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I have been working for a company in Australia for a year now. I have achieved pretty good results in this year, and my manager has commended me in front of others several times.

Today, he voluntarily called me for a meeting and went through my achievements and subsequently offered me a pay raise as a thank-you. However, the raise was too little (2%) and I don't really feel positive at all. In fact, I feel angry as I was planning to any ask for a raise in the near future and now feel that his step overturned the table.

Not sure what to do. Usually a raise in our company is between 5-15%.

What is the best way to ask for more, especially that I don't need to convince him about my high achievements.

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  • Did you have the chance to negotiate during your review?
    – imsmn
    Jul 12 at 9:19
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    If you actually found out that all your colleagues got 1%, would you suddenly be happy? Comparing yourself to others is not a leverage for negotiation. Capitalism has no monetary value on "fairness".
    – Nelson
    Jul 12 at 10:17
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    Why do you think that 5 to 15% is usual? It's rather high for a period of quite low inflation.
    – Simon B
    Jul 12 at 11:27
  • Have you already accepted the proposed 2% pay raise, and is it already put in writing, or do you still have opportunities for negotiation?
    – Jeroen
    Jul 12 at 11:53
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    @SimonB, the general rate of inflation doesn't factor the development of his particular skills and experience at this firm.
    – Steve
    Jul 12 at 12:00
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You go and ask for a raise like you would have without getting the 2%. Call a meeting with your manager and ask him what the requirements are to get a more significant raise. Assure him you appreciate his initiative, but you hoped for more, because of stellar performance in project x y and z.

Never justify a raise "because others got it, too". Make it about you and your performance. Be prepared to hear a "no", or a "2% is the best I can do, don't be ungrateful". But demand a roadmap. What has to happen that you can get the raise you are aiming for, and when can that happen? Make the goals measurable and specific, ideally schedule them already. Put all this in writing. Verbal agreements are often "forgotten".

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Would be nice if you could elaborate better on "Usually a raise in our company is between 5-15%.".

As a general opinion, I'd often say that "someone feeling unappreciated for not getting a raise on the first year" is an absurd complaint. In industries I've worked or known people, either:

  1. Nobody gets a discretionary raise within their first year (exceptions for people who receive offers to change jobs, or who have a stellar performance, to the point he's working for five very good employees.

  2. If there is an expected yearly raise, so everybody gets one every year with no prejudice to inflation correction law-mandated raises or discretionary raises, then the raise is in the range of 1% to 3%, with a 5% value being a once in a lifetime recognition that you are doing great (and probably others are doing bad).

  3. You get a somewhat expected promotion. Think intern becoming engineer or "junior analyst" becoming "analyst" or "senior analyst". This happens when you are basically hired under some special probation, in other words, the company hires lots of people on a low salary, fires most of them but gives significant raises to keep the actual (hard to find) good ones.

So first you need to know which case is yours. Then you need to actually know how salaries work in your company. Is there a clear-cut policy on how much someone's salaries should change over time and promotions? Some companies have rules stating that nobody can receive a promotion in less than X time and you may have already been hired at the top of your payment bracket.

Then, there are plenty of answers on this site about asking for a raise. And a lot of people recommending that if you want to get paid more, you should switch jobs.

Also, in general, if you accept a job, it is understood that you are satisfied with the payment you'll be receiving in the short term, obviously, you can aim for more in the medium to long term, but one year is short term. Think as well if the achievements you've made during this year are actually the results of your skill and dedication, and not the effect of support and luck. Sometimes praising your job makes your boss look good as well, not just you.

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What is the best way to ask for more

"Steve, I'm looking for about a 20% raise. What do you think?"

(Regarding the 2% raise "offer", it's so silly that you'd just ignore it as if it never happened.)

Do note that if you don't get the salary you want, the only other option is to move along to another job, as mentioned endlessly on this site.

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  • I would maybe add - I appreciate your proposed increase of 2%,but I was expecting 15-20% given the difference from where I'm at to what's commensurate to the role... But yes. All roads point to search elsewhere
    – schizoid04
    Jul 12 at 17:25
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    indeed furthermore, you never deal in percentages. that's an employer trick. you just state the figure you want.
    – Fattie
    Jul 12 at 18:51
  • That's a great point as well. 30% raise isn't nearly as impressive as it sounds if you're 60% below market rate
    – schizoid04
    Jul 12 at 21:15
  • Indeed, never talk "percentages" regarding salary :O
    – Fattie
    Jul 13 at 12:19
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What is the best way to ask for more, especially that I don't need to convince him about my high achievements.

My first advice is to go to your boss and tell him that others gotten 5-15% raises while you only got 2% and would like an explanation as to why. Listen to what he says, and if he brings up any performance issues, bring up the achievement list. Prepare the list before going into the meeting.

It's a typical problem within the work world that people feel they are underpaid. It's not new and certainly not the first time such an issue is brought up in your company or anywhere else. The typical step is that what you get paid going into the job will be the basis of all your pay raises within the company. The way the company look at it is they pay you X dollars, and from day 1 to now, you achieved X% above that. So if you ask for 20k more, that's like a massive pay bump that they probably wouldn't do. However, being hired into a company, you get that base pay rate then going up slightly is a good thing.

The typical thing to do is first tell your boss what you expect, find out how to meet those expectations, and then finally if all fails, which likely it will, then you need to find a new job with the amount you expect.

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    One does not complain about OTHER EMPLOYEES PAY OR RAISES as justification for their own.
    – schizoid04
    Jul 12 at 17:23
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    Horrible advice. Don't use other employee's salary as justification for your own. Maybe compare to the market, but the point is your value vs what they are paying. Other employees are irrelevant.
    – JohnFx
    Jul 12 at 18:53
  • "Don't use other employee's salary as justification for your own." - Is great advice. If you do attempt to justify a raise based on another employee's salary, it only makes sense that your salary can likewise be decrease, to match that have another employee if your own performance is closer to theirs's.
    – Donald
    Jul 12 at 19:34

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