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How to Negotiate a Pay Rise

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​One of the first things cut from businesses budgets when the Covid-19 pandemic struck was annual pay rises and bonuses. Our recent Salary Survey (which you can download here) highlighted that 4 in 10 revealed they had taken a pay-cut of approximately 5-20%, while over a third had lost their bonus.

Although the economy is forecast to return to pre-pandemic figures earlier than expected, the purse strings are still going to be closely guarded. It may seem that the prospect of asking for a pay rise may seem futile, but it’s not.

Knowledge is power. It’s important that you equip yourself with all the information and ammunition you need to ensure that you negotiate with confidence.

  • Research your company’s financial state – take into consideration how the company is performing and their plans for the future

  • Understand your market value using our 2021 Salary Survey or our online Salary Benchmarking Tool – ascertain if you’re paid the market average and if you’re not you can present this information to your employer

  • Try and speak to your colleagues and those at a similar level to you to try and ascertain if you’re at a similar pay grade. If you’re at a lower level but a high performer, the onus is on your employer to explain why. If you’re a freelancer, compare your day rates across clients.

  • Formulate a list of achievements, demonstrating your successes and what value you have brought to the business and also what you are working on for the future

It’s also important to find the right time to have a conversation with your boss. The best way to approach this is to find out when your next appraisal is and set out an agenda in advance.

Admittedly, it’s an easier option to wait for sunnier days, but this maybe a costly decision. People that don’t ask for a raise risk allowing resentment to build up, which can have a detrimental impact on your work, relationships and mental state.

Prior to the appraisal, send across your list of key achievements, outlining the salary increase you’re looking for. By doing so sets out your expectations and will provide you with confidence and conviction when presenting your case. 

When talking about money, make sure you remain calm and collected, making eye contact and using pauses and silences. Be upfront with what you're looking for and resist the urge to keep talking or arguing your point; you will only work against yourself. Instead, let the silence linger and don’t break it. It's likely, your boss will take your silence as unhappiness with the offer and will either raise the amount suggested or will ask what number you think is appropriate. 

You should always prepare a best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) in your mind if your request is rejected. If the company are not in a position to increase your wage, what else are they willing to move on – bonuses, holiday, benefits, perks, training?

You should also book in your next appraisal or catch-up during the meeting to ensure that you keep the conversation live. Finally, make sure you get anything promised in writing so that your employer cannot renege on anything.

Here some frequently asked questions around salaries:

If I am offered a lower salary, should I negotiate?

The most important thing is to find out why they are offering you a lower rage. Understanding the context will allow you to negotiate accordingly – it’s about getting a salary which makes you feel valued, and reflects your skills and experiences.

How should I go about this negotiation?

As highlighted above, knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you will feel confident in your ability to construct a sound proposal. You should also consider your own career progression, if they are offering you a lower salary now, could they put in objectives for you to achieve in the next 3 to 6 months to get you to the salary you want.

Should I disclose my current salary in job applications?

No – one of the main factors that perpetuates a lack of equality in salaries is that those that are underpaid are judged on their current salary as opposed to what they should be earning. Your current salary is irrelevant and therefore shouldn’t be disclosed. Your new employer should be judging you based on your skills, experience and worth in your new role. This is one of our commitments as part of our ‘Earn Your Worth’ initiative.

What else should I consider before accepting a Salary?

Lots of people focus on salary, but the package can be just as important. There are many other factors such as holiday allowance, pension and benefits; plus there are also cultural aspects that you should consider.

For any additional support around salaries then please do get in touch with us: