How to negotiate a better salary in 2023

 ·31 Dec 2022

Employees looking for a salary increase in 2023 should start laying the foundation with their bosses at the start of the year rather than waiting until the year’s end.

According to Debbie Goodman, CEO at Jack Hammer Global, Africa’s largest executive search firm, this includes engaging in conversations regarding what they add to the organisation.

Goodman says that, contrary to popular belief, waiting till the end of the year or the end of the salary cycle is not the time to ask for a better pay package or promotion.

She said that individuals need to ensure that their employers already recognise their contribution to the organisation by the year-end, which is achieved by ongoing self-monitoring of their achievements and contributions and a strategic sharing of information with their employers throughout the year.

“Keeping track of your contribution and achievements throughout the year isn’t just an important strategy in terms of negotiating the best possible package, but also an invaluable performance management tool so that you can be confident that you are indeed developing in your career,” she said.

The expert noted that people must foster the skill of communicating their accomplishments appropriately – who they are speaking to and when they are speaking to them are key things to consider.

Although each organisation varies regarding an appropriate time to speak of merits, the key is to have initiative – with a monthly informal performance discussion ideal, Goodman said.

Goodman suggested that employees request a short review call with their boss to ensure that their and their manager’s goals are consistent and that they are hitting their KPIs and outputs.

“This would also be a perfect time to talk about areas where you overperformed,” she said.

So, by the time employees have a formal discussion, their achievements are well-known, and getting the increase becomes a formality.

However, she noted that speaking too highly of yourself for extended periods can be difficult, especially for women, as it can make you seem arrogant – but avoiding this won’t help employees practically.

Improving the ability to share achievements requires practice but finding the right language and tone will lead to recognition for your work, Goodman said.

2023 concerns

Goodman’s advice could help numerous South Africans who will likely face a difficult 2023.

According to Citadel chief economist Maarten Ackerman, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) will likely hike interest rates in 2023, mirroring what will likely happen in the rest of the world – specifically, what will affect the US Federal Reserve (Fed).

The SARB will probably keep hiking rates next year until they can get a hold of inflation.

This coupled with fears of an economic recession and the rand’s volatility, means South Africans are in for a turbulent year.

More South Africans will thus require a pay rise to maintain their standard of living. However, the bleak economic outlook for 2023 will also affect employers.

Universum CEO, Mats Röjdmark, noted that organisations will have to put further pressure on available resources in 2023 due to the adverse economic outlook – potentially limiting the number of wage increases.

Read: The average take-home pay in South Africa right now

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