Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
How to negotiate a pay rise 04/07/2012
Despite the current economic climate, there's no reason a valuable employee shouldn't be rewarded with a higher salary. Maggie Berry explains how to negotiate a pay rise.
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Do you deserve a raise?
Negotiating a pay rise can be a daunting feat, especially in today’s economic climate. The cost of living is rising, but salaries don’t appear to be following suit. There has been much media coverage regarding unemployment and pay freezes so you would be forgiven for thinking now is not the right time to ask for a raise.
But if you are an asset to your company, there is no reason why your career should not be progressing, and more responsibility should be rewarded with a higher salary.
Do your research
Begin by finding out what your employer’s policy is on salary. Are raises discretionary? Or implemented as a percentage increase across the whole organisation? If salaries are subjective, consider who the correct person to proposition is. Organisational structures vary between companies so do your homework to determine who you need to address.
Most business sectors follow salary trends and generally these have only been subject to inflationary increases in recent years so investigate the industry standard salary for your role. You can find realistic market rates by checking adverts for vacancies for similar positions. If your salary is below todays going rate, this strengthens your case for an increase.
Timing is everything
Choose your moment carefully. Asses your company’s financial position and consider if they can afford to raise your wage at this particular time. If it is obvious they are underperforming financially hold fire until they are showing signs of recovery.
It may be wise to time your request to coincide with a regular review orappraisal, or during a time when you are preforming exceptionally well professionally – maybe after closing a deal, completing a project or winning an award.
Keep it real
Many organisations are under pressure to keep costs down, so any request you make should be realistic – don’t ask for a 50% rise if you know that colleagues have received an extra 5%. If you do not execute negotiations professionally you risk losing the respect of your employer and undermining the credibility of your request.
You should broach the subject with tact and civility and only ask for what you believe you deserve. Your employer is essentially buying your skills and expertise and if you believe these are worth more than they are currently paying explain why.
Put forward your case
Before you begin negotiations be clear about what you hope to achieve. Think about the reasons for your request and what you are willing to settle for should you not be granted your asking price. Are you willing to take extra responsibilities for more money? If you are offered no rise but an improved benefits package will you accept? Arrange a meeting and come prepared with examples of your achievements and how you have progressed since your last review.
If you don’t get the response you were wishing for, politely thank your manager for their time and ask if you can make arrangements for another review in six months time. Ask for advice on what factors enable career progression within the company and if there is anything you can do to increase your chances next time around.
Never argue your point. Present a strong case and leave the ball in their court. If you really believe you are undervalued in your organisation it may be time to start looking for another opportunity, but rowing with the boss will only create an unpleasant atmosphere and affect your working relationship.
In these times of economic uncertainty, many believe that salary increases are unobtainable. But if you are integral to the success of your company, and you believe you deserve a rise, you can but try. Organisations understand the importance of retaining their talent so if you have the evidence to back up your case, start planning your negotiations today – you never know what doors it may open.
Maggie Berry, owner, Women in Technology
Maggie runs Women in Technology, a leading networking forum for women working in the technology profession in the UK.