How To | Negotiate a Pay Rise

We all think we’re worth more money in the workplace, but the difficulty is convincing the boss to feel the same way. Here’s how to negotiate a pay rise.

Having ‘the talk’ with your manager is often a nerve-racking experience, but it really shouldn’t have to be. Follow our 8 steps to ensuring this conversation is a positive one and, fingers crossed, that you come out of it with the raise you had in mind.

#1. Give your boss plenty of warning

There’s nothing worse then surprising your boss with a sudden demand for a higher salary. This will instantly get their back up and place them on the defensive. Instead, slip it into the conversation a few months in advance: ‘Just so you know, I’d like to discuss my salary in the upcoming months…’.

Giving them this advanced warning allows them to become used to the idea of increasing your salary, meaning that when the talk happens it’s much more likely to have a fruitful outcome for you.

#2. Plan it well

Schedule your talk for a day/time when they are unlikely to be stressed, distracted or simply unresponsive. For example, meeting Tuesday-Thursday will probably have better results than first thing on a Monday morning or last thing on a Friday afternoon.

Similarly, if you know they have a big deadline coming up then let them know that you want to talk but are happy to wait until after it – this way they will feel grateful for your sensitivity and you will already start the conversation off in a positive way.

#3. Rehearse your points

Why do you deserve a higher salary? Try to anticipate their questions and think of watertight responses. Having a rehearsed conversation in your mind will make you less flustered and give you more control of the discussion.

#4. Know your worth

Do some independent research before you walk into any meeting about salary. How much are other people in your role making? Check job listings and have a look at average salaries in the field you’re in.

When doing this research, you can get an idea of whether your request is realistic or not and, if it isn’t realistic, then you will be able to recalibrate the figure before going into the meeting.

#5. Set your ‘walk away’ point 

It’s crucial you know what your ‘walk away’ point is before you go into this meeting. Are you willing to leave the role if you don’t get the raise you’ve requested? Is there something else you’d settle for instead?

Perhaps you could suggest incremental raises over the coming months, or maybe you could take less for now, on the understanding that there’d be another pay review scheduled in a few months to reassess your claim.

Whatever you decide is completely personal, but you definitely need to have this clear in your head before entering the room as that will determine your attitude.

#6. Decide how hard or soft you’re going to be

Once you’ve determined how far you’re willing to go to get the salary rise you want then you can think about how hard or soft you’re going to be at this meeting.

Are you saying, ‘I definitely need a pay rise’ or does it sound more like ‘it would be really fantastic if you’d be able to consider giving me a raise’? Whichever line should align with where your ‘walk away’ point is.

If you take a hard tone then you are showing that you are prepared to take strong action, if you are approaching this in a soft way then you are showing there is room for negotiation – ultimately, you’re not threatening to leave if you don’t get what you want.

#7. Don’t forget body language

Body language is such an integral part of communication and, even if your voice is relaxed, hunched up shoulders and shrinking in on yourself can giveaway how nervous you really are.

If your face and body don’t match what you’re saying, then this can cause a disconnect and could lead your boss to disbelieve your words. So, relax, sit up straight, make plenty of eye contact and smile at them – be as open and friendly as possible and your boss should reciprocate this.

#8. Be reasonable

Listen to what they are saying – if there is a very genuine reason why you cannot get a pay rise at this time then it’s not worth having a pointless argument.

At this point, you need to remember your walk away point and act on it. If you do decide to carry on in the role, then first see if there’s any negotiation: could you ask for more holiday, some time working from home, or a chance to develop your skills instead?

You should also make sure you schedule in a pay review for a future date, so you both have that to work towards.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that there’s no harm in asking – it’s never something you should be made to feel ashamed of – and, if you do it in a graceful, well-planned out way, then the outcome should be positive.

Keep in mind that if you don’t get the exact raise you wanted, for now, you’ll set yourself up for it in the near future.

About A and D Recruitment 

A&D Recruitment is a vibrant, independent employment agency specialising in Renewable Energy & Building Services sectors. 

Founded by recruitment experts Alessia and Darren Williams, A&D Recruitment has successfully placed candidates in a diverse range of roles over the last 13 years.  

To get in contact call 01743 247774 or email on 

Tags: , ,