“Help! How do I ask a pay rise?”

Many people would love their job to pay more, but few relish the thought of asking for a pay rise. Particularly given the challenging economic climate, asking for more money might seem inappropriate or intimidating. However, if you genuinely feel you are underpaid for the role that you do, you shouldn’t let your fear of discussing money hold you back from having this difficult conversation.

If you’d like to try and negotiate a pay rise in your current job – or with a recent job offer – you need to do your homework. There are a number of things to consider before you approach the conversation. The good news is – if you approach the conversation in an appropriate and sensible way, it could ultimately go on to strengthen your relationship with your boss (or potential boss) – even if their answer is no.

Here are my 6 tips for approaching the all-important salary negotiation:

  1. Prepare in advance

Equip yourself by planning in advance what you want to say and when. Don’t be afraid to bring along a few notes to the conversation to use as prompts if you get stuck in the conversation – this will make you seem committed and prepared. Keep you notes to brief bullet points rather that scripting out a whole speech – this could come across as quite forceful or robotic to the person who receives it!

  1. Know your worth 

This is a very important one. Do your research in advance so you can communicate typical salaries of your role elsewhere in the market. You can use sites like Glassdoor – or general job boards – to find salaries of equivalent roles. Explain to your manager that it’s important for your experience to be recognised, and for your salary to be aligned with market rates, so that you feel valued and are able to deliver to your best ability.

  1. Avoid ultimatums 

Sometimes it’s tempting to lay down your ground rules in a ‘take it or leave it’ way. This isn’t conducive to collaborative negotiation, and may cause your employer to shut down the conversation quickly. Try and avoid any kind of rash request in the heat of the moment. If you receive an offer that you’re not sure about, thank the person and ask if you can have 24 hours to consider this.

  1. Work with, not against your boss 

If you’re negotiating directly with your manager (either current or prospective), ask for their support in getting the raise you want. If you approach them in a confrontational way, they may get defensive give you a hard no. Remember, your boss is human too – however be sensitive to the possibility that the person you’re negotiating with might not be satisfied with their own current salary. If your immediate boss isn’t the decision maker, explain to them you’d like their support in approaching whoever this is.  You might even want to ask their advice on how you can best approach this.

  1. What’s in it for them? 

If you’re negotiating a pay rise with a current boss, share with them a list of your key achievements to date. Be clear and specific of the value you have added to them as a manager, as well as the wider organisation. Avoid making it all about you and your wants – your boss might not be that interested in the fact that your rent has sky rocketed in the last year, but they will be interested in the value and experience you add to their team.

  1. If it’s a no…

Don’t assume it’s a no forever. Ask for guidance as to what needs to happen for it to be a yes at a later date. Try and get any future offers in writing, so you can refer to this at a later date. Be persistent and proactive, but maintain a positive and collaborative attitude – avoid moaning!

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