How to ask for a pay rise - Part 2: The negotiation

Published: 29 Sep 2017

CJ Obi [square]It can sometimes be uncomfortable to raise the subject of money, but put simply ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. You just need to approach and ask in a positive constructive manner.

The key is to be calm and measured, writes CJ Obi (left), head of town planning and surveying with recruitment consultant Osborne Richardson.

Take your time and don’t enter into any discussions in a negative state of mind. And never, ever negotiate aggressively. If you are ever in a position where you give your boss an ultimatum – such as “Give me a pay rise of I’ll quit” – you will find yourself without the pay rise you’re asking for and you will have created an unpleasant working environment.

Negotiation should be methodical and collaborative. Bring in evidence – if you feel you are being underpaid, research current market rates for your role and refer to them. If you feel you are doing more than you are being paid for, show the evidence of what you have achieved.

In any case, if you work with your boss to create a scenario where you add value to your team and as a result are rewarded you’ll find this works best for everyone involved.

Asking for advancement – and demonstrating to your line manager that you are taking a long-term view of your career with the company – is a positive thing and most managers will be delighted to know their employees are taking their career development seriously.

Five steps to a successful negotiation

Should you name a figure and hold out for it? Or wait for the employer to propose a sum? Should you be accommodating or competitive? Different sources cite different negotiating tactics when asking for a pay rise. Here are five of the most commonly cited approaches to pay negotiation.

  1. Know what you’re asking for. Have your goal in mind and present your case with evidence. Be ready to explain why you deserve what you’re asking for.
  2. Rank your priorities. What really matters to you? Go for the best overall package you can get and know what you’re willing to compromise on or trade.
  3. Be precise with a salary figure. Don’t make it sound like something you’ve plucked out of the air – be accurate and be ready to justify the figure.
  4. Don’t burn your bridges. If things aren’t going your way, don’t make threats to leave or behave truculently. Close the discussion and know what your next step will be – whether it’s to start looking for another job or to fix a date for further discussion later on. Leave the door open.
  5. Whatever you agree, put it in writing immediately. Send it to your boss and to your HR department, restating the conversation.

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