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How to negotiate a pay rise from your boss

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It’s a necessary part of working life, but that doesn’t make asking for a pay rise any less painful.

Arguing that you and your talents are worth more than they are currently being rewarded is not something everyone is comfortable with.

And even if you do firmly believe you deserve a raise, you’d better make sure you’re ready to back yourself and answer some difficult questions on the spot.

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Although not everyone is a natural negotiator, everyone can be prepared.

Deligiannis says there's no benchmark percentage for a pay rise – it all depends on performance.
Deligiannis says there’s no benchmark percentage for a pay rise – it all depends on performance.

Make sure you’ve covered these important steps before you delve into the deep end.

Get the timing right

Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays Recruiting, says there is definitely a right time and a wrong time to request a pay rise.

“Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, for obvious reasons, are not the best times of the week,” he says.

“Clearly, don’t pick a time when your boss is in the middle of something big, or a problem has emerged in the office.”

Mr Deligiannis says it’s important not to spring the request on your boss – instead, book in a meeting and let them know what it’s about ahead of time.

The biggest mistake people make

According to Mr Deligiannis, the worst thing you can do is go in unprepared.

“Just because your billings have increased or you’ve seen a salary on a job that looks similar to yours, doesn’t mean your employer will agree that a salary increase is justified,” he says.

Don’t let your great relationship with your boss let you lose sight of what you’re actually asking – it’s well within their rights to say no if you don’t prepare a strong argument.

How to prepare

“Ask yourself if you deserve a pay rise,” says Mr Deligiannis.

“If you are expecting a higher pay for doing the same job, you need to be sure you deserve it.”

Bring in a document with all of your achievements and any extra work you've taken on.
Bring in a document with all of your achievements and any extra work you’ve taken on.

Consider the value you bring to your employer and why you merit an increased salary.

Prepare a bullet proof document detailing why you deserve to be paid more, including any new work you have or will be taking on, and your successes in the past.

“Be specific and don’t just say the cost of living has gone up, or that you think you generally do a good job,” he says.

Things to keep out of the discussion

Although this will be a very tough discussion, it’s important to keep any emotions out of it.

Similarly, Mr Deligiannis advises against giving any ultimatums.

“Don’t threaten to leave if you don’t get what you want, or mention any personal reasons for needing more money.”

“This will lead your boss to question your commitment to the company and long-term career prospects.”

Equally, don’t expect an immediate response from your boss or a hiring manager – it’s likely they’ll need to have the new salary ticked off by someone higher up.

But once you do get an answer “make sure to respond in a timely and professional manner”, says Mr Deligiannis.


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