Employees who have made an impact, helped in revenue growth or increased the productivity of a business are likely to receive an increase in salary levels, according to recruitment and HR experts.

"It is worth noting that it is not just salary that can be negotiated. Other areas could be additional benefits, flexible working, bonuses, schooling, job titles, work incentives, allowances or even share options. It really depends on the company, but not all businesses will be cash-rich," said Nicki Wilson, managing director, Genie Recruitment, said.

Deepa Sud, CEO at Plum Jobs, said employees who consistently demonstrate outstanding performance, achieve beyond the organisation's expectations and receive excellent performance reviews are in a stronger position to negotiate a salary increment based on merit.

This comes as recruitment agency Cooper Fitch's "Salary Guide UAE 2024" revealed that the majority – 53 per cent – of firms expect to increase their employees' salaries. More than one-third – 39 per cent plan to raise wages by up to 5 per cent, almost one in ten by 6-9 per cent; and one in 20 (5 per cent) is preparing for an increase by 10 per cent or more.

Show your worth

Waleed Anwar, managing director of Upfront HR, suggested that employees need to show their worth and make themselves an important part of the company, going beyond and above their duties and responsibilities and performing better than what they did last year.

"But the most important thing you should do to be considered for a pay hike is have a conversation with your managers about the pay increase and ask how they feel about you and your performance. What else can you do to add value? Discuss your last year's performance and ask what they would like to see from you; if you hear positive signs and feedback, don't be afraid to ask for a pay review, as long as it is in line with your peers and not just a demand, so do your research," added Anwar.

Wilson said employees should have a strong argument for why they deserve a salary increase.

"If you have evidence of your contributions that have led to the growth of the business or the revenue, then make sure you have this ready to go with details. Pick the right time, and don't ask for a raise when there is a slowdown in activity or sales," she said.

She suggested employees request a meeting and ask for a raise. "Never speak to your colleagues about salary or raises or complain about how low you are paid; this will usually get back to management and be counterproductive."

Deepa Sud, CEO at Plum Jobs, says elevating a role by taking on additional responsibilities is a great way to show the organisation that an employee is ready for a promotion and/or salary increase.

"You can be the most productive employee in the organisation, but that is not enough. It is important to be genuine, a team player and collaborative."

How to re-invent for a hike?

Wilson added that employees should look at what they could have done better and also look at their peers, who are the most productive people on the team, and what they are doing.

"Create some goals for 2024, write them down, do some research courses and self-learning to improve skills, speak directly with managers to see what they have noticed about your performance and if there's anything they believe you could improve," Wilson said.

Deepa added that employees should gain relevant qualifications and training to be more productive and/or add value to their role or team, which is key. "It is not enough to simply get a qualification or certification and then automatically expect a salary increase. You need to show the value of learning in the role that you are undertaking."

Waleed Anwar said achieving a professional qualification or gaining a new skill is a great way to re-invent yourself, especially if employees can use this new skill or qualification in their jobs. "Be seen, change your image, get new work clothes or change your haircut; you want to get noticed more and particularly if you are also performing well, you will be seen!" he added.

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