How to negotiate a pay rise
Many companies will offer annual pay reviews or freelance rate reviews. There is, however, no legal requirement for them to do this. You want to approach your boss to ask for a rise, so what is the best way to do this? It’s not a comfortable thing to do, and there is no ‘right’ way to do it. Follow the steps below to see what you should consider before asking for a pay rise (If you are employed on a pay grade that only allows for incremental increases you may not be able to ask for a pay rise outside of these and a possible yearly increase).
What you'll need:
Possibly a copy of your Company's Staff Handbook and/or
Your Employment Contract.
Whatever your situation, you must prepare for a conversation about your pay.
Ask yourself why, honestly, you want or need a salary/rate increase? Because you feel under-valued? Some people are genuinely under-paid. Are you being fair and realistic? The Salary Calculator from Reed Recruitment, below, may help.
It’s important to recognise the difference between the value of the role that you perform, and your value as an individual. If you are unhappy with your pay, it could be that your employer has simply reached the limit of the value that they can place on your role, which is different to your value as an individual.
If you are changing jobs, the best time to negotiate your salary/rate is after receiving a job offer, and before you accept it. Your bargaining power is strongest at this point.
The most positive way to ask for a rise or bonus is to ask for extra work and responsibility and link this to a pay rise, if not immediately, then in the future. Employers respond to this better than you simply asking for more pay for doing the same job.
If you ask for a raise without asking for extra responsibilities you must do some background work about the normal salary/rate ranges in your type of job. You need to really know what you are worth and what you have achieved recently, and why you deserve the pay rise. You will need to explain what skills and benefits you have brought to the company, any expectations you have exceeded, any additional responsibilities you have taken on.
What if your boss says no? Just because you are asking for a pay/rate rise, you may not necessarily get it – but do not be disappointed if they say no. Firstly, there is always next time and from the feedback you get you can work towards the next occasion. You need to understand the reasons why he/she has said no and reflect on them. It may be due to the fact that you are still developing new skills, in which case, once you feel fully developed, it could be time to ask again. If you really feel you deserve a pay/rate rise and you are not happy working at the company, then you can always search for a new job that would be willing to pay you more. It may be that your current company is not suited to you and this is your sign to take the next step.
Ask for a face to face meeting rather than try to present your case in a letter. Simply ask your boss for a review meeting to discuss your responsibilities and remuneration. In the meeting ask what the opportunities are and how you can improve your salary/rate. Approach it positively and constructively.
Employers generally don’t respond positively to requests for a salary/rate rise because of your personal/home circumstances alone.
It is a good idea to ask for more than you want and that gives you room to negotiate. Expect your boss to propose a counter offer after you have asked for your pay rise.
Your boss may not be able to agree to your request at the meeting. The bigger the company and the further removed your immediate boss is from the top, the less likely a quick answer will be.
Consider asking for non-financial benefits as well – you could ask for training and development and the company may be more inclined to pay for this, as you will be learning more and bringing more value to the company.
The factors which affect your employers response are:
How well paid you are at the moment compared to the market norms and your peers and how valued you are. The rate of inflation and the state of the economy!
The available budget your company has for pay/rate rises - often none, apart from perhaps annual review time - and what precedents would be set for other employees/freelancers by giving you a rise (often a significant issue for the company).
How much extra responsibility you are prepared to take on and how ambitious you are and,
What you will do if you don’t get a raise (i.e. how much you want to stay with your present company and how confident you are that you could find a better job elsewhere) and how easy it would be for them to replace you with someone of similar capability and value at the same or less salary/rate.