Negotiating a Promotion
Illustration: Shane Busato

Negotiating A Promotion

How to successfully ask for a raise

By David Price

Asking for more money from an employer takes technique and those successful can come out ahead both in the eyes of their boss and in the additional pay they enjoy—after all, to management, if you are effectively representing yourself internally, you are capable of doing the same for the company with a client. As the economy continues to pick up, this is a particularly relevant topic and below we have pulled together some tips that we have found effective.

Do your homework
Make sure you know the market thoroughly and what competitors are paying. HR departments will have this information and will have briefed management. Employers will respect that you did your homework as well. You can say something like, “Based on the competitive environment, the market rate is approximately this and I think that is a fair level given my background.”

Understand what you contribute
Think about how you help the company to make money. If you are a source of revenue, think about what ratio could be considered fair in compensation. The outsourcing of market knowledge, language skills, local relationships, and so on you represent is incredibly expensive, so make sure you play up your strengths and how you can impact the bottom line in negotiating.

Make sure you are talking to the right person
Particularly when interviewing for a new position, you may speak with a wide range of people before getting an offer. Be sure to check with HR as to who is the appropriate person is when it comes to salary negotiations.

Don’t make pay your only priority
In interviewing for a new job or in discussing a promotion with a boss, leave salary negotiations until you are quite far along in the process. If you bring it up early, you leave the impression that you are more interested in money than development or in supporting the firm, which hardly leaves a positive impression. Also, if you are further along in the process, management has already seen the value you can add and will be more likely to agree to pay more.

Think about benefits other than pay
It is a lot easier for employers in general to provide perks than to offer a higher salary, so wherever possible see if you can get them to include classes that help you in your job, additional days off, membership in industry organizations, etc., rather than asking for more money. Managers will also be more sympathetic in considering these if they positively impact your performance or help to expand your network and market the company.
It should be noted that Japan is not an economy known for large pay increases. In fact, bear in mind that with price deflation over the past 20 years, people whose pay is unchanged are actually enjoying a higher standard of living. In face of this, many have indeed seen their pay reduced. But if you can make clear what you contribute and demonstrate that what you are asking for is fair, a manager should at least consider your case.

(David Price is a Senior Manager for specialized recruitment firm Robert Half International)

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