The art of salary negotiation is a key career skill that will help you throughout your working life. Here are our top tips for planning and executing a strategy to help you get the pay rise you believe you deserve.

Timing is of the Essence

Asking for a raise can be disruptive for employers, so it’s essential you get your timing right. Using review meetings, performance meetings or appraisals for this level of discussion is the best place. Ensure that the meeting is planned, constructed and you have had time to prepare reasoning and facts to support your request. Your request has to have a value and benefits attached for both yourself and your employer.

Fact-Find and Figure Out

Negotiating a pay rise is primarily about your value. Get an idea of what you should be asking for by speaking to people doing similar roles to you within your company, in the same sector and in similar organisations.

Talking about money in a workplace can be frowned upon, so be careful, respectful and transparent. The best person to ask advice from is your line manager.

Also take a look at salary surveys and checkers, as well as speaking to recruiters.

Know What You’re Asking For

‘Begin with the end in mind’ – Be clear about why this is so important to you and your reasons behind it.

Topics to consider are: Why does this have to be done now? Where does your salary fit into your overall career trajectory?

Make the effort to understand the organisation’s process for making pay awards. It is important the money your company will be giving you has a ‘return on investment’.

It’s Good To Talk

Your line manager will need to be involved at some point, even if they don’t have the power or influence to make the final decision. It’s useful to know what they will do for you, just as much as knowing what they might need from you. Maybe ask for their advice?

Build Your Case

You’re going to need a fool-proof business case and evidence of your skills, value and contribution to the company.

Think about the following:

  • Record specific things you did and significant moments and events.
  • Include examples of your work and projects you were on.
  • How you work with different teams and your relationships with key people.
  • You need to show that you’ve been working well on tasks that are beyond what everyone else is doing.
  • You need to prove you’re worth an additional investment of company funds.
  • Can you show your employer you are worth it and have gone over and above the call of duty?.

When presenting your case to whoever you’re negotiating with, highlight the successful projects you’ve been involved in.

Use figures, facts, values, profits, contribution and timeframes.

Go over your track record in producing results and other stages of your work history that demonstrate your value.

Ready, Steady, Negotiate

Be well prepared to discuss your pay at the negotiating table: make sure you know what you deserve. Be clear with yourself on what your boundaries are. How much scope for flexibility are you going to allow? What are you willing to accept or not accept?

You have the option to go back with a compromise and other suggestions. Think about a solution that could fit in well with your strategy. There may be different elements of your pay package that could be interchangeable or traded-off. Identify what these are so that you know what your options are.

Be prepared to work out a plan to achieve your pay rise if the initial request is declined.

Silence is Golden

Don’t be tempted into speaking or committing yourself to an offer too early. Negotiation is about pacing. It is important you make an educated decision and sleep on what you have worked so hard to achieve. People appreciate a well thought out approach – it shows long term planning and commitment to a decision.

Each situation is different and you may need more or less time to consider the offer depending on how close it is to what you want and what the other options may be.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

If you get an offer that’s not what you wanted, you can easily say it’s close enough, or it isn’t close enough. Whether you get what you want or not, you need to close the discussion. Do that by saying: ‘Thank you, I appreciate your time and offers. I appreciate you’ve taken on board my case and listened.’