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5-step guide to negotiating a pay rise

Posted on: April 7th, 2015 by admin No Comments


Last year, two fifths of British workers landed significant pay rises of 2% or more1.

If you believe you deserve more money for the work you do but are unsure about when or how to ask your boss for a pay review without making things awkward, follow our simple five-step guide to negotiating a pay rise.

1. Get your timing right

Awarding an employee a pay rise requires the attention of several senior members of staff, including your direct line manager, the head of department, HR support, and possibly even the director. You need these people to be thinking about how you add value to the company, not about how you’re adding to their to-do list, so ask at a time that will cause minimal disruption.

The best time to negotiate a pay rise is during your performance development review (PDR). In fact, you may learn during the PDR that your organisation has already reviewed your pay, resulting in the offer of a pay rise before you even get the chance to ask for one.

If your next PDR is far off, request a formal meeting with your line manager, briefly outlining the agenda in the invite.

2. Know how much you’re worth to your employer

Treat your salary negotiation as a pitch for your services and carry out extensive market research beforehand.

You can find out how much your role pays elsewhere by looking at online job listings or by contacting specialist recruitment agencies. However, albeit a more tedious process, interviewing externally is one of the best ways to secure an accurate benchmark for the compensation package you should be receiving, plus it could strengthen your bargaining position later on if necessary.

Don’t forget to factor in your replacement costs, from recruitment fees to the time and money your company will have to sacrifice to train someone new if you were to leave, incorporating any tangible deliverables at stake within your current projects.

Just be careful to ensure your case doesn’t sound like a threat – the idea is for the proposal to be mutually beneficial.

3. Demonstrate your value

This is no time to be coy. Speak confidently about the accomplishments you’ve achieved whilst working for your company and back up the evidence with written stats and figures, either in presentation form or as printed materials that your manager can take away with them.

If you’re multi-skilled and contribute across departments and outside of your job description, don’t be scared to say so. The more your manager can see the impact you have on the daily smooth running of the workplace and staff morale (on top of your assigned work projects) the better standing you’ll have to request being placed into a higher wage bracket.

4. Be prepared to discuss more than money

Sometimes a manager may feel you deserve a pay rise but the business doesn’t have the budget to make it happen or the organisational structure of the company won’t allow it.

If this situation does occur, you’ll need to be prepared to discuss alternative compensation benefits that you’d be willing to accept, such as:

  • Additional holiday allowance
  • Extra training opportunities
  • Bonus schemes
  • Promotion

Remain collaborative with your boss and put yourself in their position, just as you’d like them to empathise with yours.

5. Sleep on it

Even if you are offered the pay increase you had aimed for, you are under no obligation to accept the offer you are given straightaway. In telling your manager that you will get back to them by the end of the day or within 24 hours, you’ll have time to reflect upon the meeting and take all of the implications of the pay rise into account.

If you are not offered a pay rise, remain polite and thank your manager for taking the time to hear your case, and remember, there is nothing stopping you from negotiating your salary again at your next PDR.

If a pay rise was your only motivation for remaining in your current job and it has not come to fruition, it may be time to move on. The employment market is currently thriving, particularly within the media and marketing fields, thus you may still receive that heavier pay cheque yet.

1 Reuters, 2015. Fortunes of UK workers diverge as many miss out on pay rises. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 1st April 2015].

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