If you’re starting a new job or looking to grow in your current role, negotiating a salary rise can be extremely awkward and daunting — but it doesn’t have to be.
Even if you were once happy with your current salary, the time will come again when the value of the work you do isn’t reflected in the compensation you receive.
When this time comes, it’s important to be prepared and strategize your next move. You need to build an objective, evidence-based case that supports your desired package and start thinking about what the negotiation process may look like.
Here are a few tips to help you negotiate a pay rise and help boost your career:
Figure out what you’re doing
Do your research. It’s often unwise to compare yourself to others, but in this instance it’s totally justified. Look at the market and try and get a sense of what someone in your position and with similar experience would be paid by a company in the same location as you.
Be realistic and understand your leverage: your negotiating power will heavily depend on your current employment situation. If you’re negotiating a package for a new role, ask whether you can negotiate the offer as it may not be negotiable to begin with.
Build a case to support your negotiations
As I said, you’ll need to build a case and you’ll need to be objective. Negotiating a salary isn’t necessarily about getting the pay you want, but ultimately proving to your employer that you are worth the investment.
Think about your roles and responsibilities and have a clear idea of what’s included in your job description and what duties transcend this. Jot down specific examples of how you’ve added value to your team and organization.
Think about what you want
Think about what you want and what your priorities are: are you financially motivated or are you looking for a role that offers more flexibility or remote working?
Remember you don’t have to limit negotiations to just pay, you can also look to improve tuition, training stipends, paid leave, holiday time, pensions, and maybe even moving expenses.
Practise, practise, and practise some more
Practise really does make perfect. Whatever you do, don’t start negotiations without having rehearsed your pitch.
Find someone you trust to listen to your proposal until you feel at ease and hone your delivery. Ask that person to put you on the spot so that you can get a sense of how a real-life scenario might develop.
Be conscious of timing
Choose your moment. Timing really is of the essence so think about when it’d be acceptable to bring up salary negotiations.
If your employer is currently undergoing restructuring or financial hardship, attempting to negotiate a raise will appear tone deaf and it’s likely you won’t be taken seriously.
Be prepared for push back
You may not get a ‘yes’ straight away so be prepared to get some pushback. You need to be prepared to answer questions such as why you think you deserve the salary you’re asking for.
Try and remove your feelings and emotions from the negotiation process — remember it’s not personal. Stay focused, calm, and collected and don’t bow under pressure. Be gracious.
Have a range in mind
Think about a minimum and a maximum figure. You’ll need to be firm, but also flexible. Be prepared to offer a salary range, and not a specific figure. You won’t get what you want if you refuse to give any ground or if you agree to a minimal increase.
Negotiating a salary isn’t a linear process and you need to allow for some back-and-forth.
Never accept the first offer
Whatever you do, don’t accept the first offer. Take your time to evaluate the proposal and ask any necessary follow up questions before you deliberate. If you need time to think about the offer, specify a deadline and then come back with a counteroffer.
Get confirmation in writing
And finally, whatever you do, get it in writing. Once you secure an offer you’re happy with, ensure you get it in writing to avoid any problems. Make sure you are clear about the terms, what’s expected of you, and how your performance will be measured going forwards.
Also, just because you’ve managed to negotiate conditions you’re happy with, be prepared to continue doing so as your role changes and evolves. If you become complacent about pay, so will your employer.
Now put these tips to good use and go get that raise!