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Negotiating a pay rise is one of the hardest things an employee ever does. Not knowing how to broach the subject, along with the fear of angering management and causing themselves problems, often stops people from discussing a better salary. However, it’s important to be paid fairly so if you feel you deserve a pay rise, follow our practical tips on how to negotiate an increase.

Reality check

Knowing how to negotiate a salary increase is a complete mystery for most people. It’s something far outside of most employee’s comfort zones and often an intimidating task. It’s important not to be afraid of starting the discussion though because nobody gets sacked if they ask for a pay rise! In fact, asking for more money shows ambition and a definite desire to stay with the organisation.

It’s important to do thorough research regarding how much you should be getting paid. You will need to be asking for a realistic figure and be able to back up why you believe you’re worth such an increase. Have a look on a job board or salary comparison website to find out the kind of pay your job should be getting. You need hard evidence to back your pay rise - sales targets reached or goals met and don’t forget specialist skills as they can be worth more.

Never demand more money without putting any thought into why you should get a rise. Your employer will inevitably ask the reasons behind your request for a salary increase and you should be able to give a comprehensive response with examples. View your employment as a commercial contract and not as a favour and treat salary negotiations seriously. Do not say that you require more money to pay for anything because your personal expenditure is not your employer’s responsibility and stick to why you’ve exceeded your job description.


Unfortunately, not everyone is entitled to a pay rise just because they want one. There are many reasons why somebody might not be ready for a pay rise including having already had one in the past twelve months or that their performance doesn’t justify more money. The best time to negotiate a rise is after a period of consistent performance which will make you an obvious candidate for an increase.

If possible, time your request to fit in with employee appraisals or company year-end because your manager will be in a better position to make a decision. Make sure you arrange a meeting with them when they are going to have time to properly consider your arguments and ideally during a stress-free spell, so you have enough time and energy to make your case.

Your case

Present your case clearly and objectively, being realistic and ready to compromise throughout the meeting. Play to your strengths and mention all your recent successes and achievements. Demonstrate how much you have contributed to the company for the last and next six months, whether it’s through generating revenue, having certain expertise or going above and beyond. If your manager is not the final decision maker it might be helpful to take a written copy of your case so they can take it with them and explain everything to the relevant part of the business.

Salary increases are a business decision so you will need to be able to demonstrate what you will offer in return. You could take on further responsibilities or agree to higher targets in order to prove that your pay rise is good value for money for the organisation.

Don’t just think about the money and consider any offers seriously as benefits, perks and training may be just as valuable as a salary increase. Sometimes, there are legitimate and simple reasons why you may not get a pay rise, such as a lack of available funds. The company could still show it’s appreciation by offering a non-monetary alternative so just because your boss has said ‘no’ to a pay rise doesn’t mean you can’t enquire about non-financial benefits as an option.

If you don’t get the decision you want it’s important to remain professional and not burn your bridges. Although you might now feel undervalued you need to be on good terms with your employer because you might want to ask again in six months’ time or need a glowing reference when you move on to a better paid role.

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