5 Tips for Negotiating a Pay Rise from Your Boss

See also: Assertiveness

Getting a raise at work isn’t always easy. While some people will be lucky enough to earn one as part of a promotion package, for most of us there’s no choice but to face the daunting prospect of actually asking for one outright.

Starting this conversation with your boss is scary enough in the first place, and successfully negotiating a salary that recognizes your true value as an employee is another obstacle to overcome.

To help out, here are some tips that will let you steer the negotiations in the direction you want them to go, rather than leaving you feeling frustrated.

Negotiating a pay rise.

Take all the opportunities you’re offered

One of the best ways to get yourself a pay rise is to say ‘yes’ whenever you can. Embrace the opportunities that come your way, rather than steering clear of them because you feel that they are outside of the remit of your role.

This might mean taking on more responsibilities when asked, or tackling persistent problems that are plaguing mission-critical processes.

Not every request from your boss has to be acquiesced to, of course. But should you feel the need to refuse an opportunity, it only makes sense to do this if you also have a valid reason, or a suggestion for an alternative strategy instead.

If you have proven yourself willing by leaping at the chances placed in your path, then asking for a raise will be a natural next step.

Do your research

You can’t negotiate effectively if you don’t know what you’re actually worth in the current market for the role you have, as well as the education and experience you bring to bear on it.

Keeping tabs on job ads and official wage data for similar positions in other, equivalent organizations will let you know whether or not your current salary is competitive. You can then use this as a jumping off point for negotiating a pay rise.

Asking colleagues about their remuneration is also an option. This might feel like an awkward conversation to have, but it is better for everyone if there is transparency over pay.

Have a face-to-face meeting

As tempting as it might be to distance yourself from the process of asking for a raise by putting the request in an email or chatting via instant message, it’s better to face the music and carry out the negotiations in person.

In the age of remote work, obviously this might not be a possibility. But negotiating in a video call via Skype or Zoom will serve just as well in this case.

This is not just about getting your points across and expressing yourself to the fullest, but also about showing your boss that this is not some throwaway, spontaneous request, but rather something you have thought long and hard about. They will respect that you took the time to talk to them one-on-one in this way.

Of course, that is not to say you should blindside your boss with a discussion of your pay. It is sensible to provide them with a general sense of what you intend to talk about when arranging the meeting, so that they too have time to prepare. This could avoid a lot of awkwardness when the negotiations are underway and is good office etiquette in any context.

Focus on your achievements and look to the future

It’s probably obvious that anyone who asks for a raise needs to draw their boss’ attention to the things they have achieved in their role which go towards justifying this request.

However, as well as doing this, you should also point to the plans you have put in place going forward. If you show that you see a bright future for yourself in the company, and moreover have a strategy for getting ahead, then giving you a pay rise to keep you onboard will be more appealing.

Get the timing right

There are a few factors that can influence the way you time your raise request. First and most obviously, check to see if a business has specific points in the year when it offers raises to eligible employees.

This usually coincides with the process of putting together budgets for each department, so take this into account as a start.

Second, you need to be ready to strike when the right moment presents itself. For example, if one of your team mates has recently departed for greener pastures, this could be a good time to request a bump to your salary.

The reason for this is that recruitment costs companies cash, and keeping existing employees loyal is far more affordable, so granting your raise request to stop you jumping ship as well might be a priority for bosses.

Of course, this is another instance in which a bit of prior research will stand you in good stead. There’s no point asking for a raise if the business has just suffered a dip in profits, or when the performance of your team has fallen short of expectations. Good timing is as much about knowing when to keep quiet as speaking out.

Another point to make in this context is that you can cause consternation if you initiate pay rise negotiations too frequently.

It’s not unreasonable to have this conversation annually with your boss, but if you are doing this more regularly than this then it will scupper your chances of actually getting ahead.

Also recognize that if your requests for a raise are turned down year after year, it’s time to move on and find a new employer. If you are being undervalued and there is no sign of this changing, you have no obligation to stick with the same company.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Interpersonal Skills eBooks.

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Concluding considerations

We all deserve a salary that reflects our contribution to our employer and puts us on a level pegging with colleagues and counterparts in similar roles elsewhere.

Planning, research and hard work will all assist you in negotiating a pay rise, and if your boss is convinced of your value and has the means to do so, getting a raise shouldn’t be an impossible aim.

About the Author

Cristina Par is a content specialist with a passion for writing articles that bridge the gap between brands and their audiences. She believes that high-quality content plus the right link building strategies can turn the tables for businesses small and large.