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How do I negotiate a better salary?

It is important you feel like you are being paid fairly for the work you do but asking for a pay rise can seem awkward! Our tips can help you secure the pay rise.

How do I negotiate a better salary?

You’re at a point in your career where you’ve mastered your current role and are providing more value than your salary reflects, and so it’s time to ask for a salary increase. Asking for a pay rise can be one of the most nerve-wracking employee experiences and takes great courage. While you can’t guarantee you’ll get the outcome you’re looking for, there are steps you can take to drastically improve your chances of success.

Read our guide to negotiating a better salary:

  • Don’t go in blind
  • Be factual
  • Compile recent accomplishments
  • Carry out a salary comparison
  • Be realistic
  • Don’t make demands
  • Cross-sell yourself

When to ask for a pay rise

Timing is everything. Although you may be impatient to get a raise, it’s important to get the timing right. Here are a few good circumstances to ask for an increase:

Performance reviews

Performance reviews are a great time to address your salary. Employers won’t be taken by surprise, and all your achievements will be at the forefront of their mind.

After project completion

When you’ve successfully completed a project, you’ll be in your manager’s good books and can make a strong case for your raise.

When your manager is happy

Ensure you’re not asking for a raise when your manager is stressed and dealing with several problems. Pick a time when things seem to be running smoothly and your manager is upbeat.

8 ways to improve your chances of getting a salary increase

Asking for a raise is a big moment in your career. Make sure you prepare to the best of your ability using these steps:

1. Don’t go in blind 

First things first, preparation is key. Don’t wing it – take the time to prepare and rehearse out of office hours so you can present a structured case for your request.

2. Be factual

Keep your argument factual and not based on your emotions. Use data, facts and figures to show where you’ve excelled – this will create a more compelling case.

3. Compile recent accomplishments

To strengthen your case, make a list of your recent accomplishments. Think about how you’ve improved the company or excelled in your role, including any project work, new skills or initiatives you’ve introduced.

4. Carry out a salary comparison

Make sure you use a salary checker to compare the average UK salary for your role in your area. This will help you to decide what a reasonable pay rise is, and will also help your manager to understand how your salary compares.

5. Be realistic

Make sure you’re realistic with your salary expectations. Don’t just go for the highest possible figure, but really think about whether the amount fairly reflects the value you’re bringing and is comparable to your experience.

6. Be upfront

When speaking with your manager, don’t be afraid to be clear about the salary you think would be a fair reflection of your worth. There’s no point in having the conversation if you’re not going to be upfront about your expectations.

7. Don’t make demands

Although you may feel your pay rise is justified, never make demands. Try not to show any frustrations you have with your salary. Instead, keeping your tone upbeat and professional will make your argument more persuasive.

8. Cross-sell yourself

Figure out what other skills you can offer or duties you’d like to take on, and incorporate this into your argument. This will show your employer they won’t just be dishing out more cash for the sake of it, but they’ll actually receive something in return.

What to expect

  • Challenges: When asking for a pay rise, your boss will likely challenge you and get you to further justify your request. This is normal, so handle all objections professionally and factually.
  • Negotiations: You may have to negotiate on your salary. If your employer suggests a lower salary, justify why you think you’re worth the higher salary. If you’re still unsuccessful, be prepared to come down a little or compensate with other benefits such as annual leave or bonuses.
  • Rejections: You might be unsuccessful in your quest for a pay rise. If that’s the case, work out a structured plan with your manager to achieve your raise. Find out exactly what you need to do and when you can review your progress. If a pay rise just isn’t on the cards, it may be time to consider a new role.

Shoot for the stars

Don’t shy away from asking for a pay rise. If you feel you’re underpaid, you deserve a higher salary. Just remember to time it well, and prepare a strong case for your increase in advance. You might not achieve the outcome you want, but asking for a raise will get the ball rolling in the right direction!

Got an upcoming interview? Read our article on asking about salary expectations!

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