When was the last time you got a pay rise?

Salary negotiation (asking for a salary increase, a pay rise, or simply more money) affects everyone from time to time. Salary negotiation can be incredibly nerve-wracking, particularly for people who haven’t done it before.

The key to negotiating a pay rise is to be prepared. Never go to your employer without researching the market conditions first.


There are constructive ways to approach salary negotiation, and techniques to achieve good outcomes


 Be prepared

Research what your position is worth by looking at job ads, salary surveys – and asking your colleagues. Try to find out what people in comparable positions in the firm or at rival companies earn. Look at job ads in newspapers or on the Internet. Trade magazines frequently carry out salary surveys. You can speak to your HR department confidentially or call recruiters to get their opinion. This helps you enter negotiations armed with evidence to back up your request.


 Right timing

Pick the right time to approach your boss. There are natural times during the year to have these discussions. Sometimes it’s linked to appraisals or performance reviews.


 Practice the Conversation

Being confident and articulate during the conversation with your manager will go a long way towards success. Be prepared to take rejection and take any constructive criticism on board. Have a figure in mind but also be prepared for compromise.


 How much to ask for?

It is a good idea to ask for more than you anticipate and that you give yourself room to negotiate. Expect your boss to propose a counter offer after you have asked for your pay rise sum. You should definitely bargain and you should expect it to usually end up in a middle ground figure so always go in high! For example, if you want 5% of increase, ask for 8%.


 Consider working towards a more senior role

If you are happy to take on more responsibility in order to get a pay rise, speak to your line manager about possible promotion opportunities that may be on offer and discuss with them how you might work towards moving into a more senior role.


 Pick the right person to negotiate with

Avoid passing messages on via a third party or merely dropping hints to everyone that you’re not happy.


 Document, document, document.

Make weekly or monthly notes of all your achievements & how the company and/ or its clients have benefited from your achievements. Throughout the year maintain a diary of your achievements, leads that you passed on to others, examples where you have assisted other team members to sales/income success. Bear in mind that everyone arguing for a salary review will think they have done a great job. Remarkably few will have facts, evidence and examples to back up their claims.


 Approach your boss for a raise you need to create a win-win deal for both of you.

This is one type of approach. You should say that your goal is to have a higher salary and you want to know what to do to perform to a higher level that justifies that salary. Emphasise your commitment to the company, that you get a lot of satisfaction from your job, but that you need to know if there is room for your salary to improve.



Talk about all the good things you’ve done this year, how you’ve helped your organisation make money.



 Think about your demands from the boss’s point of view

Ask why you deserve a pay rise? Give your boss the facts that will allow him or her to justify your increase. Ask yourself what financial benefits you have brought to the company? How have you helped with the smooth running of the department? Have you introduced any new ideas or working practices to the department?


 Think of the negotiation as a competition

This is a different approach and many people thinks is more effective. People, who use a competitive strategy, by identifying their goals and being willing to push for them, end up with significantly higher salaries than those who are accommodative or compromising.


 Explain how a pay rise will help the company

You should be able to demonstrate what you hope to achieve in the next 18 months and how you could improve your work. Don’t promise if you can’t make it.


Some reasons for a rise:

  • Increased your responsibilities or the breadth of your operational area in some way
  • Saved the company’s money
  • Any awards you have received
  • To work longer or more unsociable hours than in the past
  • To travel or stay away from home more
  • Achieved new qualifications or skills (the skills must be related to what you do)
  • Become more self sufficient
  • Tasks you have been individually assigned to do due to your unique skills and abilities
  • Increased your contribution (with ideas, for instance), especially if you can document results coming from that
  • Exceeded expectations or targets in terms of tangible results.


 Make the first offer

It’s much better to make the first offer because you get to set the “anchor”, the figure that affects the trajectory of the negotiation. People who make very high first offers end up with a much better result.


  Look at other options besides money

If money is tight, regardless of your performance, consider other forms of compensation to be flexible with your employer, while still allowing them to reward your contributions.


 Manage expectation

Times are tough and if it’s not in your contract that you will get a salary rise each year, don’t think you have an automatic right.


 Exceed Expectations

If your boss likes a worker with initiative and drive, then you won’t impress him or her by staying late to sharpen all the pencils in the office. If you want a raise for your hard work, then know what qualities your boss looks for in their employees and become the embodiment of them.


 If you are not successful

Ask your boss what will qualify you for a rise in the future & what the timeframe is. Follow up with your boss within the timeframe given to you. Again, if he/ she delays indefinitely, ask for a new timeframe & follow up within the timeframe.


 Be grateful anyway

Be gracious, thank them for their time and consideration and be grateful for what you have. Set your plans to make the following year the best ever.


If you don’t ask you don’t get. Odds are, if you’ve done all this, you’ve just got yourself a pay rise. What are your tips to get a pay rise? Share your comments in the area below.

Good Luck!

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Myriam Balerio is the founder and writer of PA Privé. After kick starting her career as a PA and finding success as an assistant, Myriam later trained in digital and online marketing and has since combined the two disciplines in creating PA Privé, the platform through which she provides sage advice for those in the assistant profession and a network for like-mined PAs and EAs to connect. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Myriam has lived in London for over 10 years and currently lives in London with her husband and French bulldog.


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