You may feel like you should be paid more for what you do, but there are some crucial dos and don’ts when you decide to go in and pitch for a raise.
Here are six of the best ways to negotiate a higher salary.
Do: Ask for one
It sounds obvious but most people don’t get a pay rise because they don’t ask! Why? Well, they may not feel confident about the best way to go about it, or they could be worried that they will be turned down, or may even lose their jobs.
In a UK survey, reported in The Guardian, only 1 in 6 employees felt confident enough to ask their boss for a pay rise. The statistics were worse for female employees - 80% of the women felt underpaid, two-thirds had never asked for more money – and those who had, described it as one of the most stressful things they'd ever done.
Despite the anxiety that it may cause, all of us have to negotiate our salaries during the course of our working lives so the next step is to get ready.
Increase your chances of success by going in with a well planned business case for your pay rise. This should include your recent achievements and your performance. It’s good to be able to show that you are delivering above and beyond your job description and expectations and will continue to do so.
This is essential because you have to be able to demonstrate you’re worth paying more. Plus it’s important to know what your value is in the current job market. See what published data is available online for salaries in your role and by talking to recruiters or colleagues in the same sector or similar companies.
The free salary exchange website Live Salary has some great information.
True story: Karl, a Systems Architect, spent three months putting together the presentation to support his pay review.
“It ran to 21 pages and included graphs and data from different stakeholders in the company about my results over the previous 12 months. I put hours of effort into it. The board were impressed and signed off on it immediately. I also got a bonus, so it was totally worth the time it took.”
Don’t: Ask by phone or email
Pay rise negotiations are better done face-to-face so make an appointment with your manager to raise the issue so you can have the space and privacy to discuss in full. It’s also good to flag what the purpose of the meeting is beforehand, so your boss can also be prepared.
Do: Consider the context
Timing as they say is everything. Consider how the company and the wider economy are performing. It’s important to be realistic and match your salary expectations to what’s happening financially; both inside and outside the company.
For example, a recent survey by the Australian Institute of Management shows average salaries are predicted to slow to 3.4% in 2015 and slow even further to 3.2% in 2016. If profitability is low it’s less likely the company will increase spending.
A good time to approach a pay rise is around the time of any annual pay review.
Don't: Just focus on money
Don’t be fixated on the dollars (important as they are). There are many ways you can negotiate a better working situation. Bonus incentives based on delivering objectives and targets, more flexible working conditions - for example being able to work from home, or other benefits and perks are all good places to start.
Don’t: React if it’s a no
In the event your pay rise is turned down don’t take it personally. Use the opportunity to have a look at why. Did you present your best possible case? Was the timing out? Review things objectively and then prepare for another try when you can better prove your value.
Do: Consider if it’s time to move on?
Sometimes it’s easier to get promoted or a higher salary by getting a new job, this is especially true if you don’t feel valued in your current role. Weigh it up and do the research to see if a move is right for you.