How to negotiate a pay rise successfully

Asking for a pay rise might be daunting, but it is a necessary evil. If you feel like you have outgrown your salary by consistently going above and beyond in your role, it might be time to have a conversation with your manager. This is how you should approach it.

1. Ask for a meeting

Request some time with your manager in advance and clearly state that you’d like to discuss your role and performance. Managers don’t like being put on the spot so by doing this you avoid a tense situation that is less likely to result in a positive outcome.

2. It's all in the prep

It is crucial that you gather evidence so that you can justify your worth. Keep track of your achievements and try to link them back to a monetary value where possible, whether this is money generated or money you have saved the business.

3. Sell yourself

Confidently demonstrate your contribution and worth to the company - again, preferably with figures. Numbers are tangible and easy to remember which comes in handy if your manager isn't the final decision maker; you want to make it as easy as possible for them to relay your case to the relevant person.

Stay calm and professional, don’t be defensive or confrontational. 

4. Have a deal in mind

So, how do you know what salary to ask for? When you originally negotiated your starting salary you probably researched average salaries for similar roles in your industry. It’s worth doing this again; find recent salary guides, job ads and check the salary function on LinkedIn.

Consider the minimum you would expect, as well as your ideal package. Start your negotiations around 10% higher than the salary you have in mind - this will leave room for negotiation.

And remember; once you name your price you’ll only ever negotiate downwards.


5. It’s not just about money

If your employer won’t budge on pay for whatever reason, non-financial benefits are a good alternative to a pay rise. Benefits can be flexible working hours, subsidised travel / gym membership, extra holiday days or performance-based incentives. As an example, a day working from home per week will save you 20% of your total travel costs!

Another great benefit that makes you seem devoted and keen is to ask for training and development opportunities. The more knowledge you have > the bigger the asset you are > the more money you are worth.

how to negotiate a pay rise

6. Get your timing right

You don’t need to wait for your next annual review to have the conversation if you can justify a pay rise. Has your performance justified a higher salary? Are you exceeding targets? Outperforming colleagues? And when was your last increase? If within a year, why do you deserve another one so soon?

7. Follow up email

Regardless of the outcome you should send a gracefully put together follow-up email to leave a paper trail. If you are promised to revisit the subject in X months, mention this in the email and add a reminder in your calendar to ensure you follow up.

8. Don’t burn your bridges

If shut down, ask for feedback on your performance. Are there any specific targets you need to reach or additional responsibilities you can take on for the pay rise to be on the cards? You can always make another attempt in 6-12 months, assuming that these targets have been met.

If you decide to move on it's vital that you remain professional. Not only will this (hopefully) give you a glowing reference; you never know if or where your paths might cross again in the future.

If you don’t ask, you sometimes don’t get. Be confident in your abilities and remember – it’s only two people having a conversation.