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How to negotiate a pay rise

Published: January 9, 2018

The New Year is always a time of evaluation, when everyone starts to think about where their lives are heading, the goals they hope to achieve in the months ahead, and whether this will be the year they’ll finally set foot in the gym they signed their life away to. You might also find yourself wondering about where you want to go in your career – or if you are valued enough in your current role. In fact, one in 10 people have made asking for a pay rise their New Year’s resolution. Asking for a pay rise can be a nerve-wracking experience, but don’t let that deter you – follow our simple tips on the best way to negotiate a raise…

Know your value

As much as we’d all like to be on six-figure salaries, be realistic about what you’re asking for by researching the typical going rate for your job. Check out job sites to see what your competitors are offering, use online salary-checking tools and see if your colleagues are willing to disclose what they are being paid. If it turns out that you are already being paid above the typical salary for your job it could be harder to negotiate a raise, but not impossible. Have a clear figure in mind of what to ask for but, as with all negotiations, aim a little higher than you are hoping for.

Build your case

So you know the figure you are aiming for – now’s the time you need to prove that you deserve it. Read carefully through your job description to identify additional duties and responsibilities that you have taken on, and collate a list of all of the goals you have achieved for the company. Accomplishments that benefit the company through saving costs, boosting productivity or implementing new processes should be noted, along with any contribution that was more than your job demanded should be noted. Actions speak louder than words, so make sure you have solid evidence to back it up.

Timing is everything

The usual times to discuss a pay rise are at an annual performance review or at the end of a financial year, but you can raise the issue at any time – you just need to be mindful of when. If your employer has just announced good financial results or a successful project has been completed, they are likely to be a lot more receptive than if they have just lost a major contract. When arranging the meeting to discuss your wage with your manager, let them know in advance what it’s regarding so that they also have time to prepare.

Be confident

Treat the meeting like a job interview: dress smartly, have a clear idea of what you are going to say and speak with conviction. Make sure to keep it objective rather than emotional – your boss doesn’t need to know that you’re trying to save for a holiday or that your rent has gone up – and avoid ‘soft’ phrases like “I was hoping to…” which could undermine your point. Keep the focus on being rational and calm, consistently demonstrating your value to the company to highlight to your manager why you are worth investing more in.

As with anything in life, it might not go the way you’d hoped. If your request is turned down, ask your employer to set you some objectives to reach over the course of a few months to allow you to further prove your contribution to the workplace.

Have you got any tried and tested tips on negotiating a pay rise? Share them with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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