The post-pandemic years have seen a seismic shift in the job market. Many employees have reevaluated their career priorities and are seeking new opportunities, leading to increased competition among employers to retain top talent.
This phenomenon is known as the Great Reshuffle — a more salesy name for the otherwise-called Great Resignation — and is changing how and when we seek work. It’s an environment that’s impacting almost everyone in the job market: A recent study by an analytics company known for its polls displayed that around 40% of German workers are actively seeking employment — even if they got a job already.
As the Great Reshuffle carries on, it's important to think about how to navigate it successfully. In this blog post, we'll show you how to navigate the Great Reshuffle successfully by asking for a raise, a critical step in securing your worth and future prospects as a tech worker.
Why Knowing (And Telling) One’s Worth is Essential
Even if many workers don’t take steps to secure their worth, most of them feel underpaid. Recent research by a recruitment firm threw away a startling fact: In certain European job markets, more than 50% of employees consider they aren’t paid enough. So, if you're among the majority feeling undervalued or underpaid, it's time to dust off your negotiation skills and ask for that pay bump you deserve. We'll cover key strategies for timing your request, researching and preparing, building a persuasive case, and handling the conversation with your employer.
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of requesting a raise during the Great Reshuffle, it's important to emphasise the value of being prepared for a salary negotiation at all times. Waiting until a week before your annual review or when you feel undervalued is not the best approach and will not set you up for success. Instead, you should be gathering data and building a case for your value to the company from the start.
Setting expectations with your employer from the beginning can also be beneficial. Letting them know that you have specific targets in mind and that you will want to discuss a salary increase based on those targets can set you up for success. Waiting until the end of the year may result in a lack of available budget for salary increases, leaving you fighting for scraps.
By being proactive and preparing ahead of time, you can increase your chances of receiving the salary increase you desire. Don't be afraid to ask for a raise before your annual review or when the budget is available — you may be surprised by the positive response from your employer.
Side note: Raise the topic of a salary increase long before you pose the question.
1. The Great Reshuffle: Context and Key Stats
The Great Reshuffle has profoundly impacted the global job market, with the European workforce spearheading the perceptions around what it should take to earn a pay cheque. According to a recent survey by Microsoft, over 50% of the Gen Z and Millennial workforce is considering leaving their current job this year. A survey conducted by a mental health organisation found that only 21% of the participants “felt that they were paid what they deserved.” Additionally, that same survey found that 70% of workers actively seek new job opportunities. Moreover, a recent European Data Journalism Network study revealed that the job vacancy rate in Europe is at an all-time high, implying that workers are not exactly enthusiastic about taking a job just because it shows up.
This shift in the job market has created a talent shortage, leading to increased competition among employers to retain top talent. As a result, companies are offering more flexible work arrangements, higher salaries, and other perks to attract and retain employees.
With so many job seekers on the move, being strategic in your career decisions is more important than ever. Researching and planning your next move can give you a competitive advantage and increase your chances of landing your dream job.
2. Timing Your Request for a Raise
Timing is everything when it comes to asking for a raise during the Great Reshuffle. The first step is to do some research and find out when your company's fiscal year starts and ends. It's generally a good idea to request a raise at the start of the fiscal year when budgets are being set and funds are available.
Another good time to ask for a raise is after you've completed a major project or achieved a significant milestone. This demonstrates your value to the company and gives you leverage in the negotiation.
3. Research and Preparation
Before asking for a raise, it's essential to do thorough research. While websites like Glassdoor and Payscale can give you an idea of the market rate for your position, they might not be accurate for more senior roles. You should also consider the specific responsibilities and requirements of your role to determine what you should be paid. Additionally, it's crucial to understand how much your colleagues or team members are making and what percentage increase they generally receive. This information can help you build a strong case for why you deserve a raise and how much of an increase you should be asking for.
Next, think about your performance and contributions to the company and how they have positively impacted the business. Make a list of your achievements, including any significant projects you've completed, awards you've received, and positive feedback from colleagues or managers. It's important to tie your achievements to business growth or impact, such as revenue growth, cost savings, or improved processes. By demonstrating how your work has benefited the company, you'll have a stronger case for a raise.
Demonstrating that you've done your research and are serious about your request for a raise will make you more likely to gain your boss's attention and respect. Coming to the table with a well-prepared and thought-out case can make all the difference in securing that much-deserved salary increase.
4. Building a Persuasive Case
When asking for a raise, you must develop a persuasive case by addressing any skill development you've undertaken. For example, a software developer might highlight a project they led that resulted in a significant increase in revenue or productivity for the company. They could also mention how they've upskilled themselves in the latest technology, making them an even more valuable asset to the company.
A persuasive case also involves being strategic in your approach. For instance, you might want to time your request after you've completed a major project. Keep in mind your goal is to show that you're a valuable asset to the company and that a raise is justified. By building a persuasive case, you can increase your chances of a successful negotiation.
Side note: If possible, back your case with clear data. I worked on X (project) and Y (% increase) happened. Your manager often has to speak to their manager or HR. Having data will make it easier to convince all parties.
5. Demonstrating Value to the Company
Putting together a solid argument is essential when seeking a salary increase. This includes demonstrating your value to the company by quantifying your achievements and highlighting your contributions, as well as addressing any skill development you've undertaken. One of the most effective ways to do this is by using specific data points and metrics to showcase the impact you've had on the company. For example, if you've helped increase sales or revenue, saved the company money, or improved efficiency, be sure to accentuate these accomplishments and the concrete results they've produced.
Additionally, stressing your willingness and ability to take on more responsibilities and contribute to the company's growth can further strengthen your case for a higher salary. Taking on more responsibilities is a strong argument for a pay increase. If you have been consistently taking on new tasks or projects, or have been given more responsibility, make sure to highlight this in your case for a raise. Be specific about the extra duties you have taken on and how they have contributed to the success of the company. This shows your boss that you are not only capable of handling more but that you are committed to the growth of the company and are willing to take on additional responsibilities in exchange for a higher salary.
Another effective strategy is to underscore your unique skills and expertise. For example, if you're the only one in the company who is proficient in handling the company database or specific software, make sure to emphasise how this skill has contributed to the success of the company. Highlight how your skills and expertise differ from your colleagues and how they bring added value to the company. This will show your boss that you're not just another employee, but rather someone who has unique and valuable contributions to offer.
Sharing positive feedback can also be a particularly persuasive tactic. If you've received positive feedback from colleagues or clients, share this with your boss as evidence of your valuable contributions to the company. This can be particularly effective if the feedback is from someone in a senior or influential position.
6. Addressing Skill Development
Addressing skill development is another critical aspect of building a compelling case for a salary increase. Emphasise how you've developed your skills and expertise since joining the company and how this has contributed to your performance and success. For example, if you've introduced a new tool or process that has improved workflow or solved a roadblock in development, highlight how this has made an impact on the company's bottom line.
Point out any relevant courses or certifications you've completed that have directly benefited the company. For instance, if you've learned a new programming language that's helped you complete a project more efficiently, point out how this has saved the company time and money.
Additionally, discuss how you plan to continue developing your skills in the future and how this will benefit the company. For example, if you plan to attend a conference or workshop that will help you stay up-to-date on industry trends, explain how this will allow you to bring new insights and ideas to the company. Spotlight your willingness to take on new challenges and learn new things, and how this will make you an even more valuable asset to the company.
7. How much to ask for?
One of the biggest questions when it comes to asking for a pay raise is how much to ask for. There are several factors to consider when determining your desired salary increase. First, it's important to take into account inflation rates. According to a report by the official agency Eurostat, Inflation in Europe has recently ranged from 7–10%, so you'll want to aim for a salary increase higher than that in order to truly see a difference in your take-home pay.
Tax rates also play a role in determining how much of a pay raise you'll actually feel. In some countries, such as Germany, tax rates can reach up to 42%. This means that you may need a larger pay increase than you initially thought in order to see a noticeable difference in your net pay.
Third, you should consider industry standards and year-on-year salary increases for your role. Do some research on websites like Glassdoor or Payscale to see what others in your field are making and what the average salary increase is for someone in your position. This can help you negotiate for a fair and reasonable salary increase.
It's important to take into account any additional responsibilities or workload you've taken on since your last salary increase. If you're now covering the work of two developers or an entire team, you may be justified in asking for a higher pay increase based on the increased responsibilities.
Lastly, consider your own unique skill set and expertise. If you have specialized knowledge or experience that sets you apart from your colleagues and brings added value to the company, you may be justified in asking for a higher pay increase.
Overall, when determining how much to ask for, it's important to consider a variety of factors, including inflation rates, tax rates, industry standards, workload, and responsibilities. By doing this research and taking all of these factors into account, you can negotiate for a fair and reasonable salary increase that reflects your value to the company.
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8. Handling the Conversation
When asking for a raise, it's necessary to handle the conversation professionally and confidently. Start by scheduling a meeting with your manager to discuss your salary. Be clear and concise in your request, and be prepared to negotiate.
Keep going even if your manager says no to your initial request. Instead, ask what you need to do to earn a raise in the future. This strongly suggests that you're committed to the company and willing to work hard to achieve your goals.
Asking for a raise can be nerve-wracking, but it's essential to approach the conversation professionally and confidently. Here are some tips to help you handle the conversation:
- Schedule a meeting: When you're ready to ask for a raise, schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss your salary. Make sure to choose a time when your manager is not too busy or stressed.
- Be clear and concise: Explain why you think you deserve a raise and provide evidence to back up your claim. Highlight your achievements, skills, and contributions to the company.
- Be prepared to negotiate: Your manager may not agree to your initial request, so be open to compromise. Consider what you're willing to accept in terms of a salary increase or other benefits.
- Expect your manager to take your request to HR: Be prepared for your manager to take your request to HR for approval. This is a normal part of the process, so don't take it as a rejection.
- Anticipate objections: Your manager may say that there's no budget for a raise, or that you need to demonstrate more value to the company before you can receive a raise. If this happens, don't give up. Instead, ask what you need to do to earn a raise in the future.
- Be ready to discuss salary expectations: Your manager will likely ask you how much you're looking for. Be prepared with a specific figure, and be prepared to justify it based on your skills, experience, and contributions.
- Consider other benefits: Don't just focus on salary. Consider other benefits, such as additional vacation time, flexible work hours, or training and development opportunities (i.e. Will you pay for me to go to conferences? Will you have a work-from-home setup?)
- Know when to call their bluff: If your manager or HR says that there's no budget for a raise, don't take their word for it. Ask for specific reasons and supporting evidence. If you believe they are bluffing, don't be afraid to push back. It can be the case that your manager is young and not confident in bringing your case to HR. If you recognise this, you’ll have to push extra hard and maybe even leverage other job offers to show how important this is to you.
- Know when to concede: If you've done everything you can to make your case and your manager or HR still says no, know when to concede. Refrain from burning bridges or damaging your relationship with your manager or HR. Instead, ask for feedback on how you can improve and what you can do to earn a raise in the future.
- Start the conversation: When starting the conversation, focus on your contributions to the company and your desire to continue growing and contributing. Express your appreciation for the company and your willingness to work hard to achieve your goals. Pivot the conversation towards your request for a raise by highlighting your achievements and contributions to the company.
Remember, asking for a raise is a normal and expected part of any career. By approaching the conversation professionally and confidently, you increase your chances of success.
The Great Reshuffle has created a talent shortage. As it continues to reshape the job market, employees have a unique opportunity to take control of their careers and negotiate for the compensation and benefits they deserve. Asking for a raise can be daunting, but with the proper preparation, research, and approach, it's possible to build a persuasive case for why you deserve more.
The Great Reshuffle presents a unique opportunity to take charge of your career and ask for a raise. By demonstrating your value to the company, showcasing your exceptional skills and expertise, and addressing skill development, you can position yourself as an invaluable asset during this period of change and uncertainty. Remember, your employer wants to retain top talent just as much as you would like to be recognized and rewarded for your contributions. By having a constructive conversation about salary, you can ensure that both parties benefit and thrive in the post-pandemic landscape.