betty July 25, 2022

In this series, manpower correspondent Calvin Yang offers practical answers to candid questions on navigating workplace challenges and getting ahead in your career.

Q: I am not happy with my salary. How do I ask my boss for a pay rise?

A: Prices of goods and services have been going up as a result of global shocks.

Salaries, though, may not necessarily keep up.

During uncertain times, it is not uncommon to request for a pay rise, say observers. Yet the thought of discussing money matters can be uncomfortable.

Before you stomp up to your supervisor, ask yourself a few questions. Have you contributed significantly? What is the salary benchmark for your role in the current job market? Has it been a long time since the last pay review? Is your company doing well? Have you successfully wrapped up projects recently? Is it a good time now?

Essentially, reflect on whether you deserve a pay rise.

Adecco Singapore country manager Betul Genc says this may include the following: consistently over-exceeding your targets or having in-demand skill sets. Factors also include taking pay cuts or salary freezes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Next, research and seek opinions from others in similar fields to gauge whether your package is within acceptable market range, advises Ms Genc. “Depending on your organisation’s appraisal requirements, self-assess your key performance indicators, achievements, competency level, corporate values and development.”

In other words, do your homework to support your case.

There are many salary guides and calculators available online to help you learn about the rough pay range for your position.

With this in mind, you can then get a better idea of how much to ask for.

Depending on your reasons, this would probably be between 3 per cent and 20 per cent. The higher the percentage you want, the better your reasons should be, say observers.

Mr David Blasco, general manager at recruitment firm Randstad Singapore, suggests asking a mentor from the same career and industry. “They are more likely to give you an accurate figure of what other companies are offering for someone with similar experience and skills as you.”

Next, review your recent accomplishments. Consistently hitting targets, delivering projects ahead of schedule, winning top awards or taking on extra responsibilities are often grounds for an increment. Make a list of these, with specific examples.

After that, consider if it is the right time to ask your boss for a meeting.