No salary increase? Ask for benefits instead
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My boss said no to my raise – how can we compromise?

30 Aug 2017

It’s common practice in many industries to offer employees an annual raise. But, if you didn’t get a salary increase this year, what should you ask for instead? Hays’ Nick Deligiannis has the answer.

If you’re one of the many professionals who has been disappointed by their salary increase, or lack thereof, don’t be discouraged. Be proactive instead by continuing the conversation and asking your boss about non-financial benefits.

While it’s generally accepted that permanent employees receive an annual pay rise in recognition of the enhanced value their experience brings to the organisation, this custom has waned in recent years. For some, today’s annual salary increase is smaller than it has ever been, while for others it is non-existent.

This isn’t the end of the road when it comes to the annual reassessment of your worth, however. There are non-financial elements you can raise with your boss when a pay rise is minimal or non-existent – and they won’t break a tight budget.

Ask for progression and development to help support your career goals

For most jobseekers today, career progression is hugely important. So, why not ask your boss to support you in helping you achieve your long-term goals by putting together a career progression pathway?

When thinking about your career in the year ahead, what challenging or exciting new work could you undertake to expand your skills? Is there an opportunity to learn additional digital skills for instance? What skills do you know your team needs but is currently lacking?

These are questions you can ask yourself, and then your boss in a one-on-one meeting. On-the-job training, mentorships and courses can provide you with skills development while also providing the organisation with the opportunity to cover any skill gaps in order to meet its goals for the year ahead.

This isn’t to suggest you should upskill in whatever area your boss identifies without considering your personal career ambitions. Instead, know what you want before going into the meeting and find the common ground so a win-win progression and development pathway can be put in place for you.

Ask for flexible working

Another non-financial benefit you can ask for is the opportunity to work flexibly, whether that be in terms of flexible working hours, the ability to work from home or perhaps even job-sharing.

A healthy work-life balance is an incredibly important priority for employees nowadays. Any good boss will be aware of this. Not all workplaces can offer flexible working but, for those that can, it is a strong benefit you could gain in lieu of a salary increase.

Ask for additional days off

Another is additional days off work. If time is money, an extra couple of days off each year could be a suitable middle ground for both you and your employer.

Remember, salary is not the only way to recognise your value. Skills development, a career progression pathway, flexible working options or additional days off can have positive long-term consequences on either your career or your health and wellbeing. Many people would agree that this is worth more in the long run than a minimal salary increase here and now.

By Nick Deligiannis

Nick Deligiannis is the managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand. Prior to joining Hays in 1993, Deligiannis had a background in human resource management and marketing, and formal qualifications in psychology.

A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.

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