Top tips for negotiating a pay rise

Posted in Blog on 23 Feb 2021

Very few people relish the thought of heading into salary negotiations, but it is vital for both you and your organisation that you feel you’re being fairly recognised and compensated, particularly when you’ve earned your stripes and have demonstrated loyalty. Consider what the remuneration policy is and where your current package sits within this. Are you subject to scheduled salary reviews?

Once you have considered this context, we would always advise that you enter negotiations with the intention to influence. The last thing you want is to back the other person into a corner and make them feel that they are facing an ultimatum. To get the best outcome for all, this needs to be an open discussion about what you bring to the table and what is fair remuneration taking into consideration all factors.

Timing is everything.

Asking for a raise can be disruptive for employers, so it is essential you get your timing right. If you get it wrong, you can get yourself labelled by senior people in the organisation as a pain, at a time when they need to be thinking more about your value.

Research your market value.

Negotiating a pay rise is primarily about your value. Get an idea of what you should be asking for by speaking to people doing similar roles to you within your company, in the same sector and in similar organisations. Talk to recruiters or check out our salary survey data.

Know what you're asking for.

Begin with the end in mind. Be clear about why this is so important to you and your rationale behind your request. Why does this have to be done now? Where does your salary fit into overall career trajectory? Make the effort to understand the organisation's process for making pay awards. Find out how it works, who is involved in the decision.

Build a strong business case.

Having a water-tight business case and evidence of your recent achievements and continuing delivery above expectations is always the best course of action. Record specific things you did and significant moments and events of contribution.

Present your case.

When presenting your business case to whoever you are negotiating with, highlight the successful projects you have been involved in. Draw attention to quantifiable data, such as figures and timeframes. Think commercials here and again always go back to the value add.

Be ready for discussion and negotiation.

Be well prepared to discuss your pay and the market. Be clear with yourself on what your boundaries are. How much scope for flexibility are you going to allow? What are you willing to accept or not accept?

Take time when considering the offer.

Each situation is different, and you may need more or less time to consider the offer depending on how close it is to what you want and what the other options may be. If you are asked how long you need to think the offer over, say you will let them know that day or that you'll sleep on it, depending on how much time you need. Even if you think that the offer is perfect, I recommend giving yourself at least a night to think it through.

Close the deal.

If you get an offer that is not what you wanted, you can easily say it is close enough or not. Whether you get what you want or not, you need to close the discussion. Do that by saying: "Thank you, I appreciate your time and offers. I appreciate you've taken on board my case and listened." Whatever has happened, if you are happy to stay, then stay. If you are not happy to stay, then you will have to consider leaving.

And finally.

It is important to try to remain as positive and professional as possible; you want to reinforce what an asset you are to your firm and how you can be depended on to keep a level head.

Be realistic about whether the organisation can afford what you are asking for. If a business simply cannot stretch to the salary you feel you are worth, you may want to think about negotiating other benefits such as healthcare or flexible working.

Salary negotiation is a challenging process for many professionals, but it can be one of the most rewarding things you do for your career. Have confidence in the value you bring to the business and let this shine.

However sometimes a new role is the only way to achieve your salary expectations and it could be time to start making appointments to discuss your future.

The art of salary negotiation is a key career skill that will help you throughout your working life but not a skill that is easy to master. Good luck

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