Being able to negotiate a pay rise is a key career skill to have in any field but it’s especially important within digital. Many roles exist today that nobody had even thought of just 10 years ago, making it even more significant to do salary research and know what you’re worth.
So how do you go about asking for a pay rise? We’ve put together 8 key factors to keep in mind before and throughout the process.
1. Right Timing
Having your timing right is essential when asking for a raise. If your company is going through a tough time and is thinking about letting people go because of financial problems, it’s not the right time to ask for more money.
On the other hand, if that’s not an issue for your company, a good time to negotiate a pay rise would be at any scheduled appraisals or after completing a particularly well received project.
2. Research First
As mentioned, especially throughout digital it’s often not obvious how much you should get paid in your particular role, with your particular experience/skill set. The easiest way to find out is by checking salary surveys, having a browse through suggested jobs on LinkedIn and contacting recruiters to see how much you would be able to make in a different company. If you know you are getting paid significantly less than other professionals in your field, that’s a good starting point to negotiate a higher salary.
3. Be Discreet
While it’s perfectly acceptable to speak to other professionals in your industry that you trust as part of your research to find out how your salary sits in the market, it’s advisable to avoid discussing your intentions of asking for a pay rise with colleagues who will not be involved in the negotiation.
4. Business Case
You should prepare for your meeting to negotiate your pay rise the same you would for any other important business meeting. Prepare a business case in which you include recent examples of specific projects in which you did well and examples of new responsibilities you took on to show you deserve a raise. A good way to prepare for this is by thinking ahead and taking note of significant moments as you go along on a weekly basis. Whether you receive praise by a colleague or a client for a project, bring on board new business, get asked to take on extra responsibilities, or in other ways have a positive impact on your company, make a note of it and use those notes when negotiating a pay rise. And if you feel like you don’t have a strong enough case, don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibilities or offer to take on more work!
5. Leave Emotions Behind
Entering a negotiation for a pay rise can be very emotional. However, it’s important to leave those emotions at the door. Getting too passionate during negotiations can come across almost aggressive. Some candidates also use the tactic of threatening to leave, which can harm your relationships with management and essentially your future at your company – even if you get the raise you wanted!
Don’t think of the negotiation as “fighting” for a raise as that will automatically add a “them vs you” feel to the process. Look at it as a discussion in which you show the mutual benefits of you working at the company.
6. Expect a Discussion
Before going into negotiations, make sure you know how much you want. You should attempt to avoid being the first to talk numbers during the negotiation but at the same time be sure to prepare a salary range of which you’d be happy to accept the lowest – just in case it should come to that!
At the same time, be prepared to discuss more than just your wages. In some cases, your manager won’t have the budget to give you a raise – even if he/she feels you deserve one! That doesn’t have to be the end of negotiations. Discuss alternative benefits, including additional paid holiday days, an improved bonus structure, a promotion, or any other perks that may be available (and beneficial!) to you.
7. Take Your Time
Once your company has made an offer, the ball is in your court. Feel free to stay silent for a moment and even ask for time to think about the offer. This will help you stay in control of the situation and show your company that it is important to you.
8. Close the Discussion
Whether you get the result you were hoping for or not, it’s important to tie up the negotiation. Thank those involved in the negotiation for their time and for taking on board your case. If you got the raise you were after, that’s great! If you didn’t, you will have to ask yourself whether you are happy to stay regardless, whether you’ll try again in a few months, or whether it’s time to move on to another company.
Of course, none of the above are fool-proof ways to get a pay rise but hopefully these steps will help knowing what to expect and how to prepare.
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