What Is a Salary Review? (Definition and How to Prepare)

Updated 9 October 2022

A salary review is a meeting with your manager to discuss how you've been performing at your job and if it warrants a salary increase. Companies may conduct these meetings to ensure they match competitors' salaries. Learning how to discuss a salary increase during these meetings may help motivate you in your job. In this article, we discuss the answer to 'What is a salary review?', including how a performance review may affect your salary and steps you can take to prepare for a salary review with your manager.

What is a salary review?

The answer to, 'What is a salary review?', is it's a dedicated meeting with your manager to evaluate your work performance. Depending on the organisation, you may attend these meetings yearly or every few months. During these meetings, you can talk about how you feel you performed in your role, including what you think you did well, where you may require additional training or improvements and if there are other resources that your manager can provide you.

Your manager may discuss the goals set in prior meetings or at the beginning of the year and if you've achieved them. If you have, this is an opportunity to set new ones. Here are some key components of an efficient and effective salary review:

  • reviews your position and job duties

  • provides you with an assessment of your work

  • discusses goals and achievements

  • reminds you of the company's expectations for professionals in the related role

  • develops strategies for improvement areas

  • sets new goals to work towards

Related: Effective Short-Term Career Goals (With Examples)

What is a six-month salary review?

A six-month salary review is for companies that don't only hold annual reviews, and the salary review meetings happen every six months, rather than once a year. During these meetings, you or your manager can discuss an increase in your salary if you fulfil a specific task or goal by the following review. Doing this can help increase your productivity as you work to achieve the raise and help improve the company's performance.

Additionally, these meetings can help clarify your questions about the job responsibilities and solve challenges you're experiencing to help you improve your job performance. For example, if you're a new professional in the company, these meetings are helpful to answer your questions, get to know the company and managers and help you navigate your new role. As a new hire attending a six-month salary review, it's beneficial to consider whether the review is for increasing your salary or simply evaluating your performance as a new hire.

Related: What Does a Performance Manager Do? (With Duties and Skills)

How do performance reviews affect salary?

Performance reviews or evaluations are meetings held by company managers to help them determine important factors they can use during your salary review. Managers might conduct performance reviews and salary reviews during the same meeting or schedule them separately. This can depend on their preferences and schedules. Performance reviews can affect a salary review for several reasons, including:

  • Showing occupational competence: You can show your manager you have company skills and knowledge during your performance review. Having a powerful understanding and competency in your occupation can show managers you're a valuable employee who might deserve a raise.

  • Understanding achieved goals and objectives: Performance reviews can also allow employers to review the progress of an individual's career goals. If an employee continually achieves their objectives, a manager can either find more challenging goals or position that employee for a leadership opportunity, possibly increasing their salary simultaneously.

  • Determining career aspirations: During performance reviews, managers can determine a professional's career aspirations. When an employee shows excellent occupational skills and communicates their desire to advance in a company, managers see their initiative and dedication to the business.

Related: 52 Quotes About Being Successful to Motivate You in Your Career

How can you prepare for a salary review?

Here's a list of six tips you can use to prepare for your salary review:

1. Understand company goals and objectives

Before starting your salary review, it's helpful to analyse the company's or organisation's goals and think about ways you or your team have fulfilled them. This can provide your employer with important insight into how your work and productivity contributed to the company's success. For example, if a company succeeded in its goal of finding 10 new clients by the end of the year, inform your employer about efforts you made to reach out to prospective clients and the techniques you used to secure their business.

2. Create a list of accomplishments

Creating and maintaining a list of accomplishments since your last salary review is essential because it can provide the company with physical evidence of your contributions to the business. Compiling your performance reviews, customer feedback forms and other documents that show your hard work can help convince managers of your dedication to the company and your reasons for a raise. Tracking your annual accomplishments can also help you update your resume and occupational profile on social media more easily by adding positional achievements and job responsibilities.

3. Examine your previous review

Before going to your salary review, it's helpful to look over your previous salary and performance reviews to see how you've developed since that time. When determining how you've improved, consider thinking about specific examples you can share with your manager. This can give your manager helpful evidence to see how you've grown or progressed since your last review.

For example, if your manager asked you to focus on enhancing your productivity speed during your last review, inform them about recent times when you've met or exceeded project deadlines.

Related: 7 Ways to Improve Working Independently and Productively

4. Generate personal goals for the future

When you come prepared for a salary review with new goals for the following year, it can help show your manager that you're being proactive about your future with the company and that you're already finding ways you can continue to improve. When establishing goals, it's helpful to think about specific ways you can develop in the company's role or position. For example, if you desire to improve your marketing skills, you may show your manager how you plan to achieve this goal during your meeting.

This can include enrolling in a course at a local university or earning a certification. You may also conduct online research and read marketing textbooks about the latest trends in marketing that you can implement in your role. This shows your manager that you're taking actionable steps with a plan to follow up on what you say you wish to improve.

Related: How Much Does a Wedding Planner Make? (And How to Become One)

5. Prepare questions

Prepare questions ahead of your meeting that you may expect your manager to ask you or you wish to ask them. When you prepare questions ahead of time, it can show your manager your commitment to the role because you thought of these questions in advance. Here are some questions your manager may ask you during the meeting:

  • 'Can you tell me about your achievements since the last meeting?'

  • 'Why do you think you have earned an increase in your salary?'

  • 'Are there any resources or other supplemental material the company can provide you with to help you improve in your role?'

  • 'Is there anything in your role challenging to you? If so, how can the company solve this challenge?'

Some questions you can prepare to ask your manager may include:

  • 'What do you feel I can improve on in my job?'

  • 'What do you think my strengths and weaknesses are, and how can we develop a plan to strengthen my weaknesses?'

  • 'Do you think I have an opportunity for upward mobility in this role?'

  • 'What goals or projects do you think I can benefit from focusing on right now?'

6. Research similar salary rates

Researching the salaries of similar positions at other companies can help you understand if the pay you're receiving is fair or if you might deserve higher compensation. Coming to your salary review with this kind of information might respectfully persuade the manager or company that your current salary doesn't reflect your work ethic, especially compared to what other companies are paying. For example, impressing your manager with your productivity and occupational skills and showing that your salary is less than some other companies provide might convince them you deserve a salary increase.

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