 Things You Should Not Say when aiming for a raise. 

What if your boss does not agree? 

If your boss absolutely refuses to give you a raise, that is not a reason to lose hope on this matter. Ask for reasons as to why they feel like you are not in a position to receive a raise and what they want you to achieve to validate a raise at a later point in time. Ask them for specific requirements that you can fall back on in the future. 

There is of course also the chance that the refusal of a raise is not directly linked to you but maybe the company cannot afford it right now. In this case, you should ask your employer for non-monetary compensations – Although this will not directly replace monetary income, it does show that your employer values your work and will most likely agree to a raise once the situation improves.

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