How to discuss a salary increase with your boss

ON August 31, 2018

Negotiating a salary increase can be the most uncomfortable part of your job. The outcome could disappoint you, particularly if you haven’t had a raise in a few years but if you want to stay at the same company while earning more, then plan how to achieve this goal. You need to convince your employer that your contribution is worth a pay rise. There are many possibilities to consider so here are some ways to approach this sensitive subject.

Research

Always carry out some research before requesting a pay increase.

  • Find out the average salary for your job role in the UK – Knowing how much others earn in your sector provides a helpful comparison point. You can use data on websites like GOV and Glassdoor to compare your current salary.
  • Look into your current work progression plan – Many companies have clear career paths that climb a salary ladder. Knowing this can help you identify how you want to progress in your workplace and achieve a higher wage.
  • Be realistic about the company’s position – If your company can’t afford a salary increase, you might need to have a meeting with your employer.

Once you have collected all the necessary substantial information to negotiate a pay rise, take all this along with a notebook into the meeting.

Time

Picking the right moment to talk to your employer is crucial. Certain occasions are naturally better suited; a performance review can be perfect, especially if you have performed well, but lunchtime would be worse because your employer will be occupied with something else. Don’t request a meeting during stressful or high-priority situations, such as while a big project unfolds. The best method is to set up a meeting well in advance that both you and your employer have agreed to.

Negotiate

Don’t expect a pay rise to just fall into your lap. Salary can be a sensitive topic, particularly if your position is at stake. Build a strong case for yourself by outlining your contributions to the organisation, your achievements and recent successes. Here are some phrases you could start with:

  •  ‘I think I should receive pay rise because…’
  •  ‘With the new responsibilities I’ve acquired…’
  •  ‘What path can I take to achieve a salary increase?’

Strategise

While negotiating your salary, there are many strategies to avoid.

  • Don’t give an ultimatum unless you’re willing to lose your job – Ultimatums should be used as a last resort when you’re at your wit’s end. An employer who is backed up in the corner can feel defensive and might make harsh decisions, so don’t leave them with limited options if they don’t agree to a pay rise. The last thing you want to happen is for you to be writing your resignation letter.
  • Don’t use information about colleagues’ salaries – An employer won’t want to hear what others have said. The conversation is between you and your boss.
  • Don’t get annoyed with the final answer if you don’t like it – Coming across as irritated or angry will give the impression that you’re difficult to manage or work with.
  • Don’t ask over email – Although acceptable to arrange a meeting via email, the subject should be negotiated face-to-face because of its complexity.

Evaluate

Though you may not get the outcome you wanted, remember that good employers won’t decline rises without reason. Employers put a lot of thought into these decisions and will explain them. Take on board their explanation so you can re-evaluate your next steps to achieving a pay rise.

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