Salary increase: How to get more money from your employer

  | 6 min read

You have to be proactive to get paid more

While some companies offer their employees an automatic salary increase each year, there are many that don’t and require you to take initiative if you want a pay raise. However, talking to your boss about increasing your salary can be incredibly nerve-wrecking, and this, coupled with the fear of rejection prevents many employees from even trying.

But the thing is, if you do not advocate for yourself, you are likely to remain within the same pay grade, until you get promoted or move to another company. So knowing how to confidently talk to your boss about a salary increase is a critical skill that will help you earn more sooner rather than later in your career.

So, what exactly do you have to do?

  1. Know your market value

While you may ‘feel’ that you deserve more money than you are currently earning, the pay raise you want has to ‘make sense’. This means that if most people in your profession and with similar experience are earning TZS 2,000,000/month, then you demanding TZS 4,000,000/month will seem unreasonable to your employer (unless you can justify it with your accomplishments).  In simple terms, the first step to getting a pay raise is to figure out your market value.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a great deal of transparency when it comes to salary in Tanzania, so you will have to play detective. Start by talking to peers in your industry, they probably won’t tell you exactly how much they earn, but they may give you a range.  Another person to talk to is your HR officer, once again, you may not be able to learn the exact salary earned by peers in your company but you can get the average amount.

This may seem like a lot of work, but it will help you figure out what you are worth in the market and so what you can demand. You may be surprised to find that you are overpaid, and like many you may be grossly underpaid.

In addition to salary, you also need to consider the number of people with the same profession in your geographic area. Is your profession incredibly common? Is it easy to replace you? Or is your job highly specialised, and would be a headache to recruit for? This will help you figure out whether you have an upper hand over your boss and can ask for even more money or if you need to ‘humble yourself’ and ask for a small increase.

  1. Is the timing right?

Even though most people ask for salary increases annually (and employers expect this) you should be strategic with when you ask for your raise.

The first thing you need to consider is the financial health of the business. For instance, if your company has been going through financial trouble, and letting go of employees, then maybe it’s not the best time to ask for a raise. However, if your company is doing well, then go for it.

Moreover, you also need to figure out if it’s the right time to talk to your boss. Are they currently under a lot of stress and pressure with a project? Or, are they feeling good about a recent success?

Simply put, timing is everything.

  1. Demonstrate that you are an asset

Even if you are a star employee, you still have to demonstrate to your employer why you deserve a raise.  To do so effectively, go over all the work you have done for the company in the past year and take note of:

  • The projects you successfully accomplished and how they contributed to the business objectives
  • New responsibilities that you shoulder, that you didn’t have the previous year   
  • The positive assessments that you have received and KPIs achieved

All in all, you need to demonstrate to your employer that you are a valuable asset to the company, and will continue to do good work and deserve to be compensated accordingly.

  1. Practice your pitch

Once you’ve got your key accomplishments written, practicing how you will present them to your boss with a friend will help build your confidence. Inform your friend of your boss’s personality ( are they friendly, serious, matter-of-fact etc.? ), so that they can imitate them to the best of their abilities.

  1. Figure out your ‘Plan B’

Often, people don’t think about what they’ll do if they don’t get a raise. Will you quit your job? Continue to work for the company? You need to figure out your next step. If you decide that you can no longer work at the company with your current salary, then you need to start looking for a new job, in case you don’t get the results you want.

  1. Contact your employer

If you’ve worked at the company for about a year or more, then you must know the best way to approach your employer and set up a time to talk about a salary increase. Some employers respond quickly to emails, while others are better to talk to in person. Also, some like for people to communicate directly without beating around the bush, while others prefer an exchange of pleasantries and small talk before getting into the meat of the matter. The lesson here is that it’s in your best interest to communicate with your employer in the way that they prefer.

  1. Ask for feedback

If you don’t get the raise, ask your employer what you can do to enhance your performance and potentially earn the money you want. This will illustrate to your boss that you are committed to self-development.

However, if your boss can’t give you concrete ways that they think you can improve your work, this is an indicator that you may have deserved the raise and your employer isn’t a good leader. If this is the case, you should bide your time and quit once you get a better opportunity.

Don’t sell yourself short

Given the high rate of unemployment in Tanzania, especially amongst the youth, many people are underpaid and are simply ‘grateful to have a job’. However, if you work hard and know that you add value to a company, don’t feel like you don’t have the right to get paid more. Prepare your argument, and approach your employer with confidence. The more you do this, the more money you will earn in the long run.

Iman Lipumba
A digital storyteller, experienced in creating content that improves website visibility on search engines, enhances the user experience, and nurtures brand loyalty. With a background in the social sciences, an expert in researching complex ideas, and communicating them in engaging language to multiple audiences.


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