By Hays: Working for your Tomorrow

If you’ve been in your role for a while and excel at what you do, it could be time to start thinking about a pay rise. You’ve put in the work to earn more money, but knowing how to negotiate a pay rise is a different challenge altogether.

Salary negotiations can be nerve-racking. By taking the right approach, you can make sure you know how to argue your case and keep the decision makers on your side.

Follow these 10 steps to maximise the chances of getting the outcome you want.


Define why you deserve a pay rise
If you are expecting a higher pay for doing the same job, you need to be sure that you deserve it. Consider the value you bring to your employer and why you merit an increased salary.

Ask yourself: What have I done since the last time my pay went up to warrant a salary review?

Be specific about what you are worth. Don’t just say the cost of living has gone up, or that you think you generally do a good job.

Do your research: confirm the worth of your job
Identify the market rate, and find out what you could earn if you had another job offer tomorrow. You can do that by looking at the salary range in job adverts and researching online. Understanding competitors will build a stronger case to put to your employer.

It may also be worth taking note of whether other employers offer additional benefits such as:

  • Flexible working
  • A more generous benefits package
  • Health insurance or dental care

Equally, research how your organisation calculates pay rises. Try talking to your HR department before you take any next steps, or search for a Hays salary guide in your region.

Choose your timing carefully
Choose your moment carefully when negotiating a pay rise. Monday mornings and Friday afternoons are not the best times of the week.

Don’t spring this conversation on your boss either. Book a meeting with your manager for a time when you know you’ll have their full attention. In your calendar invite, detail what you would like to discuss, so that they have time to prepare before the meeting.

Also if you can time your request to coincide with a performance review or the company’s pay round, so much the better. Consider talking to HR about how and when they calculate pay rises.

Build a strong, well-presented business case
Remember a salary review is a business meeting, so you need to stay professional at all times. Use clear examples to demonstrate:

  • how you’ve gone above and beyond your basic job description
  • times when you have shown valuable initiative
  • how you have improved the business or supported the wider team
  • where you have worked with different teams
  • your relationships with key people.

Demonstrate the level of your experience with specifics. Include detailed examples and be very clear about the level of pay rise you want.

Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement
You may have strong feelings about your salary and what you are worth. But keep emotions firmly out of your pay rise negotiation. Remember: this is a business meeting above all.

Avoid issuing an ultimatum
Don’t threaten to leave if you don’t get what you want. Nor should you mention any personal reasons for needing more money. This approach will lead your boss to question your commitment to the company and long-term career prospects. Focus your salary negotiations on positive benefits to the company instead.

Be prepared to negotiate
Remember, you are negotiating a pay rise, not demanding one instantly. Be ready to discuss this at length if necessary. Consider whether you expect a pay rise now, or if you’re happy to work towards one.

You also need to be clear on how much you are willing to compromise and why you deserve a higher salary.

You don’t have to accept an offer straight away
You don’t have to accept a pay rise offer immediately. Take time to think about it and be sure you are happy. If you feel you are getting the bare minimum salary increase, don’t be afraid to renegotiate.

Follow up with an email
Once your salary negotiation meeting is over, follow up with a clear, concise and accurate email. Sum up the main points you discussed in writing. That way you have a written record, and there is no room for confusion or misunderstanding.

Decide if you are ready for more responsibility
Finally, if a pay rise means an increase in responsibilities, be sure you are happy to take them on. You need to be confident that you have the capacity and capability to continue to excel. If you think you may need extra training, ask for it.

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