How To Negotiate Your Next Pay Rise

Written by: Laura Chetcuti
Published on: 5 Nov 2015

Bull Pay Rise

Arghhh that knotty situation when you know you’re about to ask your boss for a pay rise. Clammy hands, racing pulse and brow perspiration - IT’S STRESSFUL! It’s certainly no pleasure for anyone let’s face it. Unless you have some serious guts, you’re going to feel apprehensive about this conversation. Nevertheless, you must remember that it is in an employer’s best interest to invest in diligent, dependable employees (assuming that you are those things), and they must appreciate that in the interest of progression, these discussions are inevitable. No one is going to remain on a graduate salary for eternity and employees warrant reward for their time, effort and commitment to the business. We have come up with 5 simple steps towards stealing the pay rise that you deserve!


Do Your Homework

Please promise that you will not go into this conversation without having conducted some research first? Who wouldn’t want to be taking a six figure salary home let’s be honest?!

It is essential to be realistic with your expectations. Understanding whether you are actually undervalued within the company is a reasonably good start. A slightly awkward conversation, but ask fellow colleagues in the business what salary they are on/how they achieved a raise. This can be a really good way to benchmark your value and it always helps to have comparisons.  

If you work within a company that has a highly established HR Department, reach out and ask them how pay rises are typically calculated across the business before you charge into your meeting like a bull in a china shop! There are several salary checkers you can use online to work out whether you are falling short of the market average or not. Performing simple searches for comparable jobs (with advertised salaries) are another beneficial way to establish your position compared with the market average.


Timing Is Key

So you’re looking to arrange that crucial, bank balance resuscitating meeting! When do we recommend you have your meeting?

We would recommend you DO NOT approach your boss about your pay rise on:

  • Monday morning – does anyone actually appreciate any form of human interaction on a Monday morning?
  • Friday afternoon – all your boss wants to on a Friday afternoon is LEAVE. Like most semi-normal human beings.  
  • Deadline day – if you work in a sales environment, we would not advise asking your boss for a pay rise on deadline day…especially if you haven’t had a good month!

We would recommend you DO approach your boss about your pay rise:

  • Straight after lunch – set them up for it when they are in a nice little food coma. Easy!
  • During your appraisal – this tends to be a reasonably appropriate place to discuss salary and it is more than likely to be expected at some point, especially if you haven’t asked for one before!
  • During a quiet day in the office –catch them at a time where there’s no important meetings occurring/when you know they will be in the office all day.


Deliver Your Reasons

You’ve done your homework, you’ve cornered them into a meeting and now you need to deliver your cautiously thought out reasons as to why you are requesting said rise! List a few key achievements and examples of times where you have gone above and beyond to contribute to the wider interests of the business. If you can demonstrate positive statistics, compile them and use them to your advantage.

If you can’t come up with at least 3 decent reasons, then stop reading this and WORK HARDER! Remember the goal. You need to sell your worth to your boss. Easier said than done! You need to be clear and concise. Be careful how you deliver your reasons. Don’t just go for broke with “I think I’m underpaid”. That won’t help your cause. If anything, it will worsen it!


A few tips for delivering your pay rise reasons:

  • Stay calm. This is one of those times in life where you just need to keep cool. If you’re relaxed, chances are, your boss will be too!
  • Keep your boss on side. Avoid negative comments about the business, your pay or your role. You need to be demonstrating a positive connection between the great work you’re doing and your salary. Express your commitment to the role and to the business!
  • Don’t cry, shout or storm out. Also, try not to threaten resignation if it appears you may not get your way. It looks weak and it will cause you some serious issues.


How Much Should You Negotiate

Always ask for more than you expect to get! That way, when they look to meet you half way, they will pretty much land on the figure you want. If they don’t meet you half way and agree to your request, then you’ve just secured yourself a much bigger rise than you anticipated! Don’t go in too high though. That’s just stupid and really awkward/it makes you look incredibly supercilious.


If Your Boss Says No

Chill out. It’s not the end of the world. You can actually be pretty clever here and orchestrate a better financial situation for yourself in other ways. For example, you could suggest working from home one day a week, which would save you a day’s worth of cash on travel and lunch expenses. They might even be able to offer transport expenses, which would cost them less than your pay rise and would still render you better off. If your employer isn’t in a position to offer you more money, they may be able to offer you more flexibility in terms of your working hours. Maybe even compensation by way of a few extra days holiday!?

There are all sorts of options here and sometimes being patient and accepting of their decision at this stage will pay off further down the line. Remember to remain courteous and tactful. Asking for feedback can be very valuable as it gives you the opportunity to improve, giving you a stronger standing next time you ask. 


If Your Boss Says Yes…

Happy Days! You successfully negotiated and achieved your raise!