Project Management Q&A: How do I Ask for a Suitable Pay Increase?

I’d like to approach my line manager about a raise in salary and I want to make sure I do my homework before making such an approach. How can I make sure my salary increase expectations are realistic?

It is always difficult to understand exactly how much you are worth due to the fact there are so many factors to take into consideration. The first step to take is to understand exactly how the salary bandings or ranges work within the organisation you currently work for. You also need to understand how salaries are set for individuals too, for example, relative ranking will mean your salary is set in relation to others within the business who perform the same position.

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We sometimes get sidetracked thinking about how much we might be worth in the wider marketplace and forget that organisations can and will set their own salary levels regardless of how much a project manager with your skills and experience could command if you were to work elsewhere.

If you are looking to understand how your current salary compares with your peers outside your current organisation there are a number of ways this information can be obtained. To gain a realistic comparison it is recommended that you research a number of different options.

To gain a more specialised insight into the salary levels of your peers in project management, annual reports such as Arras People’s 2019 PMBR are useful and provide statistics on salaries from different PM job titles.

Although the location and sector you work in plays a big part in your salary level so does your particular skill or specialism; the complexity of projects managed; team size managed and size of budget.

Another easy way to get a feel for the current marketplace salary levels for your type of experience and skills is to take a look at the job board advertisements in your location and sector. Often these advertised roles will have a salary range and the more you can find will give you a decent average salary range. There are also a number of salary comparison websites available on the internet too and choosing a few again will give a realistic average.

A conversation about salary increases is also an opportunity to talk about your performance in your current position. Doing your homework on how realistic your salary increase requirements are only part of the story, the trick is to bring both together. The organisation you work for should be interested in what they will get in exchange for an increase in your salary. Be prepared to talk about your justifications based on past good performance and what are your intentions for the coming year.

Have you got a Project Management question for us to answer? Let us know in the comment below.

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