Published: 31 August 2022

When it comes time to ask for a pay rise, you need to be properly prepared. While there is no magic formula for ensuring you get what you want, there are things you can do to support your case.

Negotiating your pay rise, the Dos, the Don’ts and the Door slammers

Asking for a pay rise is never an easy thing. Some people seem to be able to just sail through though and always get whatever they ask for, while others feel they are overlooked and badly treated. In our experience, there are several things that the successful person is doing (or not doing) that will be facilitating that success. So here are a few things to do and not to do, as well as some suggestions of things that will result in metaphorically slamming the door on a raise.

Things you should do


1. Prove to yourself what your value is to the company first

Start by making a list of your achievements and how they relate to company success. Try to concentrate on where you have performed in a way that is outstanding. It’s important to tailor this to your job, though. Remember your salary is a reflection of your value to the business in your specific role.


2. Give yourself a skills audit

This will allow you to place your skills in the context of the first point. Remember to include the soft skills and the additional value you bring beyond any professional qualifications. Think about your job and how your personal skillset is being utilised.


3. Do a salary comparison

Once you have your value to the company and all your skills written down, you can estimate how much you would be worth to another employer. Take a look at the salary range your role is attracting. On a side note, we suggest you start to get to know a recruitment company at the same time. That way, you will always be up to speed on current opportunities, and if things don’t go well with your pay rise request, it may open a few options.


4. Get your timing right

It’s not always a good time to ask. Your annual/quarterly reviews are usually good, though and, of course, after you have just been part of a success for the business. Ask at the right time, and you will get a much better response.


5. Be positive, open to discussion and have a sensible figure in mind

Talk positively about working for the company and use your gathered data to show how valuable you are. If you have a fair salary request based on the points above, it is perfectly reasonable to ask for it, so be upfront and ask for your salary target. That said, be prepared to negotiate if needs be.


Things you shouldn’t do


1. Don’t gossip first

Your request for a pay rise should be between you and the manager.


2. Don’t be unrealistic

You have already worked out your value, now put a little perspective on it. If the business isn’t doing particularly well, then asking for a big rise is unlikely to work. Don’t overestimate your personal value against the value of the role either.


3. Don’t quote other employers' job ads

It’s OK to say you think you are asking for market value, but it’s best not to be specific about who is offering those rates… particularly if they are a competitor. There is a fine line between saying ‘here is my value’ to your employer and sounding like you are moaning about being underpaid.


4. Don’t compare to others in the company

Remember, this is about you, not about what somebody else got. It’s actually pretty rare that people get paid more than they deserve, so if you start down the road of ‘this person gets more than me, and I am just as good’ you could open a whole can of worms. Stick to what you deserve.


5. Don’t demand an immediate decision

It would be great to walk away with a salary increase, but the chances are it will need discussion, so your manager will probably ask for some time to work things through. Politely ask how long that will be and perhaps book a second meeting to resolve things.


Door slammers


Door slammers are things that will make the request for an increase in salary a fight rather than a discussion. There are things you can do or say that are sort of the negotiation equivalent of storming out and slamming the door.


1. Never threaten to leave

The moment you say, ‘if I don’t get a raise, I am leaving’, the conversation is over. It’s blackmail. One of the reasons we suggest our candidates keep in touch with us, is so you have the option to look at what is available. Never threaten to leave, but if you do decide not to stay, at least you will know what is out there.


2. It sounds obvious, but stay calm

At the point of writing this article, inflation is rising, and everyone is worried about paying the bills. Keep your salary discussion professional, not emotional. Emotions should really not be part of this if you can help it. Getting angry is always a loss, and getting too emotional risks sounding like you are playing a blame game.


3. You are not able to justify your request

Don’t go in with unsupportable evidence or guesswork. You need to be able to prove you are worth the extra money.

When it comes right down to it, there are three golden rules for asking for a pay rise:

  1. Am I worth it?
  2. Can I show I am worth it?
  3. Is the timing right to ask?

If you can say yes to all these, then go for it is our advice. However, be a little pragmatic and remember that these are tough times for business, and things are not always as simple as a yes or no answer.


Contact us, and let’s chat about your options in case that pay rise doesn’t materialise.