Asking for a pay raise from a manager is never easy, partly because it’s hard finding the right words and partly because it’s hard to gauge what the right amount to ask for is without under- or over-selling yourself. But unless you review how much you’re getting paid, you’ll never be in a situation where you’re paid your worth. (Click here to tweet this thought.)
Having that conversation doesn’t have to be an ordeal as long as your approach is well-informed and justified. Here are six easy steps for negotiating the salary you deserve:
1. Do your research
It’s important to know what the going rate is before you decide whether or not you’re being underpaid. Carry out job searches for similar roles that match your skill set, seniority level and location. Record the salaries of the jobs and compare the average with yours. This way, you can enter the conversation armed with justifiable data.
Job sites, such as Jobserve and Monster Jobs, are great sources for roles similar to yours because they’re not agents. Instead, agents and companies alike post their vacancies there.
2. Money isn’t the only way to get the salary you deserve
It’s a good idea to think about why you feel you’re not getting the salary you believe you deserve and ask if it’s just the money. Sure, you have bills to pay and you feel like you’re working too hard, but perhaps you can suggest a reduction of work hours or a company phone to balance your salary with your needs.
If you’re working every possible hour and you don’t feel like your salary reflects this, or if you can make your working life easier with something like a company phone, you may feel like you’re regaining the balance between your salary and your level of work.
3. Time it right
No matter how urgent you feel you need a pay raise, get the timing right. Give yourself a bigger chance for success by choosing your timing carefully. After all, this isn’t the sort of conversation you want to have every few months.
4. Get noticed
Before asking for a higher salary, know that the reasons you deserve it don’t need to be stated by you. But they do need to be fresh in your employer’s mind. Start going the extra mile and get noticed for your talents. Wait until people have noticed your efforts, then ask for the meeting.
5. Don’t be desperate
Remember that despite your boss’s office being an area where they typically hold all the cards, you’re both adults and, in that sense, equals. You shouldn’t present your case as though you’re asking for a favor. Instead, exude professionalism and conviction.
Once you’ve said your piece, wait for the answer. You may not get a decision straight away, but when you do, think about the offer and don’t be scared to negotiate if you don’t think the offer is right.
6. Word it carefully
Make sure to phrase your argument carefully. You’re having a business-related conversation with a fellow professional, so adjust your language accordingly. Don’t reference your needs outside work, such as increased rent or a desire to get the latest iPad. Instead, justify your request with business-related reasons.
A useful tip is to phrase your question in relation to the amount you want your salary to be raised by. This sounds a lot less daunting than stating the overall salary you want.
In theory, when presented with sufficient evidence, it’s hard for most employers not to acknowledge their need to meet your requests. But companies have budgets to think about, and often what you consider a small increase doesn’t fit with their books.
While getting paid your worth is important, so is considering how the job fits in with your long-term goals. For example, perhaps accepting a lower salary for a year’s worth of experience will help you propel your career to the next stage.
But if you don’t feel like you’re getting a salary that reflects what you deserve and if your employer shows no signs of changing that, you should look for a job somewhere you’ll feel more valued.
Nick Williams works for Acuity Training, who provide hands-on professional training from their two UK offices. Nick works as an assistant on the negotiation skills training course as well as the majority of technical/development courses.