Aiyooo, how can I ask for higher pay? I’m just a fresh graduate la!
Do you get anxious in trying to demand something you know you deserve, but your nerve gets the best of you? Trust me, you’re not alone.
I saw a lot of debates going around Twitter recently. It was about whether fresh graduates nowadays deserve higher pay or not. because they only got an entry-level job with no experience in working professionally, at all!
Well, haven’t we all went down that lane of anxiousness? What are we supposed to say when someone asks, “Can you share your experience in this field?” when we are just mere little chicks that are just freshly hatched into this intimidating new unrecognisable world?!
Last year, the new government proposed that as of 1 January 2019, the minimum wage for fresh graduates should be raised to RM1,100 which we all can agree, is not enough to live off, especially in this economy.
The average salary for fresh graduates 9 years ago was even higher back compared to the current time which is highly unacceptable since the living cost now is much higher than ever as stated by Bank Negara Malaysia.
When it comes to living in this world, it’s all about trying your best to survive and it usually comes down to how much cha-ching you’re making to be able to live a satisfactory life.
What is the solution for all of you fresh graduates out there?
Well, you can take on a part-time job or two on the side if you want extra income, but that would most probably mess with yourself mentally and physically in the long run. And besides, where is the work-life balance, you know? I don’t want to spend the entirety of my youth working to the bone just to survive. Girl’s got to live a bit, now and then.
College and career coach Kat Cohen states that despite the fear around salary negotiations, fresh graduates must do a better job confidently asking for a higher pay they deserve. After all, 84 per cent of employers say a new candidate applying for an entry-level position will not be putting their job offer at risk by negotiating their pay, according to NerdWallet.
Why is it important for an employee with an entry-level job to ask for higher pay?
Long Term Planning
As we used to say a lot back then in Bahasa Melayu class at school, sedikit-sedikit, lama-lama jadi bukit. It may seem insignificant to ask for higher pay if it doesn’t benefit you that much now. However, Ramit Sethi, New York Times bestselling author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich pointed out that you can grow your earnings from 5,000$ to more than a million dollars if you get at least one raise in your life and you invest it the right way.
The more raise you get, the higher the raise that you could ask for the next job. Practise this regularly and trust me, throughout a lifetime, your salary would definitely surpass
It may seem a little tricky, but getting your pay raised often to the point that it exceeds the standard pay that everyone else of the same position is getting, sends a message that you earn more because you are a top performer.
I’m not trying to scare anyone, but we all know the number of unemployed fresh graduates and people who lose their job is increasing drastically year by year. Unfortunately, Malaysia is included.
We know for a fact that getting an entry-level position is becoming even more competitive nowadays among fresh graduates. This is why it’s essential that you give the best of your effort in any way to spot a job!
It Won’t Hurt to Ask
Have you ever heard of the saying, “Go big or go home”?
I get it, trying to ask for a higher payment while having no experience at all, may seem like a bold move. You might think, “Who am I to be so audacious when I have nothing noteworthy to offer?!” But hey, there’s nothing wrong in giving your 100%.
I’m not saying you should confront your boss and be like “I need a raise and I deserve it!” la. With the proper salary negotiation tips to follow, it’s not impossible for an employer to consider one coming from a fresh graduate of an entry-level position. As proven by NerdWallet, 84% of employers are willing to increase their initial offers by as much as 10%.
Avoid having high expectations!
Who doesn’t want a free commute to work? I do for sure. Negotiating can mean more than just your salary.
Fresh graduates may not have as much leverage with salary, but you could package together with other factors that will cut costs to your spending. Negotiate the kind of resources that has to do with your job.
It could be anything really. Maybe a transportation allowance, overtime allowance, cash allowance etc. Rank the factors in order of importance to you.
I admit, even I feel dreaded to spend my money on commute. Let alone having to do that daily! But hey, instead of going through that hurdle, you could save a lot of money, but only if you have a little bit of courage to approach your boss with confidence.
Here are some salary negotiation tips!
Wait Until You Are Offered for the Job
Hold your horses people.
First, wait until you get the job officially. Employers don’t usually change the decisions they make, so you can use this to your advantage.
Plus, let’s not give your potential employers an excuse to reject your application just because you made the mistake of asking a risky question, at the wrong time!
Do Your Homework!
The internet is a huge space, use it to your advantage. If you don’t know the standard payment for your position, browse sites such as Jobstreet.com where they release the most recent annual report of the average salary each position earns according to location.
Another thing you can do is reach out to someone you know who has been in the industry for a while or an alumnus that has worked at the same place. Try to ask for their opinion where they could tell you something such as “It’s easy for you to get a raise once you’ve worked here for more than a year,” or “Your salary is so low. Maybe you can discuss this issue further with your boss in a meeting.”
Margaret Neale, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business suggests asking friends, colleagues and acquaintances with whom you have a good connection, or who you think would be open to sharing their salary information. She said you could also phrase the question like this: “What is a reasonable salary for this kind of job with these expectations?”
Besides that, know the market and whether you have the skills or experience that might warrant being paid differently than your peers.
Let’s assume, the standard salary for a freshly graduated Engineer is RM1600. But you want more right? So you go meet your boss and you ask, “Can my salary be raised to RM4,000 ah?” Walao ehhhhh you crazy ah?
Similar to the first tip, do your research on the common average salary people get for your position. Try to negotiate your raise around the same amount as the salary that is offered to you. Don’t you ever ask for a far off amount from the initial number?
I know I mentioned “go big or go home,” but please don’t go that extreme!
Sharpen Up Your Persuasion Skills
Now, dear friends, this is crucial. You don’t want to be demanding without having anything to give in return. What special or unique trait about you, that is able to sell your request to your employer?
It’s as if you’re telling them, “Hey, I am one of the best geologists in Malaysia, so I have no problem at all to get a job somewhere else. But if you are willing to give me a higher pay, I guess I’ll stay.”
When you try to sell your idea about how you deserve higher pay, they won’t be persuaded just by how much the raise would help you in saving money for a new car or how much easier and lavish your life is going to be. No, they don’t care. What they care is what will you give me in return?
Ok, let’s use the previous example. You are one of the best geologists in Malaysia right? Then use that to your advantage by explaining you are the best because you are efficient in discovering an abundant amount of new natural resources and your estimations are never inaccurate.
In a sense, you’re basically telling them that they will get the resources faster than other companies, and they are able to gain more profit from it, but only if I stay. How is that? Give me higher pay.
If you would like to know more about how to present your request to your boss with a positive result, click here.
Practice Makes Perfect
I know, we’re tired of hearing this. But think about it, if your teachers kept on repeating the same saying again and again since primary school until college, it needs to have a certain amount of importance to it, doesn’t it?
Sometimes we tend to lose sight of the significance in practising the fundamentals that make you successful at something and are often looking for the advanced, magic formula that will instantly give you the results you’re after.
Imagine snapping your fingers and you get what you want in just a matter of seconds. Sorry, but you wish!
Once you come up with the perfect argument to explain your demand, rehearse with a friend. Not just once, but several times, until your speech is stuck in your brain. Have him or her mix up the counterarguments, so you’re prepared to defend your case several ways and so you don’t get ruffled in the process.
Stuttering will also ruin your attempt on persuasion. All you need is a bit of a push to practise again, and again, and again. Never stop, until you are confident enough to ace your argument. Even if you’re not confident, you at least grasp what to say already, so just pretend that you’re confident! Don’t worry, they won’t find out 😉
As they always say, Fake it till you make it.
But most of all, Being an expert in negotiating won’t be useful unless you excel at your work. For that reason, it’s really important to level up your game as the best worker in the workplace. Just in case if you’re still figuring out how to do so, here are the 47 habits that successful workers practise in their workplace.
All the best!