When is the right time to negotiate a pay rise?

It is possible to ask for a salary rise but the way you get it is different. PHOTO/Joseph Kiggundu

Money plays a huge part about how we feel about the jobs that occupy such large chunks of our time. Yet employees feel undervalued in a monetary way. But how can someone negotiate their pay up?

Money is generally a difficult subject but to ask for it is more of a challenge. On one end, some get good performance feedback but this does not reflect in monetary terms.

The Covid- 19 pandemic across the globe drove unemployment rates worldwide to levels unseen in generations.

 This took effect as many became unemployed and others’ paychecks were slashed.

 To curb the shocks of the pandemic, a number of governments took novel steps to protect workers that had become unemployed had risen drastically in many countries especially among the low and middle income earners.

In order efforts to address the health emergency brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, countries across the G20 adopted a vast range of emergency measures aimed at supporting firms’ liquidity in the face of mandatory business restrictions, quarantines and plummeting activity and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on jobs and incomes in G20 economies, according to ILO-OECD paper prepared at the request of G20 Leaders Saudi Arabia’s G20 Presidency 2020.

During the initial weeks and months of the Covid-19 crisis, G20 countries moved rapidly to provide unprecedented levels of emergency support to keep households and companies afloat, protect jobs and incomes and prevent the economy from collapsing.

“As the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic subsides and G20 countries increasingly turn to re-opening their economies, policymakers will need to maintain this agility, modifying and adjusting the composition and characteristics of support packages, targeting support where it is needed most, and encouraging a return to work where possible,” reads the report in part.

It is further indicated that workers in diverse forms of employment that differ from full-time wage and salary work with a permanent contract – such as self-employed workers, those on temporary, part-time contracts and informal economy workers, have been highly exposed to the job and income losses prompted by the pandemic.

Drop in earnings

In the United Kingdom, for example, 75 per cent of the self-employed report having experienced a drop in earnings during the period, compared to less than 25 percent of salaried workers.

During the 17th Uganda Economic Update (UEU), From Crisis to Green Resilient Growth: Investing in Sustainable Land Management and Climate-Smart Agriculture meeting, it was indicated that the Covid-19 shock caused a sharp contraction of the economy to its slowest pace in three decades.

Household incomes fell when firms closed and jobs were lost, particularly in the urban informal sector.

It further indicated that the country’s Gross Domestic Product contracted by 1.1 percent in 2020, and is estimated to have recovered to 3.3 percent during the 2021 fiscal year.

Asking for a pay rise

For those who retained their jobs or need a pay rise to cope with the standard of living; the question is how do you ask for a pay rise and you get it?

 Mr Solomon Muhiirwa, executive director, WATU Limited & HR consultant, says it is possible to ask for a salary rise but the way you get it is something totally different.

“The one asking for a salary rise needs to ask himself this question. Apart from having disposable income, what problem am I trying to solve or what problem is going to be solved when my salary is raised,” Muhiirwa says.

That is the question you need to answer. This means your answer should address the above question of what problem am I going to be solving if I get a salary rise.

“Your answer should not be just something to do with just having disposable income. When a company considers giving you a rise, it will give it to you based on certain factors not because you need disposable income,” he explains.

These factors may include; inflation; Has the inflation got so bad in the country that things are just not adding up? Are the reasons for pay rise due to pay disparity  may be between you and your colleagues or you and your peers (the ones you are with at the same level or is there like a salary disparity which is just awkward?

In addition, you could talk about the value that you bring into the business. “What value are you bringing into the organisation? He asks.

“It is important to note that businesses will only and only give you a rise if they see a value that you are bringing into the organisation or business.

They can never give you money just like that.  This never happens just like that. 

You need to make sure that you can attach the value that you bring to the organisation. Then there they can possibly consider,” Muhiirwa adds.

Timing is everything

Silvester Bagenda, human resource practitioner, says your timing needs to be spot on.

 For instance, before the new financial year, when your boss is not in a bad mood and before performance appraisals (to allow your boss to think about it when appraising you).

 “Before asking for an increment, you need to be sure (have facts) whether you really deserve it or not.  You need to take into consideration how long you have worked to deserve the increment and does your work performance warrant a pay raise?” She asks.

 In addition, you have to consider the financial status of your boss (or company) to allow for an increment (profits) and the company’s policies about employee salary increment performance based or how long one has served.

 She further elaborates that you need to have a solid background about the possibilities before approaching your boss.


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