Sooner or later you’re going to have to have “The Talk”. You’re going to have to make an appointment with your boss and make your case for a pay rise. It can be a stressful time as you never know whether it will go through without a hitch, or whether you’ll be turned down after what seemed like hours of preparation and persuasion. Even the best-laid plans can go awry (after all your company might simply not be able to afford to pay you more) but by following these tips we think you’re going to put yourself in a pretty strong bargaining position.
1. Make them understand that they could lose you
Recruitment can be a huge hassle for employers. They have to advertise for the position, conduct interviews, induct a new member of staff, and at the end of it they might end up with someone who doesn’t gel with the rest of the staff or can’t do the job as well as you can.
2. Do your research
It sounds obvious but doing your research is crucial. If you know what you can get working for a competitor and how buoyant the jobs market is, then you will be able to build a much stronger case for a rise.
There are two main pieces of evidence you want to determine from your researching:
Could you get a job doing the same thing elsewhere without relocating? Chances are, if you live in London the answer will be “yes” but if you’ve managed to end up in a very specialist niche then there might not be a directly comparable position. In this case, if you could do the jobs that are on offer, you could be in a very strong position if you are irreplaceable but prepared to move.
Have a figure in mind. In fact, have three. Have a “best-case” figure. That’s what you’d love to be paid (but be realistic – no one’s going to offer you a six-figure salary if you’re currently not even in the higher rate tax bracket). Then also have an “acceptable” figure. This will be what you’ll actually be happy with if you end up negotiating on figures. And don’t forget to know exactly what you’re being paid so you can judge if you’re being offered a sensible increment or not.
3. Get the timing right
Plan when you’re going to ask for your pay rise and arrange a meeting with your manager. If you have an appraisal coming up, then that is the perfect time to ask. Whatever you do don’t ask your manager when they’re busy, stressed about an upcoming project or in the middle of coffee in front of the rest of the team.
It’s also not a good idea to ask for a pay-rise if you’ve been struggling recently and are in your boss’s bad books. Even though it might have been Network Rail’s fault that you were late five times in the last two weeks it’s still just going to look a bit cheeky to ask for more money.
4. Plan what you’re going to say
It’s best to avoid saying things like “Pete gets paid more than me and I work harder than he does”. That comes across as bitter and grabby.
A better introduction would be to state the reasons why you think you are due to a pay rise. Say something like “I’ve been on this pay level for a while now and I think it would be fair if you were to offer me a salary review”.
Then you need to back up your request with hard facts about what you’ve done to merit more money. You might think your boss knows all about the work you’ve done but now is the time to actually take ownership of your work and spell it out for them. The STAR technique, like you, would use to answer interview questions, can be helpful here.
5. Don’t be discouraged if it’s a no
Accept rejection gracefully and ask for feedback on why it’s been denied. If it’s something you’ve got control over, then fix it – ask for further training if that’s what it takes.
And if external factors came into play, such as company-wide financial constraints, then you can always start applying for those jobs you found when you were researching your proposal.