What to ask for in lieu of a raise

A low pay rise is a blow – try asking for this instead

What to ask for in lieu of a raise

Australia’s Reserve Bank and Treasury may want to see stronger wage growth, but salary raises are moving somewhat glacially from their Covid lows. According to the latest Hays Salary Guide, based on a survey of some 3500 organisations, 72% of human resources employers will increase salaries in their next review, but only 8% will award increases of 3% and above.

For their part, 63% of the HR professionals Hays spoke to say a raise of 3% or more would better reflect their individual performance. So if employers are to retain and attract talent in short supply, they’ll need to have other options up their sleeves in the absence of cash on the table. Which makes this the perfect time to request a few non-salary perks.

A clear pathway

If money is out of the question, why not request an investment of a different sort – in your career? For most skilled professionals, career progression is hugely important, says Eliza Kirkby, regional director of Hays Human Resources.

“Many say the scope for career progression has decreased because of the pandemic and they now want to get their career plan back on track. They’re asking their manager to support them in charting out their progression with the organisation.”

Before talking to your boss, think about where you want to be in 10 years’ time, she advises.

“Then ask for a one-on-one meeting to discuss your ambitions and the promotional pathways available within the organisation. Make sure you gain transparency on the skills and achievements required for each new job or promotion. A manager who supports your long-term career goals can be a huge asset.”

Employers are also increasingly offering upskilling opportunities, so you could ask about the skills the team needs but is currently lacking, says Eliza.

“This isn’t to suggest you should upskill in whatever area your boss identifies without considering your personal career ambitions or skill shortfalls. Instead, know what you want before going into your meeting and find common ground, so a win-win upskilling plan can be put in place.”

Flex appeal

Another common request is for continued regular flexibility. Again, approach your boss with a considered plan - one that balances the benefits of both onsite and remote working.

“This could be hybrid working, or informal flexible working at the line manager’s discretion. Or perhaps the scope to change work hours outside of core business times. Part-time employment, flexible leave options such as purchased leave, fully remote working, compressed working weeks, job sharing and phased retirements are other common flexible working benefits we see.”

Of course none of this escapes the fact you didn’t get more money – but you could ask for it in another form. Common financial perks include a car or car allowance; personal device payment or salary sacrifice; professional memberships; hardware to support working from home – eg headsets, computer monitors, printers; help paying your home WIFI; or additional days off.

Gather your ammo

Ahead of the meeting, arm yourself with evidence to remind your boss what you’ve achieved that warrants reward, and how it benefited the organisation, says Eliza.

Also, do your homework on common benefits on offer for your role, such as in the Hays Salary Guide. But be prepared to negotiate. “There may be some benefits the company can’t offer so be flexible, while keeping in mind the minimum you feel your results are worth.”

In the meeting, frame your request in terms of benefit to the organisation, not only yourself.

Last but not least, have a fallback position. If both your request for a pay rise and non-salary perks have been rejected, you only have two options, says Eliza.

Firstly, you can ask your manager to reassess your salary or benefits in an agreed timeframe.

Secondly, since some rewards require no financial outlay - such as on-the-job upskilling or additional flexibility - it’s not unreasonable to expect at least some of your requests will be met.

If they’re not? It might be time to scan those job vacancy ads…

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