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A tip for Gen Zs: Keep salary data at hand while asking for a raise

Mint raised some common dilemmas faced by first-time employees with New York Times best-selling author and partner and research director at HR advisory firm Future Workplace Dan Schawbel

Dan Schawbel is a best-selling author and workplace expert.
Dan Schawbel is a best-selling author and workplace expert.

Anew batch of Generation Z, those born into the burgeoning of the digital age, is joining the workforce. The transition from college campus to the corporate world could be a daunting one and may result in several questions relating to the first job.

Mint raised some common dilemmas faced by first-time employees with Dan Schawbel, who, besides being a New York Times best-selling author, is a career and workplace expert, startup adviser, and partner and research director at HR advisory firm Future Workplace. He’s also the founder of research and consulting firm Millennial Branding and, an advisory membership service for HR professionals. Edited excerpts:

How does one approach salary negotiation?

The best way to negotiate your salary or a raise is to bring data to the table. To do this, conduct research on various compensation websites, such as or, a research initiative by the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad that is connected to the international WageIndicator Network, to see what the average salary is for someone in your industry with your job title.

Besides that, talk to people who already have the job you are applying for at the company, or in similar positions at other companies, to see how much they are being paid. By doing your due diligence, you will know how much you could ask for during a salary negotiation and be able to point to data to back up your claims. When you are physically in the room trying to negotiate a higher salary, you should act confidently by using eye contact, sitting up straight and being firm in how you communicate.

With respect to promotion time-frames, what is a reasonable period of time?

It is most common to ask for a raise once a year during a set period of time, based on your company’s fiscal year. When you start your job, you should ask your manager when the annual evaluation is so that you know when to ask for a raise.

The one exception for asking multiple times in a year is if you have over-delivered on one of your goals and it has made a significant impact on your team and/or company by increasing revenue or decreasing costs.

On an average, it takes someone six months to be a fully productive worker because they need enough on-the-job training to learn and master a skill or procedure. Then, you need several more months to be able to replicate those skills on real-life projects to have measurable results to prove your mastery.

How necessary is it to clear one’s doubts with the manager?

Since we spend so much time at work, having strong relationships with co-workers is critical to our productivity, well-being, and satisfaction.

Team relationships impact your ability to get things done at work. While your current or future manager has power over your salary, your teammates can impact your ability to produce high-quality work that will put you in a better position to ask for raise.

Having a manager who believes in you, along with supportive team members, can make a major difference in how successful you will be at work.

Team and managers’ relationships are especially important in India. In a study conducted with Kronos, a human resource technologies firm, we found that India is the hardest working country. Sixty-nine percent of full-time workers in the country say they would still work five days a week even if they had the option to work fewer days for the same pay.

In a toxic work environment, poor team relationships can be hazardous to your health and make you spend more time searching for your next job rather than performing at your current job.

Where, when and how should one draw the line when it comes to making friends at work?

In a study I led of over 2,000 managers in 10 countries, we found that 7% of the global workforce has zero friends at work and half have five or fewer.

In India specifically, we found that 5% have zero friends and just over one-fourth have five or fewer.

Friends at work are important because we spend half of our lives working and friends make the work we do much more bearable even if we dislike our job.

But we have to draw a line when it comes to making friends at work so that we do not let interpersonal issues get between us and doing our best work.

Set boundaries based on what works best for you. This could be not accepting your co-workers’ Facebook friend request or not going out to party outside of office hours.

You should set your own boundaries as the friendship is taking form so that you are on the same page with each other.

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