7 things to consider when asking for a pay rise and 10 things NOT to say

Have you ever wanted to march into your boss' office and demand a pay raise? Turns out, it's probably not the best way to get what you want (and you might end up without a job).
7 things to consider when asking for a pay rise and 10 things NOT to say

For many, asking for a pay raise might fall outside your comfort zone but as the old saying goes 'if you don't ask, you shall not receive'.

To mark 'Equal Pay Day' h ere are some tips and things to consider before making the pitch for  the raise you feel you deserve.

1. Consider how often you should be expecting a raise?

We live in tough economic times at the moment.

In the past it used to be the norm to expect a raise once a year; that is no longer the case, and it’s typically up to you to request a salary review.

2. Prepare and plan

Salary calculators are very helpful tools which can assist you in finding out how much you should be being paid for the work you do.

Once you have a figure in mind, go through your achievements of the past six months and identify how they have benefitted the company.

If you have changed the way your company does something which has resulted in a cost saving, estimate how much that could have been.

If you have helped win new accounts then having the amount at hand will help too.

This helps steer the negotiation phase away from cost and towards value.

3. Think about the timing

Waiting for your annual review may also not be the ideal time to ask for a raise as the budgets for the year may have already been signed off.

A rule of thumb is to start talking to your boss about 3 – 4 months before your annual review.

Try and gauge the financial performance of the company and time your request accordingly. If you work in a small business, asking for a raise the day after the company loses a large account will come across as insensitive at best.

Keep your ear to the ground for profit announcements or large client wins to time your approach correctly.

There are however other instances when it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a salary review regardless of company performance.

These could be if the team has been downsized and you need to pick up more work as a result or if you were promised a salary review at a point in time and that time has passed.

4. Consider how best to bring the subject up

This all comes down to what type of boss you have. If they are forthright and direct, you can ask them for a meeting to discuss your current salary.

If less so, then asking “How do I go about chatting about salary?” may be the best approach.

Ideally you will have arranged a meeting for the discussion where you can present your case and get their initial feelings about it.

5. Consider your negotiation strategy 

Make sure you come across as well prepared, highlight elements from your preparation that are in your favour and discuss them openly.

Highlight your loyalty towards the company, your achievements over the last year and how they have positively affected the company.

It’s important that you stay calm and considered and accept feedback from them before negotiating further.

It is often best for your boss to suggest a number first as it may well be higher than you were prepared to settle for.

If it’s lower then counteroffer and suggest a compromise between the two if you feel that is reasonable.

6. How will you react to a no?

It’s always hard to be pushed back on something but don’t get discouraged.

It’s an ideal opportunity to ask, “What would I need to do to get the raise next time?” and prioritise your workload to get that.

It’s a chance to align with the goals of the company and work towards them to demonstrate your true value.

7. Consider alternative approaches

An innovative approach that I have seen work in the past is to be far more proactive. Identify an area of the business that isn’t working as well as it could be.

Create a project and outline what you would do differently and how much money that could save/earn the company.

Present that to your boss and offer to run the project to its conclusion on the basis that if the project is successful, your salary gets reviewed.

This way your boss has a proactive idea to take to the senior management and it also highlights your strategic and proactive abilities.

10 things not to say when asking for a raise

1. “I Quit!” (unless you are prepared to)

While it is very important to do your preparation don’t threaten to leave if your salary expectation is not met unless you are prepared to do so.

Using a counter offer for a raise often makes your employer feel threatened and backed into a corner.

They also question your long term loyalty to the company even if successful.

2. “I want it now!”

Timing is everything.

Don’t ask for the raise just after your company has announced poor financial results as that shows you don’t have the company’s interests at heart and will clearly impact your chances of getting a raise even if your boss wants to give you one!

3. “I deserve 200k a year”

When doing your research make sure it is realistic.

Do you have the same amount of experience for the job advertised online?

Also make sure that you research a number of job ads and take the average salary, not the biggest one as your expectation.

This also counts to the performance of the company.

If the results are less than stellar you may need to rein in your salary expectation accordingly.

4. “I demand a raise”

The last time you got a raise is largely immaterial as length of service is rarely a strong enough reason for a salary review on its own.

You have to negotiate for that raise and demonstrate why you feel you are owed one.

Acting like the approval is a mere formality would be a big mistake on your part.

5. "I want €X”

When negotiating don’t reveal your number first, your boss may be thinking you are worth more!

Be prepared to go higher if they are below what you feel is reasonable but do that calmly and rationally.

It is after all a negotiation and needs to be treated like one.

6. “It’s all about me”

As strange as it sounds your salary review isn’t all about you.

You need to highlight your work and its effect on the business in the past 12 months and outline a path for the next 12.

This will help your boss see the upside of giving you a raise that you deserve both now and in the future.

7. “And another thing….”

If you are asking for a raise don’t ask for other things at the same time.

It complicates the negotiation process and rarely works.

Stick to the point and negotiate well.

8. “But they get more than me”

Firstly it’s not your place to know what everyone gets.

Secondly that comparison is rarely going to get you a raise.

Stick to your qualities and achievements and don’t bring in others.

9. “But my recruitment agent told me”

Recruitment agencies make money from you switching jobs so 9 times out of 10 they will tell you they can get you a better deal.

That doesn’t mean it’s a market rate and certainly won’t help you in your negotiations.

10. “But I’ve just bought a boat”

Your personal circumstances changing isn’t a justification for a salary increase.

Its best to keep that out of the negotiation to keep it on track.

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