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How to negotiate a pay rise

Time it right

Asking for a raise can be disruptive for employers, so it’s essential you get your timing right. If you get it wrong, you can get yourself labelled by senior people in the organisation as a pain in the neck, at a time when they need to be thinking more about your value.

If your company doesn’t have a set pay review time¬† raising the subject of your salary during your performance development review is a good option. It’s very possible that your organisation’s pay review is being carried out at this time anyway.

Research your market value

Negotiating a pay rise is primarily about your value. Get an idea of what you should be asking for by talking to Recruiters in the same sector or use a salary checker.

Know what you’re asking for

Begin with the end in mind. Be clear about why is this is so important to you and your rationale behind it. Why does this have to be done now? Where does your salary fit into overall career trajectory?

Talk to your boss

Where is your boss is likely to fit into this process? They 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.

Build a business case

You’re going to need a water-tight business case and evidence of your skills. Record specific you things 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.

Present your case

When presenting your business case to whoever you’re negotiating with, highlight the successful projects you’ve been involved in. Draw attention to quantifiable data, such as figures and timeframes. Go over your track record in producing results and other stages of your work history that demonstrate your value.

Be ready for discussion and negotiation

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?


Don’t be tempted into speaking or committing yourself to an offer too early. Negotiation is about pacing. An appropriate response to the first offer might be, “Thanks for that, I’m going get to back to you on it”.

Consider the offer

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. If you’re asked how long you need to think the offer over, say you’ll let them know that day or that you’ll sleep on it, depending on how much time you need. Even if you think that the offer is perfect, e would recommend giving yourself at least a night to think it through.


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