How to Negotiate a Pay Rise Like a Pro

15 March 2023

Asking your employer for more money is something we like to put in the too-hard basket – it’s uncomfortable and completely unnatural for most of us! However, learning how to negotiate a pay rise is a great skill to have. Not only does it help you to build confidence, but it also means you’re fighting for what you’re worth in the business.

So, how should you manage this sticky situation? Here are our top tips on how to navigate your subsequent pay rise like a pro.

Preparing yourself for the meeting

Know your worth

The first thing you need to do before you consider negotiating a pay rise is to determine your worth. This doesn’t mean saying what you’d like to be paid, but rather thoroughly researching the average salary range for a person in your position with similar experience. This information should be accessible via salary apps, job hunting websites and other network connections you may have. This won’t always give you a set figure, but it should offer you a ballpark range to go off.

When deciding how much to ask for, a general rule of thumb is to ask for 10% - 20% more than what you’re currently making. Be sure to show your research when you present your case to your manager and challenge any industry standards you don’t believe are fair.

Go above and beyond

To demonstrate why you should get this rise, you need to prove to your employer why. Going above and beyond doesn’t mean meeting your KPIs or targets. It means exceeding these consistently and bringing in positive results for your business. Gather a record of this information to present, including things like revenue figures, customer feedback and growth statistics to show your performance.

Determine your value

Once you’ve gone over and above, you need to determine your value within the business. This differs from knowing your worth, which bases you on the average employee in your field. Figuring out your worth means quantifying the value you add to your business and why it would be difficult to replace you. Consider any recent upskilling or education you’ve undertaken, measurable achievements and other ways you’ve benefited the business. Being proactive when it comes to accelerating the company should be a huge positive in a manager's eyes, so it is definitely worth talking about in your pitch. Give them tangible evidence from initiatives you’ve driven and any other responsibilities you’ve taken on that are outside your job description.

Practice, practice, practice!

You know what they say, practice makes perfect! Before heading into your pitch meeting, practice what you will say. Especially if you’re not confident with negotiating, rehearsing what you’re going to say in front of someone else, or even just out loud, can help you iron out any creases you find so you’re not going to find out on the day! By practising your pitch in front of someone you trust, you’ll be able to ask for constructive feedback to help better what you’re going to say. Researching common questions asked by employers in pay negotiations is another great way to prepare yourself for what you might be asked.

During the meeting

Ask for what you want

There’s no point beating around the bush – if there’s an amount you’re after (and you’ve got the research to back it), let your employer know. Regardless of whether you think your employer will be able to grant you the amount or not, they aren’t mind readers! Let them know exactly what you’re after and see what they say. Make sure you let your employer know that you don’t expect an answer on the spot to allow them time to think.

Have a backup plan, just in case

While you need to give your employer time to think over your pitch, it’s possible they may already know that what you’re asking for isn’t feasible for the business. If this is the case, have a backup ready to go. They may not be able to compensate you financially, but is there another way they can assist? This might be asking for some time off to study, flexible working arrangements, mentoring programs, or internal training. Putting yourself out there in the pay rise meeting is an achievement, as you’ve already proved the value you offer the company.

Time it well

Timing is everything – especially when it comes to a difficult subject. Avoid setting up the meeting during high-stress periods or if any other cost-cutting exercises are happening. Make sure you don’t spring it on your boss in the lunchroom or right at the end of the day when they’re leaving, as this puts them on the spot to give you an answer. Asking for a scheduled meeting creates a formality around the request and shows that you’re serious about the conversation. Give your manager some time and a heads up that you want to discuss your salary.

After the meeting

Follow up

Wait for a reasonable amount of time before following up on the meeting. This will give your employer time to consider your request and clear up any questions they have with other departments where required. If you haven’t heard back after a week or two, send a polite follow-up email asking how the process is going along and if they need anything further from you. It’s important not to come across as though you’re nagging, as this can be off-putting for some.

Stay open to other options

If your employer comes back to you and they can’t accommodate your request, stay open to other options they may present. They may have chosen elements from your contingency plan to suggest instead, or they may ask you here if there’s another offer you’d consider. Keep an open mind and ask for clarity if you’re not sure.

Ask for feedback

Asking for feedback is the best way to determine how successful your pitch was. Regardless of whether your pay rise was granted or not, asking your employer for feedback will give you an understanding of any areas you may need to work on, where you did well, or why your pitch was unsuccessful (if that’s the case).

Negotiating a pay rise can feel quite overwhelming, but it’s important for you to fight for what you’re worth if you believe you’re being underpaid or deserve a little extra. Make a statement at your pay rise pitch with an outfit from the Biz Corporates range.