While New Zealand’s wage growth hit a low of 1.9 per cent in the September 2017 quarter, independent research by specialised recruiter Robert Half reveals that the majority (96 per cent) of New Zealand general hiring managers still plan to attribute salary increases to an average of 27 per cent of their staff in 2018. The average salary increase for New Zealand employees is expected to be eight per cent – significantly higher than the national wage growth average.
Megan Alexander, general manager of Robert Half New Zealand said: “Salary is a key incentive to any employee and many employers understand that awarding pay rises to their top performers is a crucial measure to avoid high staff turnover. While New Zealand workers have had to contend with slow wage growth for quite some time now, many highly skilled professionals are acutely aware of their market value and more likely to leave the organisation if they are offered a more attractive remuneration package elsewhere.”
Of those New Zealand managers who are not planning to award salary increases, 73 per cent say the main reason is their staff’s salaries are already at market rate, and 36 per cent respectively refer to a lack of financial resources or cost reduction, and underperforming staff.
“While there are organisations that do not have the financial resources to offer salary increases, employers need to recognise there are workplace incentives other than financial rewards,” notes Alexander. “Even though salary is still the most attractive element of a remuneration package for many employees, other benefits, such as flexible work hours, additional leave and professional development opportunities are increasingly in demand and an efficient way for companies to reward staff whilst not increasing pay.”
Here are four tips for asking for a pay rise:
“The first step to successfully securing a pay increase is to be prepared. Employees should take the time to build a strong case and be ready to remove any doubts their boss may have,” Megan Alexander added.
1. Know the best time to ask
Timing is everything when it comes to asking for a raise. Often a good time to broach the subject is just after your annual performance review. Sitting down with your manager and reviewing all your recent accomplishments will reinforce the value you bring to the company and help justify your request for a raise. Other than performance reviews, another opportune time is after finishing a big project, so it can be clearly communicated why you are worth the additional pay.
Never spring the topic on your boss – schedule a time to discuss the potential for a raise so he or she can be equally prepared for the conversation.
2. Have solid reasons for requesting a raise
The reasons for asking for a pay raise need to go beyond purely lifestyle motivators, such as wanting more money so you can travel, buying new clothes or paying off student loans.
Give your boss concrete examples of why you deserve a higher salary, such as how your actions have benefitted the company and what the results of your efforts are. If you can prove your impact on the business's bottom line, the conversation will go much smoother.
3. Know what you're worth
Your skills and experience have value in the employment market. To find out what common salary ranges are for your position, read industry publications such as the Robert Half Salary Guide, or consult recruiters and colleagues in your field. Measuring your salary against industry standards will help you gauge how much extra pay you might be entitled to.
4. Consider asking for benefits
Sometimes, companies may not be in a financial position to raise salaries and even after all your best attempts, your manager may still say, "We don’t have the money right now”, so try not to be disheartened. The conversation doesn't necessarily need to end if you have a back-up plan and by asking for additional benefits that don’t require a budget such flexible working arrangements, additional annual leave or professional development opportunities.