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I theoretically had a contract review (salary raise, etc.) on December last year but it was not performed. I was told that it made no sense to do so as for that time I had only been there for half a year. It made sense to me, same initial situation as in here.

The future contract review is December this year. I want to ask about what will the improved conditions be. Well, probably not an exact thing but an approximation. My main concern is that if the conditions don't meet my expectations (by seeing job market and offers received) I would think on moving somewhere else, and I would not want to wait as long as 8 months to do so. I cannot directly ask for a raise as they will tell me "We'll see that on the annual review on December". Is it alright to ask "according to the way things are going (my performance, etc), what are the prospects of my annual review?" or something of the likes? I know an answer can be approximate and in the end be lower than what was first said, but an approximation is still better than nothing at all. This is also similar to the last part.

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  • Don't you think that you asking about your future raise eight months in advance will tell your boss exactly that you "would not want to wait as long as 8 months" if you didn't like the answer?
    – mustaccio
    May 4, 2023 at 18:18
  • Do you have a contract, or not? Does your contract state your pay, how and when it will be reviewed?
    – spuck
    May 4, 2023 at 18:34
  • It states a pay and annually reviewed. The review process is not explained nor mentioned anywhere from what I have seen. @spuck
    – M.K
    May 10, 2023 at 11:13

4 Answers 4

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Is it alright to ask "according to the way things are going (my performance, etc), what are the prospects of my annual review?" or something of the likes?

You can always ask anything you like.

But many companies have formal performance review processes. Those involve HR, budgeting, and a lot of preparation. In appears that your company has such a process each December.

In those companies, it would be unlikely for a manager to conduct an off-cycle performance review so that you can get a jump on your next job if necessary. As a manager, I would never give folks on my team an "approximation" of a future raise. I would always indicate that it must wait for the formal review process.

Instead, you should be less formally discussing your performance regularly with your manager, perhaps during weekly one-on-one meetings. You should seek a sense of "how am I doing" rather than "what will I be getting". My goal in these meetings was always to make sure my team wasn't surprised when performance review time came.

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    Add "what would you need to see from me to help justify a raise and)or promotion" to the questions you might want to periodically ask your manager.
    – keshlam
    May 4, 2023 at 19:07
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Short answer - you can ask.

Longer answer - I doubt you will get an answer that you seek. Almost all managers will say something along the lines of 'We'll see that on the annual review on December' (as you said).

You can during your one-on-ones or quarterly reviews or whatever regular catch-up you have with your management make sure that you are on track with all of your KPIs/Projects/Work so that come performance review time, you are at an Exceeds Expectation (or whatever your equivalent is)

That said - there's no reason why you can't ask for a raise at any time in a Company. Performance reviews or not.

Essentially, make the business case to your management:

  • This is what the Market rate for someone with my Skills/experience is
  • This is the value I bring to the business
  • These are the tasks which I have successfully completed
  • These are your costs if you need to replace me

Now, they might say 'We will wait till performance reviews' - in which case, I would start looking elsewhere - because a company that is invested in you will at least sit down and have the discussion. It may not lead to your preferred outcome, but you may find a compromise you are both happy with.

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    I'd tread very carefully .... sometimes, it could jeopardize your postion. May 4, 2023 at 15:24
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    Agree with most of this. Not the final paragraph, because process for setting/approving raises may require competitive evaluation against your peers, the annual financial report and budget for raises, and other things which your manger simply can not make promises about. You can discuss whether you deserve a raise, but actually getting it and how much may really be unanswerable until then. Unless you are at the point of "if I'm not paid at least $X I'm going to have to start taking competing job offers seriously", you may have to accept "I'll try" as the best answer you are going to get
    – keshlam
    May 4, 2023 at 17:00
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Always remember, your bargaining power is pretty much exclusively driven by what will happen if they say no. If you ask for something and your boss knows nothing you'll still work here if he says no, he'll say no. Guaranteed. If he knows you'll leave but you're cheaper to replace than the amount you're asking for, he'll say no. Guaranteed.

Quite possibly it worked differently in the past. I heard that companies used to want to keep their employees happy. Now they don't. Now they are driven robotically by spreadsheets and want maximum work for minimum cost. You cannot appeal to human factors.

If you have received offers for (let's say a round number) $200,000 and your job is paying you $100,000, you have basically nothing to lose by demanding an immediate raise to not only $200,000 but even $225,000. Sure, they can fire you for asking, but it's not like you'll care, since you can quit your job and go work at the other job. I did exactly this, they laughed at my number, I quit and now I work somewhere else. If you particularly like your job, you could lower your demand by a bit, but money is money.

On the other hand, if you'd have to go and find a new job then you have more to lose. Your risk tolerance level is ultimately up to you, and it depends on how you view the job market - whether you're pretty sure you could get a new job in a couple of months, or not sure at all.

I cannot directly ask for a raise as they will tell me "We'll see that on the annual review on December"

Your boss's job is to pay you as little as he can. Seriously. That's one of the things he gets paid for. That means he will keep feeding you bullshit excuses as long as the bullshit excuses are going to make you stop asking for a raise for a while. Keep this in consideration.

Some companies have pre-set raise schedules. They basically act as a company-wide bullshit excuse and they are inevitably lower than what you could get on the open market. I guarantee you will not get a raise next year either unless it's on the schedule. Then your boss will once again tell you "maybe next year" and you will have waited one and a half years.

If the job market is as good as you say it is, you can walk right up to him and ask for an immediate raise or you'll put in your two week's notice right now. He will say no, then perhaps the two of you will agree on some relatively small concession like: "okay, I will give you a few days to arrange this raise or else I will put in my two weeks notice right then". Maybe he'll come back with half the raise, and then you say: "this is half of what I demanded, give me what I demanded" and he says, "no," and you say "sorry, I'm going to accept the other offer, here is my two weeks notice." Or he says yes, and then you have your raise.

This is how companies treat employees. Companies get very rich by doing this. Don't be afraid to do the same back to them - if you can afford to gamble your job. You say the job market is very good - so I'm assuming you can.

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    Sounds like “In business, you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” May 4, 2023 at 20:26
  • @chux-ReinstateMonica and what you negotiate is determined by what you gamble. The OP sounds like they're in a good position and hence they don't have to rely on bluffing. Other people can bluff, if they're willing to gamble.
    – user253751
    May 4, 2023 at 20:58
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You can, but you shouldn't. Nothing good can come from it. Do you have knowledge from co-workers about what the increases were last year and in previous years?

There is likely nothing you can do at the current company to get a raise before December.

First - Worry most about your performance. It is the only factor over which you have any real element of control. Ask your boss for a mid-year performance appraisal. The rationale you give is straight-forward - you want to know about your performance so you can correct any issues before the contract review.

Second - Explore the job market, if for no other reason than to get a better idea of how much opportunity is out there and what kind of salary you can command elsewhere. If you happen to get a good offer, you can bring it to your boss and perhaps that might trigger a counter-offer.

Good luck.

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  • Thank you! I have "performance reviews" every three months and all have been very positive from the start. I do not really know how to manage interviews to "get a grasp of the job market conditions" but I will work on that!
    – M.K
    May 10, 2023 at 11:15

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