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Life Sciences Advice - Asking for a Raise

Publish Date: 19-10-2017
Country: The Netherlands

Life Sciences Advice - Asking for a Raise

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There are some things in life that lots of people will always find difficult to manage and asking your employer for a raise is most certainly one of those things. You spent many of days working away to your best extent and believe that the proper remuneration is in order. These three steps will tell you how you can convince your employer that you are a valuable asset to the company and deserve that raise.


The setup

The first thing you will need to make sure that you have, is leverage. This can be in a few different forms. For instance, you have been working as the textbook example of the best employee ever. This means that beside the goals that are set out for you, you manage to exceed those objectives. Companies will always reward such behaviour so make sure you document these expectations for yourself. 

In another scenario, the idea of a raise came to mind because you were given another job opportunity. This could be used as leverage to pressure the employer into giving you a raise to keep you on board. Be aware that this is a dangerous play because this could backfire in the sense that the employer can call you out. Next thing you know, you are no longer working at the company. We highly recommend you only use this tactic if you are seriously thinking about taking the other job offer.

It will be difficult for you to ask for more salary if you had an extensive agreement on pay at the beginning of your employment. Your employer thinks you are already satisfied with the amount that you agreed on and will react confused when you come asking for more. 

It’s important for you to have realistic expectations about what the employer can do for you in terms of an increased remuneration. You cannot expect that an employer can provide a raise If the company is struggling because of certain financial setbacks or because the economy is causing difficulties. 

The same goes for having realistic expectations of yourself. Do some (objective) research on the work that you’re doing. See how much you should be paid on average for similar work and compare this to the amount of work you put in. If you believe you’re giving more than a 100% than make sure you can assess all that extra work objectively. Things to take into account here are your job description, your responsibilities, your seniority, degree of skill and your proximity to the company location.


Preparing the question

The first thing you should do is summarise all the things you have successfully added to the company. For the more research oriented jobs In Life Sciences this could be in the form of Phd promotional work, research findings, development breakthroughs. When you’re thinking more in terms of business & sales related functions you could be thinking about sales quotes, growth in profit, customer satisfaction etc. You could present your employer with a list of these accomplishments but what works best is to make these accomplishments evident. The employer should be able to see the difference you are making. 

Look back at your previous contributions to the company, have you been doing your work well? The point is to make sure you can convince the employer that you always have done more than was requested of you. Examples are if you have helped your colleagues a lot, how easily you finish before a deadline, do you take initiative and many more.

All these accomplishments and work effort should then be related to what you could do for the company in the future. Make sure that your relation has the long term goals of the company in mind. It also helps to explain that it’s easier to keep an already hired employee happy instead of finding another one. Just say it subtle and indirect because nobody likes a know-it-all. 


Asking the question

Set up a meeting with your boss, this way you can make sure the he/she has set time aside for you and can focus on what you want to present to him. This will also help you look prepared. Make sure that you pick the best time and day where the employer feels at his/her best. So don’t pick monday morning or friday late afternoon for instance. 

When you have showed the employer all the work you have done and the added value that you are as an employee, you are ready to ask the actual question. Make sure you describe your raise in a percentage or at least the added amount. Never ask for what you want to be earning instead of your previous salary. This is overall a big number, and these numbers scare bosses. Also, make sure that you are very specific. This way you both know exactly what you want.


(extra) The follow up

There are a few outcomes possible after this conversation:

  • If the employer says no, don’t take this personally. There are probably some reasons for this so see if the employer wants to explain it to you. Never leave with a bad attitude after a refusal. If it didn’t happen then doesn’t mean it won’t happen for you in the future.
  • The employer wants more time to think about it, be sure that you keep the raise top-of-mind in a subtle way. Asking when you need to sign the approval or saying that this will be done in less than a month if he/she approves the paper work are nice ways to get a plan of action going. 
  • The employer says yes, reinforce the decision in the employers mind by making sure you two came to an agreement.

Whatever the outcome, always send a follow up message where you thank the employer for his/her time. This presents you as a loyal employee and the time and date on the message will be a useful reminder for any salary conversations you might have in the future.


SIRE Life Sciences B.V.

Mondriaan Tower
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+31 (0) 20 658 9800

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80333 München
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