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18 May 2024

How to get a raise

By Aimee Greaves




Are you getting a raw deal at work? Is your paycheque barely covering the rising cost of Dubai life? If the answer is yes then it’s time to ask for a pay rise. We often think we are worth more than we are paid, and there is nothing wrong with asking for a raise, but if you are going to be successful, you have to do it in the right way.


Pay rises are notoriously difficult to achieve. Once you have agreed a salary package, your boss is unlikely to want to keep showering you with money. Employees generally have two strategies when it comes to negotiation – either receive a new job offer or prove to your boss you are going beyond the call of duty.


Have a strategy:  Firstly, make a list of your current responsibilities, achievements, workload and all the positive aspects you have brought to the position. Make sure you know exactly what you want to say to your boss.


Eileen Wallis, Managing Director of The Portsmouth Group communications consultancy, says the strategy should have many elements. “You need to say what value you have brought to the organisation, whether it is something rare and unique. Loyalty is also critical. It’s not enough for someone to say other companies want to hire them, I want to hear that they agree with the ethos of the company and want to grow with us,” she says.


Know how much you are worth: You might have a figure in your head, but go on the internet or look in the job sections of local newspapers and find out what other companies are offering for similar positions.


Decide how much extra money you want – or if you would accept improved terms such as a better car, a grander title or shares in the company. Be prepared to haggle. If you can prove to your boss you are underpaid this might be the incentive he needs if he does not want to lose you.


If a raise will convince you to stay at your current company rather than accepting the job you have been offered at a competitor, do not say so straight away. If you are valued you will have a good chance of being offered a new contract anyway.


Be confident:  Asking for a pay rise is a bold thing to do, so you have to show the same confidence when broaching the subject otherwise you will not get anywhere. If you are asking for more money based on performance, you have to explain exactly why you deserve it.


Success will come down to the way you approach your boss and the amount of money that is available. Come across as confident without being cocky. If they refuse to meet your demands try to arrange a time when your position can be reviewed again.


“Confidence is critical, but over-confidence is extremely unattractive because you need to be a team player and arrogance annoys both colleagues and clients,” says Wallis.


Choose your timing:  Picking the right time to approach your boss is key to getting what you want. Don’t go in just before or after they have been on leave as they will probably be too busy to deal with it. Similarly, don’t ask just before the end of the fiscal year, because again you will be dismissed over more important matters.


“We have an open door policy here but if someone has an issue about their pay, they need to come and talk to me and make time to marshal their argument because staff retention is critical,” adds Wallis.




As the job market becomes more competitive it is worth going back to university. Having a professional qualification will not only put you a step ahead of others in your industry, but will also give you some scope to negotiate your salary. Most industries have courses and Knowledge Village is a good place to start. Alternatively, go online and find professional institutions with outlets in the UAE. If they do not have a base here, a correspondence course could work. It is worth asking your employer to support you, if you can prove it will benefit the company.