The issue of added responsibilities – but no pay rise

An e-commerce manager has taken on additional duties yet has not been given recognition

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I am the manager of a busy e-commerce enterprise where I have been for three years. During that time my responsibilities have grown significantly, although my title and salary have remained the same. I feel it is time I had a pay rise. What is the best way to go about asking for one?
CP, Dubai

Being valued and respected is a universal need, and given how much time we spend at work it is easy to see how our happiness and motivation can be affected by our remuneration at work.  Employees who are unreasonably compensated will become frustrated, discontent and less committed over time, which in turn affects productivity and hurts both the employee and the company in the long run.

It is clear you feel that your responsibilities far exceed both your salary and your title, so a discussion with your manager is definitely warranted.  Two separate elements need to be taken into account – one is the salary that would fairly mirror your work and responsibility, and the other is the title that would more accurately reflect the responsibilities you have. 

To successfully negotiate what you want, you need to know your own worth. How do you measure up in your department, the company and the industry at large?  What are the skills, attributes and credentials that you bring to move the company forward?  Start with your strengths and accomplishments as evidenced by others through feedback and appraisals and connect them to the value that you add.  Look at your current job description and add details of the additional work responsibilities you have taken on. 


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Also indicate which of these you have initiated on your own as part of your commitment and dedication to the company.  Once you have clarity on what you know you contribute, gather the necessary facts about your market value based on research using online resources and social industry networks. 

According to figures just released by human resource consultancy Korn Ferry Hay Group, salaries in the UAE are expected to rise 4.1 per cent this year.

You have also made reference to your job title. This symbolises what you do and is linked to your perceived value contribution; it enables others inside and outside your company to know what level you have proven yourself to be successful at.  It can help you do your job better by affording you a certain status that lends you the necessary credibility and gravitas when engaging and networking with others.  Not only can it make you more fulfilled in your day-to-day work, but it can also further your career and future opportunities by showing a history of how you have progressed through the years.

Consider what title would accurately reflect your responsibilities, skills, experience and status within the context of the company and industry; one that makes you feel both appreciated and empowered.  Your work title should provide information about your level within the hierarchy of the company. Be prepared to discuss why you deserve to have this title.  How will it enable you to do your job better?  What would make your manager agree with you?

It may be worth gaining insights from the HR depart­ment before meeting your manager. It is usually best placed to provide information about the scope of salaries across the company and can help you to map a career path moving into higher paid positions.  Once you have gathered the necessary information, schedule a meeting with your manager. 

Be positive, diplomatic and constructive in expressing your concerns.  Focus on what makes you valuable to the company supported by the evidence that you have gathered.  Know the minimum you will accept as part of the salary negotiation and stick to it; you may risk your own credibility by backing down.  Finally, be careful not to offer an ultimatum – you do not want to put your job at risk without having an alternative option to consider.

Doctor’s prescription:

Once you know what you are asking for and why, you are in a strong position to negotiate upward.  Build your case by showing an understanding of the challenges that the company faces and senior management’s priorities.  Indicate your contribution in negating these challenges and how you are better able to support management in meeting its priorities by having a more influential job title.  Be modest, but emphasise your strengths.

Yolande Basson is an executive coach and consultant at Ashridge Executive
Education – Middle East