For a salaried individual, it is really important to focus on the year on year raise. Most of the time we get an average raise despite our best performance. A few years of average raise can translate into additional years of work before which we can lead a ‘Self Financed Life’. Over the last decade, I could manage an annualised increase of 20%, which is not too good nor bad, but I could have a lot more in the initial stages to grow faster. Its always necessary to maximise our salaries at every given opportunity. Instead we sometimes get caught up in how others are doing especially our colleagues.
It’s human nature to dig into others personal lives be it how much they earn, how they spend, where did they go for vacations, what were their recent purchases etc. In a corporate environment it’s usually the topic of salary that dominates most discussions. When a new member joins the team, others would like to know how much he/she is being paid. It’s partly insecurity and partly inquisitiveness that leads us to probe others salary. Knowing our coworkers salary is really a curse.
A couple of years into my career, I figured out that my pay was nowhere close to the industry standard. That made me wonder how much my coworkers were paid? Ultimately this road leads to nowhere. Knowing a colleague’s salary was of no use because all of our job profiles were different, we had different skill sets, experiences, we have different aspirations at both work and in life. On the downside thanks to human psychology an uncomfortable barrier is built among coworkers and it makes working in a team a difficult proposition. At the end of the day, it’s best to control our own destiny and focus on increasing our salaries.
A Few Pointers to Get Started
- It’s kind of easy to stand up and say we deserve more, but are we really exceptional at work? We all believe so, but the bare minimum should be to build up credentials through thorough execution and by maintaining high quality standards.
- Documenting all of the achievements regularly helps. We often forget a lot of important points when we fill out our annual performance forms. Along with this there is a need to learn to blow our own trumpet in a subtle manner.
- Most budgets including that of the annual pay raise are frozen by November, hence ensure to engage with your Manager before this period.
- Some companies have a salary band that is restrictive while others may have free hand. If you’re within a band, then check how to move on to the next. Look into what are the skill sets, experiences, knowledge areas to conquer to move ahead.
- When a new person joins be it in a lower or higher position, observe and identify areas where you can learn and improve. It could be as simple as being humble or being a better speaker or being a subject matter expert.
- Having a mentor at office may not increase your chances of earning more, but he/she can definitely guide you towards an alternate career path where you could earn more. An example could be moving from a technical role to a sales or commercial role.
- Be open about your expectations, this way your Manager can give you a direct response rather than a vague or hypothetical answer. You would also know if the company can meet your expectations or not.
- Prepare yourself for negotiations. This is where most of us fail, either we are too timid or too aggressive, there is often a thin line of being assertive and staying in control which requires practice.
- Use websites such as Glassdoor and PayScale to know the industry standard for a particular position, experience, age, industry and location. Not many companies want to be the top paymasters, instead they settle at 50 to 75 percentile of the industry standard range for majority of its positions. Hence factor this into your negotiations.
- If you have tried all options, then be prepared to move on without burning down bridges. Most often companies will welcome back previous employees. I left my current organisation and returned back after 3 years with a good position and raise.
It’s best to focus on our salaries and increase it rather than pondering over someone’s else. This helps us stay focused and determined to reach a certain salary figure, which ultimately inches us closer towards financial independence.
Read this article on Salary Negotiations.