How to ask for a pay rise (and be successful)

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If you want to ask for a pay rise, you have to be prepared. Here are our tips for success.

Of course everyone would like to make more money than they’re currently earning. Unfortunately, money isn’t thrown at employees and good things don’t always come to those who wait. The Australian mining industry is highly competitive and performance means everything. So if you don’t want to wait for once-a-year raises or the odd bonus, you’re going to have to take the bull by the horns and ask for a pay rise.

Not everyone is confident asking for more money and not all people are good at negotiation, so if you want to increase your salary, you need to prepare thoroughly to be successful. Here’s how.

Do your research

Research the market pay rates for your job. If you’re asking for something way above your market worth, then you’re on a hiding to nothing. An exploration geologist, for example, could earn $90,000-$200,000, depending on their experience and years in the industry. If you’re relatively new to mining, you’ll be at the bottom end of the scale.

The best way to determine your worth is to use a range of resources. There are websites that can do the calculations for you.

Look at job advertisements with similar roles on employment websites and at those advertised through agencies and by companies themselves. Industry associations often do salary surveys that can helpful, as well as networking with peers in similar sectors. Knowledge is power and if you can show you’re not getting the appropriate salary for your role and responsibilities, you’re off to a good start.

Pick the right time and set up a meeting

This is a formal business meeting, so you need to treat it as such. Don’t be tempted to grab a few minutes in the hallway or at lunch. Instead, make an appointment to discuss your salary. It’s usually best to let your supervisor or manager know in advance that this is about your remuneration. They may want to do their own research or talk to HR before the meeting. If they’re not prepared, you might find they can’t offer you anything.

Also be aware of your company’s practices. If they only offer pay rises once a year, at the same time as the annual increase, for example, it may be better to wait until nearer that time. Is there a hiring freeze on? Or a wage freeze? Picking your moment, such as when the company has returned record profits, rather than when it is negotiating a takeover or investing in a new project, might mean you’ve got more chance of getting a pay rise.

Prepare your evidence

If you’re serious about presenting your case for a raise, you need to prepare properly. Even if your salary is competitive, if you want it to increase, you need to demonstrate why you deserve it. And for this you need hard evidence. You need to show, preferably using data, how you have contributed to the company’s success.

What accomplishments and contributions have you made? How have you gone above and beyond in your role? What additional responsibilities have you taken on? Have you implemented efficiencies? Exceeded goals? Developed staff? Be straightforward with your boss and explain exactly why you feel a pay rise is in order and back it up with appropriate evidence.

What if you don’t get a raise?

If your boss tells you they cannot give you a pay rise at the moment, the best thing to do is ask for feedback. It could be that there are financial considerations, that the company intends to review salaries later in the year, or that you haven’t adequately demonstrated performance worthy of a raise.

In that case, ask your boss what they think you can improve. What do you need to do in the next months or year to earn a bigger salary? Once you know what steps you need to take in order to confidently make another bid down the track.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get

While some companies are on the front foot when it comes to rewarding excellent performance, many are not. So if you believe you deserve that all-important pay rise, you need to build your case and ask for it. It could turn out to be easier than you think.

Lindsay McPhee
Mining People International