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Negotiating A Pay Rise’ 5 Key Tips To Do It Right

David Law

Thu, 14 Nov, 2019


David Law

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 4 minutes

Few bits of your professional life have the potential to be as nerve-wracking and uncomfortable as asking your boss for a pay rise. From the dawning realisation (‘I should get paid more!’) to working up the courage and planning your salary renegotiation, to actually achieving it, there’s a lot of room for things to go awry.

But you can learn to do it right. The only things you need are a clear mind, some time to think and research, and a solid checklist to get you through the whole process. 

And you’re in the perfect place for that! Our experts know there are 5 crucial steps you can’t miss if you want your pay rise talk to go smoothly: research, introspection, timing, negotiating, and assessing the results. 

Use these 5 key tips for negotiating a pay rise as a roadmap to your preparations— you’ll be laying the groundwork for the salary and career you’ve always wanted.

1. Do your research thoroughly.

Showing up to a pay rise talk (or any business meeting, really) without doing your homework is never a good look. Besides, you can’t know what you should be getting paid if you aren’t aware of the industry standards.

Before you even think about setting up a meeting to talk about your potential pay rise, do the research. Start with the resources you have on hand— ask trusted colleagues in similar roles (both in your company and in others in the same sector) what their salary is and what it’s made up of.  

Then, use the boundless power of the internet! Contact recruiters, take a look at Glassdoor stats or look up salary surveys to see what your actual value is on the market. Take into account your experience and future goals.

2. Know your value (and prove it).

On that same note, the case for your desired pay rise will be stronger if you can prove just how you’re an asset to the company. Think of it as selling a product— what are its best features? What tangible benefits does it offer?

To build a strong business case, start by making a list of your key achievements within the company. Be specific: what goals and targets did you meet or surpass? Include timeframes, figures, and other solid data. It’s all about showing results and an upward trajectory.

3. Pick the right moment.

Even the best plan can tip over and sink if set in motion at the wrong moment. For example, if you present your case for a pay rise at a time your company is having financial trouble, your boss is likely to think that you’re individualistic and don’t care about the organization. If you do it after evaluations and renegotiations have taken place, you’ll come across as out of touch.

The best time to approach your manager about a pay rise is, of course, the company’s established time to do so. Is there an appointed salary or performance review? Perhaps it’s a yearly or semestral occurrence— if you’re not close to it yet, think about whether your request can wait. If you can show a stellar performance at the due review and frame your case in a non-disruptive way, you have a better chance of getting a positive outcome.

4. Negotiate and know your boundaries.

You’ve come to the pivotal moment. After researching and casting your data in the best possible light, you’ve seamlessly asked for a meeting with your boss or manager at the right time. But, before it comes to the actual talking, you need to get clear on what your needs, wants, and boundaries are. 

Are you willing to compromise on the amount of money that’ll go into your new salary? Keep in mind that there are other elements to the benefits package than just salary: bonus, equity, and other benefits (such as health coverage, vacation time, or extra training). Even if your company can’t meet the salary numbers you propose, you might be able to strike a different deal.

Here, the key is to know what you are willing to compromise on and what you won’t do without. At the same time, try to keep in mind your company’s situation and overall goals. This way, you’re more likely to find a compromise that benefits both parties.

5. Count the losses and the gains.

After your pay rise negotiations, you might walk away with the exact thing you wanted, a different possible offer, or nothing at all. Whatever the case, take some time to mull over what happened. If you have a decision to make (say, whether to accept a proposed offer or not), ask for time to consider. Even a quiet night to clear your mind can help you make a better choice. 

Now, you might have a seemingly incredible offer in your hands. Alternatively, your manager might have decided that a pay rise isn’t the way to go for you right now. In either case, it’s important that you remain courteous and show gratitude for the chance to present your request. If you decide that, despite an insufficient offer, you want to stay in the company, staying professional will pave the way for a future salary increase. And, if you choose to leave, you’re more likely to get a good recommendation to show your future employer. 

Finally, remember that every pay rise is only really worth it if it fits within the larger plan of your career— and you should definitely create one! If you’re looking for the next step in your ladder of goals, get in touch with us: we’re experts at helping you find the best opportunities for growth.

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