Don't you just wish asking for a raise was as easily done as said?
Negotiating a salary increase can be extremely uncomfortable. Understandably so, as Filipinos are generally non-confrontational.
But there's no shame and harm in asking for something you deserve. Besides, negotiation is a must-have skill—not just for a salary increase but also for other aspects of your career and personal life.
However, you can't go ahead at the negotiating table and just wing it. You have to be both prepared and strategic.
Read on to learn how to navigate this side of the corporate world.
How to Ask for a Salary Increase: Smart Tips to Keep in Mind
Asking for what you think you deserve is trickier than it seems, so tread carefully. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
✔️ Check Your Company Policy on Salary Increase
One of the first steps on how to ask for a salary increase is knowing your employer's policy and practices on salary adjustments. If this information isn't in the employee handbook, consult your HR department.
Find out how strict or flexible your company is when it comes to salaries and raises. You might need to meet certain company guidelines to qualify for a salary increase. Or there may be documents to prepare and procedures to go through.
Whatever the company rules are, make sure to follow them so that you'll be considered for a raise.
Read more: 6 Most Fulfilling Jobs in the World
✔️ Know What You Want—and Deserve
While some companies do give employees a significant salary increase without them asking for it, this is an exception rather than the rule.
Do you believe you deserve a raise? You have to put it out there and negotiate. It's easier to get exactly what you want if you have an exact amount ready during your negotiations.
How much is a reasonable salary increase? Standard annual increases may range between 5% to 10%.
However, you’re negotiating for something you think you deserve. Before you open the discussion with your boss, take into account certain factors, such as your cost of living and the inflation rate. If employee records and evaluations prove that you’re an exceptional contributor, you may ask for an increase between 15% and 25%.
So how to compute a salary increase in the Philippines? For instance, say your current salary is ₱25,000. If you ask for a 15% increase, this is how the computation goes:
- ₱25,000 x .15 = ₱3,750 (amount of salary increase)
- ₱25,000 + ₱3,750 = ₱28,750 (new salary based on the increase)
✔️ Build Up Your Case to Justify a Salary Increase
Once you know the reasonable salary increase to ask for, it's time to gather proof of why you deserve it.
You need evidence of your work performance-related achievements to back up your claim that you're adding value to your company—and therefore worth a salary increase.
Keep track of the following things and record them (ideally on a spreadsheet for easy reference) for use later as talking points in your negotiation for higher pay:
- Past and present accomplishments, particularly the quantifiable ones, such as sales closed, money saved, output increase, etc.
- Commendations from superiors, clients, customers, and other people you're dealing with while doing your job
- Any contributions you've made and tasks you've taken on beyond what your role requires
- Information from your performance reviews such as KPI scores, attendance, and other metrics
- Any successful projects you managed or played a significant role in
✔️ Choose the Right Timing
Timing is everything in negotiating a higher salary. When is a good time to ask for a raise? Consider any of the following events:
- Before or during your performance evaluation - Depending on your company policy, salary appraisals are made either before or after performance reviews. Broaching the idea of a salary increase with your manager beforehand may be a great idea.
- After accomplishing something great at work - Did you just close a big sale or deal? Completed a major project successfully? You're in a favorable position to negotiate higher pay, so don't hesitate to leverage your recent accomplishment. Just be sure it's a result of your own efforts—credit-grabbing might backfire on you.
- A few months before your department's budget is proposed and approved - Give your superiors and HR enough time, like at least two months, to evaluate your salary increase request before your department's budget is set for the next year.
On the other hand, avoid asking for a higher salary during these times and wait for a better time:
- When your company has had a recent layoff or shows signs it's going through a slump
- You missed your performance goals or screwed up in your job
- When your boss (especially if the person owns the company) is stressed out and in a bad mood
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✔️ Negotiate a Raise in Person
You might be tempted to just send a salary increase letter via email. That's more convenient and less awkward than asking for an increase personally. But an email can get buried in your boss's inbox and may not be noticed.
Schedule that all-important conversation with your manager in person, no matter how anxious you may be. Setting a face-to-face meeting shows you're serious about your request. It also enables you to see how your boss will react and respond, so you know how to proceed with your negotiation accordingly.
✔️ Be Rational Rather Than Emotional
Your salary increase negotiation must stay strictly professional and drama-free. Here are a few pointers:
- Stay level-headed. When presenting the whys of your request, appeal to logic rather than emotions.
- Focus on selling your value. Remember, the company is more interested in what you've done to deserve a raise than why you need it.
- Consider your boss's communication style and personality. What works best in persuading your manager? For instance, your boss may prefer a data-driven discussion or a brief, straightforward presentation of your case. Recall those times and base your negotiation strategies on that.
- As much as possible, don't use your long years in service as a justification for an increase. Just because you've stayed with the company and not received any increase for quite a while doesn't automatically mean you should get a higher salary. Loyalty earns you recognition (and a cash or non-cash incentive, if your company is generous), but not a salary increase. However, if your tenure is coupled with consistently stellar performance, you may include it in your negotiation.
- Avoid comparing your salary with those of your colleagues. An employee's compensation is supposedly confidential, and some companies have policies against employees sharing this information with co-workers. Also, you don't want to come across as whiny, so never use inappropriate statements like, "How come this guy has a higher salary than mine?"
✔️ Assert Yourself and Know the Right Words to Say
Your tone and body language matter a lot when negotiating a raise. Choose your words carefully and be mindful of your gestures so that you look assertive and confident without sounding too demanding and entitled.
Here are some scripts on how to ask for a salary increase. Of course, you’ll need to tailor-fit them to your position and industry:
- When opening the conversation on salary increase – “Thank you for meeting with me. I’m more than enthusiastic to help the company achieve its goals. In my current position, I have proven my leadership, earned clients’ trust, and aided the company in reaching its financial goals. With that, I’d like to discuss my request for a salary increase.
- When the negotiation coincides with your evaluation – “Is it okay to discuss the possibility of adjusting/increasing my compensation during my performance review?”
- When justifying the increase based on your performance – “During the first quarter, I led client acquisition and successfully brought in four clients who all signed a one-year contract with us. At the end of the year, these clients’ payments increased our sales by 10%.”
- When you appeal for a salary increment based on industry trends – “Based on my research, the average salary for my job title is (state the amount). Looking at my contribution to the business and years of experience, an increase of 15% is just right.”
While you’re at it, avoid touching on subjects that may weaken your argument. These include the following:
- Self-pity or self-rejection – Remember, you’re not at your employer’s mercy. You’re a partner. Think of yourself as a supplier who’s just raising the cost of their service. Avoid words that may diminish your worth as an employee, such as “I know I’m not as experienced as you’d like me to be.” or “I hope I’m not being a bother.” As long as it’s justified, you have every right to ask for a salary increase.
- Threats of leaving – Avoid statements like “I will leave this company if I don’t receive a raise.” Giving an ultimatum is not the way to go if you’re wondering how to demand a salary increase—it exudes a sense of entitlement. You have to remember that you’re replaceable.
- Debts – How to ask for an increase in salary without being an oversharer? Don’t bring up your debts. Yes, these financial obligations may be motivations for asking for a salary increase, but using them as an argument will give your boss the impression that you have bad money management skills.
- Words relating to uncertainty – Words such as “think,” might,” “only,” “feel,” and “just” don’t sound confident, thus weakening your position.
✔️ Follow Up on Your Request
Follow-ups are an important part of your appeal for salary increment. If you and your boss agreed on a date to discuss the matter, wait until the said date. Otherwise, you may want to follow up after three to four weeks.
Ideally, you should follow up on your request in person. Knowing that your boss is busy, scheduling a meeting with them is a must. Here’s a sample script to help you with your conservation with your supervisor.
“Thank you, (boss’s name) for agreeing to meet with me again. I just wanted to follow up on our previous conversation about the possibility of an increase in my salary. Has a decision been made yet? Any update on this will be highly appreciated.”
Your follow-up should be brief since you and your boss are both busy people. Also, pick the right time. Monday isn’t always ideal since your boss may be busy organizing their thoughts and plans for the week ahead.
The same applies to Friday. No one wants to talk about work as the work week ends. As such, the days in the middle may be the best choices.
✔️ Have Backup Options
Knowing how to negotiate a salary increase is also knowing that the answer is not always favorable. Be prepared to get a "no" for an answer. That’s okay, especially if that “no” is justified or even comes with some alternatives.
If your employer can't give you the salary increase that you want, they may agree on a compromise, like non-monetary benefits that can improve your work life. Some examples are a work-from-home setup, work schedule adjustment, additional paid leaves, and additional dependents in your company's HMO.
Should leaving be one of your backup options? It’s a decision only you can make. But there are some signs that you need to watch out for:
- You haven’t received an increase despite your stellar performance, tenure, and outstanding work ethic.
- You haven’t received standard raises in years despite the company’s good financial health.
- Your follow-ups have been shelved for months and even years despite having the right justifications for a salary increase.
- You’re promised a salary increase or additional benefits but they’re not duly given to you.
- You’ve been promoted but the promised salary increase isn’t doled out.
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✔️ Express Your Gratitude
In every guide on how to demand a salary increase, there’s one essential thing you shouldn’t forget. In case you receive the good news, send your boss a thank you email immediately. Better yet, talk to them in person.
If there are any missing or unclear details, such as the amount of the salary increase and the effective date, don’t be afraid to ask about them. Request for the written contract as well.
To sum up this guide on how to ask for a salary increase, you have to establish the five Ws and one H (what, when, who, where, why, and how) before you begin and during your salary increase negotiation.
- What salary increase is acceptable to you
- When the right timing is
- Who you should be talking to
- Where you should be doing it (personally in the office rather than through email)
- Why you deserve a raise
- How to negotiate salary increase professionally, logically, assertively, and confidently
Are you ready now to ask for a higher salary? Good luck! Whether your salary negotiation in the Philippines results in approval or rejection, always stay positive!
-  PH Inflation Rate Continues to Drop (Philippine Information Agency, 2023)
-  How to Master the Art of Negotiation (Investopedia, 2022)
-  Experts Explain Why Mondays Are So Psychologically Hard (HuffPost, 2020)