Salary discussions are awkward at the best of times.
Get it right and you could walk out of a meeting room feeling more motivated than ever – unfortunately, it’s rarely a case of naming a number and signing on the dotted line. If you’ve been putting in the hard graft, it’s natural to feel you deserve a decent raise – but if you aren’t certain on how to ask for a pay rise, you aren’t alone.
While most employers recognise the importance of keeping talented members of staff engaged through fair remuneration, they typically aren’t prepared to give pay rises they can’t justify. Getting what you want will therefore require you to build and present a compelling case that highlights your value in the company. When the time comes, the following tips will help ensure the conversation goes your way:
Know your worth
Knowing how to ask for a pay rise begins by determining the price-tag on your value to the company. As well as assessing the impact of your performance in the business, take some time to research the market value of your skills by browsing ads for similar roles or accessing tools like the Heat Recruitment Salary Survey. That way, you can get a good idea of what a competitive salary looks like for a candidate offering the experience you bring to the table. Should your boss suggest your demands are unrealistic, you can respond with empirical evidence that proves otherwise.
Timing is everything
Before you barge into your boss’ office, you might want to consider whether it’s a good time to ask. Beyond a question of busy schedules, it’s worth performing your own due diligence to get a better idea of the company’s current budgets. If belts are tight and the term ‘possible redundancies’ is flying around the business, for example, you might want to put off having the pay rise chat until the company is in a better position to say yes. If that time looks to be in a future that is simply too far away to wait, exploring other opportunities in the market could be the only way.
Build your case
If your goal is to convince your boss of your true worth, you had better come armed with facts to support your demands. While you may feel you are working hard and hitting targets, it’s wise to remember that pay rises are business decisions and employees are an investment. With this in mind, articulating your recent success and illustrating examples with numbers will certainly aid in strengthening your case and showing your boss that their investment in you will always generate a return.
If you feel your salary doesn’t accurately reflect the responsibilities you have taken on and your recent performance, it’s time to have the chat. The worst thing you can do in this situation is be confrontational, compare your salary to that of your colleagues and jump down your boss’ throat at the first sign of hesitance. Should they suggest a figure that is lower than what you expected, calmly refer them back to your performance in line with key indicators they have set and salaries offered for the same skills by their competitors. If your request is still refused, it might be time to dust off that CV.
About the author
Lucy Evans is an Executive Recruitment Consultant specialising within the Wealth Management industry. She works for Heat Recruitment, a specialist recruitment agency based in Bristol operating across the UK that specialise in Engineering, Information Technology, Insurance, Financial Services and the Legal sector. They place candidates in both permanent and contract roles.