How to negotiate a pay rise

Melissa Porter, TEC Partners

Whilst employers are continuing to increase the number of benefits they offer in a bid to retain staff, there is no denying that salary is one of the key reasons that many of us go to work every day.

However, money isn’t just about being able to pay your bills; it can also be an indication of how valuable you are to the business. When you work hard, perform well and add value to the business, it’s only natural to want to be paid accordingly.

But that’s not always the case.

In a recent study conducted by CV-Library, a shocking 74.9% of respondents haven’t had a formal pay review in the past 12 months, with only 13.6% of the people surveyed receiving a pay rise, despite not having a formal meeting.

Furthermore, 52.2% of respondents felt like their employer avoided the topic of pay altogether, while almost three quarters (74.9%) believe that they are currently underpaid.

Speaking about the outcome of the study, Lee Biggins, CEO for CV-Library, said: “Feeling like you’re underpaid and aren’t properly financially rewarded for your efforts at work can be demoralising. Pay is a huge motivator for professionals at work, so it is alarming to see so few Brits have been offered a formal pay review meeting in the past year.

“In order to keep on track with inflation, all workers are entitled to a pay rise if they have met their targets and are performing well in the role. If you believe your efforts aren’t being recognised and you deserve an increase in your wage, it’s time to broach the subject with your employer.”

We know that asking for a raise can seem daunting, so here are some top tips to help you prepare to negotiate a pay rise:

  • Time since your last pay review: If you’re long overdue a pay review meeting, it’s only natural to want some guidance regarding your salary. However, if you have had a pay rise within the past 12 months, can you justify requesting another one so soon?
  • Do your homework: Research the market value for your role so that your expectations are realistic. Are you underpaid, or is your salary average for what you do? Take into consideration the demand and skills required for your position. Would it be difficult for your employer to replace you? If the answer is no, can you demonstrate why you should be paid more?
  • Ask for a meeting: Before asking your manager for a pay rise, make sure to send an email in advance detailing the purpose of the meeting. That way your manager can come prepared, and you can both set some time aside free from interruptions.
  • Know what you want: If you’re going to ask for a pay rise, make sure you go into the meeting with a clear figure in mind and build up a business case to justify your request. Focus on your achievements and experienced gained to sell yourself, but also be mindful on seeing things from the company’s perspective. Remember to leave some room to negotiate!
  • Take your time: Unfortunately, just because you have asked for a pay rise doesn’t always mean you will always get what you asked for. If you are made an offer lower than expected, take your time to consider the reasons and what has been discussed before you decide. You can also work together with your manager to put a plan or targets in place to help you work towards your ideal salary.


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