Here’s how to negotiate a pay rise

Be flexible, know your role and dress like a million dollars — even if you’re not earning that quite yet...

It’s that time of year. You’ve just about made it through the fiscally tough month of January and now you’ve made a resolution that you’ll never have to penny-pinch ever again. But that means plucking up significant courage, marching into your boss’ office and having one of the most nerve-wracking conversations in business.

But the pay rise pow-wow doesn’t have to be drenched in flop sweat and doomed to failure. Instead, if you just follow our foolproof guide, you’ll be skipping out of the office with both your financial security and dignity in tact.

Know your role inside out

A surprising amount of us aren’t even 100 per cent sure what our job actually is. Sure, we clock in and clock out, and fill the hours with mindless drudgery, but if you can name every single responsibility your specific position demands, we’ll eat our employment contracts.

So, before you argue that you need more money, it makes sense to undertake a full review of your job description. This way, you’ll be able to show how you’ve hit every marker demanded of you and prove that you’re going above and beyond in the workplace.

Know your worth — and don’t be too humble

There are plenty of salary calculators out there. And, with a quick search, you can explore all the factors that may contribute to the amount you’re paid. It’s not all about the position, after all. Everything from experience to location can impact on your pay packet. For example, a marketing director in London will bring home around £84,200 — but, if he was working in San Francisco, he would be looking at $130,000.  

So these online calculators can help better work out just how much money you should be on, and will give you extra ammunition in the conversation with your superiors about how much you deserve.

Set goals for yourself

This is an important one. If you’re looking for more money, more responsibilities will likely follow hot on its heels. And you need to be prepared to pitch ideas as to how you can earn your keep.

Approach your line manager and, if you can both agree on realistic and measurable goals for you, then you’ll have yourself a nice and easy metric against which your boss can measure your growth and worth in the company.

Grow your skills

There is nothing wrong with looking outside your immediate role to see how you can take on extra skills. There are online courses for everything these days, from learning a new language to mastering how to use Excel — although that may as well be a different language as far as many are concerned…

Spreadsheets aside, we’d recommend taking a look around your office and identifying some of the higher-flyers. What do they do to go the extra mile? Find that out and follow suit.

Take on more responsibility

Most managers will probably be reluctant to offer any increase in pay until they can see evidence that you are more than worth it. The best way to demonstrate this is going above and beyond in the workplace — before you ask for more money.

This might not necessarily mean staying late everyday, but make sure you’re doing more than you’re currently paid to do for a couple of months and you’ll soon be indispensable.

Think long term

While your main motivation for the extra cash might be for a new watch or two weeks in the Bahamas, it pays not to tell your boss that this is your incentive. Instead, focus on your aspirations and ambitions within the company — and how you want to help better your workplace.

Think progression, responsibility and adding value to the business. Your boss is far more likely to care about this than your desire to top up your tan.

Be flexible

Don’t be too stubborn when it comes to negotiation. If you’ve actually got your boss to a place where they’re keen to discuss an increase, that’s half the battle won — and you don’t want to shoot down that progress by being bull-headed.

So perhaps start by looking outside your company and seeing what other businesses offer for a comparative role. That way, you’ll have some bargaining power, and the chance to leverage your existing position. After all, if you could get better money elsewhere, why would you stay?

Dress for the job (and pay) you want

It was Oscar Wilde who once said: “You can never be overdressed or overeducated” — and that has never rung as true as when entering a pay negotiation. So ensure that you look a million dollars even if you’re not quite earning that much. Yet.

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