CAREER EXPERT feat Chris Mead | Issue 64 of HEADHUNT


Dear Chris,

My annual review is coming up in soon and despite my achievements I am nervous about asking for a pay increase. Do you have any advice to ensure

I approach it the right way? I really don’t want to wait another year until my next review.



Dear Devon,

Asking for a salary increase in executive jobs can be daunting and we often get asked for similar advice.

You are certainly in a much better position this year than 12 months ago. Job numbers are rising in all industries, including accountant jobs and IT jobs, and for the first time in Singapore’s recovery job vacancies now slightly outnumber job seekers. Skills shortages are already emerging, so salary pressure is returning and to be competitive employers will need to re-examine their salaries.

But despite this you should not expect an automatic or hefty salary increase. If you want to negotiate a pay rise with your present employer, we suggest you:

1. Prepare a list of your recent achievements that exceed your objectives (if this is your first review, look back at your original job description).  List the resulting benefit to the company. This gives you strong evidence to support the value you are providing to the business.

2. Also list any changed/rising work volumes or duties you’re now undertaking.

3. Be realistic. State the salary you feel your performance and results are worth, and back it up with evidence from a Salary Guide to show it is in line with current market rates.

4. Keep your salary review discussion professional. Stay calm and focused. Do not become emotional and do not talk of how much money you need – eg rising bills, mortgage repayments. Keep your review purely professional.

5. Have a fall-back position. If your employer cannot afford to increase your salary, can you agree a date for another pay review in three or six months? What about additional annual leave, study or other benefits?

Above all, use your accomplishments and the value you add to the company as the basis of your negotiation.

If you are realistic in your expectations, show how you can add value and take the advice of a recruiting expert, a salary increase is likely to  follow over the coming year in line with the market’s renewed optimism.

For those who are job searching, we still advise you to focus on finding a role that will add to your suite of skills and will offer opportunity with the right organisation. Don’t price yourself out of contention with over-inflated salary expectations.

Chris Mead
General Manager

HAYS Singapore

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