How to Negotiate a Pay Rise  image

How to Negotiate a Pay Rise 

Staff Squared date icon18th March 2021

Tag iconEmployees

While salary isn’t the most important aspect of a job, it’s certainly up there – at the end of the day, you wouldn’t be working for a living if money didn’t matter! And the number on your payslip has the potential to negatively affect your overall satisfaction and engagement at work. 

Employees are often put off from asking their boss for a pay rise for fear of being told ‘no’. But employers are more likely to agree to an increase in salary than you might think – especially if the alternative is ploughing more money into rehiring for a role that suddenly needs filling after a dissatisfied employee leaves 

If you’re considering asking your employer for a pay rise, there are a few key points you need to remember: preparation is paramount to negotiating a raise and having a good understanding of the company’s culture, performance and market conditions is vital.  

You also need to be aware of both the company’s and your manager’s needs. But most of all, keep a level head and make sure you follow the tips laid out below to give yourself the best chance of getting the pay rise you deserve.  

The ‘Dos’ of Negotiating a Pay Rise 

Below are five simple tips that will leave your employer more inclined to agree to offer you a pay rise.  

Track your Accomplishments 

Employers aren’t out to stop you from realising your earning potential – but it’s business at the end of the day, and if they’re going to agree to give you more money, you’ll need to prove to them that you’ve worked hard for the privilege 

The best thing you can do is to keep track of your accomplishments. Make a regular note of your achievements in a journal where you can note any major projects and successes. These will add up over time and give you ample evidence to feedback to your managers. 

By quantifying your value to the company based on clear metrics, you can demonstrate the value you add and will continue to contribute to their business and ensure that you are compensated for your efforts appropriately.  

Know your Worth 

You may feel that you should be paid more for the work you do, but it’s important to understand how your geographic location, local cost of living and the specifics of your job role affect your salary, both existing and expected.  

Do your research with sites like, where you can check whether your current and proposed salaries are in line with the average salary for others in your role and region with the same qualifications and experience.  

Understanding the going market rate for your position will help you to come to a reasonable and realistic figure, which you can then take to your boss. If you do have a fair salary in mind, it’s always worth putting a small buffer on this. That way, when your employer begins to negotiate your salary, you may be more likely to walk away with your desired figure.  

Consider the Company’s Position 

There are many factors that can play into an employer’s decision to offer a pay rise. There may be obstacles to consider such as low profits, cost-cutting measures or external influences like the current global pandemic

Show that you are prepared and able to fulfil your employer’s business needs and objectives by identifying any barriers and talk with your boss about how you can play a part in solving some of the challenges the company is facing. 

Every decision you make in the negotiation process should be focused on showing your employer that giving you a raise or promotion is in the best interests of the business. 

Consider Alternatives to a Pay Rise 

While your desired outcome might be a bump in your pay packet, this might not be possible at the time you approach your employer.  

That’s not to say there aren’t other options to consider asking about. Bonus incentives can be a great alternative to a pay rise, as they can benefit both employee and employer alike – when you work harder you accomplish more, which increases your year-end bonus and all the while, the company gets to reap the rewards of your success.  

Other solutions to your pay rise request might include: 

  • Yearly performance bonuses.  
  • Flexi-time. 
  • Extra holiday time.  
  • Other benefits, such as insurances, memberships or remote working opportunities.  
  • Tiered pay rise based on performance reviews.  

Most importantly, keep an open mind and embrace anything that your employers are willing to do to meet you halfway.  

Understand that, Sometimes, it’s Going to be ‘No’ 

In a culture of needing or wanting to please, we’ve learned that a win-win scenario is the best possible outcome.  

However, that’s not always going to be the case, and if you focus too hard on the desired outcome (let’s face it, something that you don’t really have any control over in this scenario), you increase your chances of disappointment 

Recognising that you might be told ‘no’ at some point in your negotiations will help you to enter into a more open conversation about what is possible. You might even consider leading with the fact that you’re comfortable with a ‘no’ answer, which will put your employer at ease and invite a rational discussion about your salary expectations.  

The ‘Don’ts’ of Negotiating a Pay Rise 

We’ve covered some tips that can help to bolster your prospects of negotiating a pay rise, now let’s look at some sure-fire ways to damage those chances. Be sure to avoid doing the following when in talks over salary.  

Let your Emotions get the Better of you 

It’s important to remain calm and professional when negotiating a pay rise.  

Don’t get me wrong, showing passion for what you do is great, but you can’t afford to lose control of your emotions, because once you cross that line, it’s hard to turn back.  

Asking for an increase in your pay may be financially driven by personal circumstances, but that’s a factor that you should really keep out of your negotiations. Stick strictly to business and build a case based on your value to the company, while keeping your mind clear of emotion. 

Present your Existing Salary or Role as an Issue 

On the same lines as keeping a level head, you should never begin a conversation about your salary with a list of complaints.  

Your manager isn’t going to want to hear about your overwhelming financial responsibilities, the cost of living being on the increase or even that you’ve worked for 4 years without a significant salary review. All they’re bound to focus on as a result is your attitude.  

Instead, show your boss how you can be the solution to the company’s current (and even future) challenges and show them that it’s them who can’t afford to not give you a pay rise.  

Compare yourself to Others 

When discussing anything about your own employment, you should never make the conversation about anyone but yourself.  

In fact, bringing a colleague into the mix puts you on the dangerous ground of not only being denied your request for more money but also in a position where your manager begins to question your position in the company, full stop.  

Try to Impress your Boss 

We’ve covered focusing on your accomplishments to demonstrate your value to the company, but it’s important to note that too much demonstration of your worth can come across as pretentious.  

Find a middle ground that allows you to show your boss what you’ve achieved without making them think you’re just being arrogant by focussing on things you can control, such as your language and behaviour.  

Make a Presentation 

Following on from why you shouldn’t try to impress your boss, steer clear of giving a flashy presentation on the reasons why you think you deserve a pay rise.  

Often when giving presentations, we make assumptions about what we think our audience wants to hear. Rather than taking the ‘tell them’ approach, try asking your boss questions to establish their position, concerns and objectives.  

By going down the enquiry path, you start to build an understanding of what your employer wants, and you are in a better position to tailor your response to their needs.  

Give an Ultimatum 

Often, employees who feel they’re an invaluable asset to a company think that by having a take-it-or-leave-it approach to salary negotiations, they’re more likely to get what they want.  

This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, employers are more likely to show you where the door is if you try to corner them with an ultimatum.  

While you may be an asset to the team, there is always going to be someone else out there with your skills and experience – if not more.  

As much as you might want that pay rise, avoid this approach at all costs. Instead, try focussing on some other, more sustainable tactics 

Written by Clarisse Levitan

Marketing and Customer Relationship Advisor - Staff Squared

Clarisse works as the Lead of our Customer Care Team to provide our customers with the very best care and guidance when using their HR software and is responsible for our day-to-day marketing activities and strategies.

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