How to negotiate a salary increase

Author: Samson   Date Posted:26 July 2016 

Negotiating a salary increase is without doubt one of the most intimidating tasks any employed person faces in the workplace.

The reality is though that it is a critical skill worth mastering as it not only can help make you better off financially but it can also provide a sense of empowerment and self-worth that helps make your time at work both more rewarding and more productive. By considering the following recommendations and insights you will not only be more prepared to negotiate a salary increase but you will have a better idea of the value you bring to the workplace.


Research your value

Requesting a salary increase should be a well thought-out, evidence-backed business case that provides a compelling argument to why you should be paid more/receive greater rewards for the work that you do. Preparing such a case requires two critical components: First, you should research comparable market salaries for people with your responsibilities and/or role in order to understand the how you much the market believes you are worth as well as providing evidence, if the average numbers are higher than your current salary, of what you should be earning. Secondly, you need to prove your value to the company and one effective way of doing this is to create a list of your key contributions, moments of leadership/notable achievements and situations where you went above and beyond your role and responsibilities in order to help the company. Doing so will help articulate not only what you have done but also the value you will continue to bring to the organisation that warrants the pay increase.


Choose your moment

Once you have created a compelling business case for a salary increase it is important to choose the right opportunity to have a discussion about it. If your organisation has annual or semi-annual performance and/or pay reviews, then you already have an excellent opportunity to broach the conversation, considering it is these meetings that highlight the value you bring to the company. If your organisation doesn’t have these formalised meetings or if you feel that they don’t allow for conversations of this nature, then it is important to schedule a meeting with your manager/superior and in the email make sure to highlight the nature of the discussion. Doing so not only offers the courtesy of providing time for your manager to prepare for the conversation but it also helps increase your chances of success by ensuring the necessary people will be in the room.

State your case

When you do finally meet your manager to discuss the salary increase it is worth keeping in mind the following to make it as a smooth and beneficial a discussion as possible: First, offer a clear and distinct number, not an approximation or a rounded number but a salary that you can then defend and justify with the evidence you have/will present for why it is suitable. Secondly, be prepared to defend it but don’t take any rebukes or counteroffers as a personal slight, instead see it as a strictly business/professional discussion where you are proving the validity of the number. Third, if your organisation is unwilling to increase your salary because of unideal financial conditions or if their final counteroffer is not what you expected, do not be afraid to instead ask for non-salary benefits such as more vacation days and increased flexibility. Lastly, remember to end the conversation on a professional and positive note.


Asking for a salary increase may not be easy but it shouldn’t be avoided because of that. With proper research and preparation as well as treating it with a clear and professional mindset, you are not only far likelier to succeed but you will be reminded of your own self-worth and the value you bring to your organisation.

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