As a job seeker, you may or may not get an opportunity to negotiate your salary before accepting a new job. But once you’ve been working for a year or so, it’s usually time for a pay increase.
Salary negotiations can seem intimidating unless you are prepared.
When you are asking for a raise at the right time, you are armed with the right information to show why you deserve a raise, that you are familiar with salary negotiation strategies, and are able to approach your manager with a positive attitude.
All of these points of preparedness will help you easily master how to negotiate a raise.
Why You Need to Advocate for a Pay Raise
It’s always good to re-evaluate how much money you’re making on a yearly basis. Reflect on your job and think about advocating for a raise if one of the following applies:
You’ve Been Taking on Additional Work
As you show your competence at your job, you may be given additional responsibilities that go beyond your original job description. If you have been carrying a heavier workload for a while, you are consistently asked to pick up the workload of other team members, or your boss has just asked you to take on a significantly higher amount of work, it is likely time to ask for a higher salary.
You’ve Helped Your Company Achieve or Surpass Big Milestones
Keep a work journal of the milestones you reach in your job and the value you add to the company. Make note of the efforts you’ve put forth to help your company reach its goals. Be mindful of creating innovative ways to contribute to your company and be sure you are recognized for it.
You Now Manage People (or More People)
Supervising others is a significant responsibility that eases the workload of your supervisor. If you are managing more people, it is appropriate to ask for more money, as your time is spent helping level-up others in the organization, contributing to the business’s bottom line.
You’ve Had Consistent, Excellent Performance Reviews
Be prepared before going into your performance reviews to request higher pay if you ace your review.
Your boss has already spelled out your high value to the company, so it is the perfect time to negotiate your salary.
It also goes without saying that you should make a raise request when you receive a promotion or new job title, which is usually done during performance reviews.
The Company You Work for Has Increased Its Earnings
Many companies post quarterly earnings or make financial successes known to employees. When your employer is experiencing more dollar signs, they are in a better position to raise your current salary.
The Market Value of Your Position Is Higher Than Your Salary
Research your job title in your geographical area to see how salaries of similar positions compare with your current job and pay rate.
Make a comparison based on company size and job duties to ensure you are being paid at a comparable market rate.
You’ve Received a Job Offer From Another Company
Whether you are seeking a new job or a competitor offers you an unsolicited position, make your company aware of the offer. Make it clear that you would rather stay with your current position and make it sustainable, which sets you up for salary negotiations within a positive atmosphere.
The Monetary Value of Your Work Has Grown
When you are a high performer, bring in more sales, give excellent company service, and have clients who are loyal to you, you are a financial asset to the company. Gather your data and talking points as you prepare to ask for a raise so your employer can tangibly see your value.
How to Negotiate a Raise
Use the following seven salary negotiation tips to understand how to negotiate a raise you deserve. These expert tips are the key steps you need to be well-prepared when you ask for a raise.
Research the Market Value of Your Position
When you enter salary negotiations, you will want to give your manager a dollar figure that you are expecting. This requires knowing the current market value for your job title.
Conduct market research on job sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Payscale, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Salary.com. These sites will often give you the average salary for your job title as well as a salary range based on data gathered from employees and companies.
Determine the pay range offered for your position based on your level of education, years of experience, company size, and geographical location.
Companies in metropolitan areas will typically offer higher pay than those in more rural locations to compensate for the higher cost of living. Likewise, larger companies generally have the capacity to offer more pay than startups and small businesses. So be sure you are considering the full picture when determining the market rate of your job.
Speak to job recruiters, such as on LinkedIn or elsewhere, to get a good idea of what your market value is based on your experience, education, certifications, skills, and training.
Consider Your Specific Accomplishments and Skills
Your value goes beyond the dollar amount other businesses are offering for your job description. Consider what you personally bring to the position that adds value to your company.
Outline what you have gained since you were first hired or since your last raise. This might include certifications you have earned, training you have completed, and new responsibilities you have taken on.
Have you received outstanding performance reviews in the past year? What were the specific skills, contributions, or accomplishments your manager noted?
Use these items as talking points during your salary negotiation, but also to determine the dollar amount of the salary increase you deserve. Monetize your value as best you can to calculate fair compensation.
Determine the Amount of Your Ideal Salary Increase
Armed with your market research and personal accomplishments, determine your ideal salary. During salary negotiations, it is best to start with a higher figure so your employer has room to negotiate and you are more likely to get the salary adjustment you are aiming for.
The average salary increase is usually about 3% annually, but this has increased to an average of 4.6% in 2022, according to the BLS.
So one way to determine your ideal salary is to add this percentage to your base pay. This is especially appropriate if you are asking for compensation based on a consistently good performance.
However, if your performance, skills, additional responsibilities, and new training or certification exceed the norm expected in your job description, it is reasonable to request 10% to 20% or more.
Understand the Needs of the Company
Be aware of the financial status of the company you work for. If it has experienced growth over the past few quarters, it is poised to accept a higher salary request from you. However, if it is in a downturn or transitioning, its cash flow will be less fluid.
Even in less-than-ideal situations, you can still request a raise based on the benefits you bring to the company. What can you offer to your employer to fill their needs and meet their business goals?
Base the amount of your salary request on the needs of the company. If growth is slow, consider asking for a raise of a lower amount and save higher figures for when your employer is doing better.
Use the Right Timing to Schedule a Salary Negotiation
If it has been more than a year since your last raise, it is usually time for a raise request.
Along with this and considering the needs of the company, time your salary negotiation at the right point in the fiscal year.
For instance, asking for a raise before departments submit their annual budgets can make all the difference in your salary negotiation. As they are planning their budgets, they can add more money when they already have your compensation request on the table. But if you approach them after the yearly budget is finalized, they will not have as much wiggle room and may ask you to wait until next year.
Ask the HR department, your manager, or co-workers who are in the know when budget planning takes place if you are not already aware.
Consider the workload of your supervisor, manager, hiring manager, and whoever will be in salary negotiations. You do not want to catch them at a busy time when their mind is occupied with many other matters.
Avoid scheduling your salary negotiation meeting on a Monday morning. This is typically when people want to get their most productive work done and start the work week strong. A mid-week meeting may be best to avoid the end-of-week fatigue as well.
Scheduling your meeting for late morning or mid-day may also be advantageous as it will help you avoid the morning rush or late-day fatigue.
Prepare for the Negotiation Conversation
As you prepare for your salary negotiation meeting, maintain the mindset that you’ll be asking for a raise because you have evidence you deserve it; it is not just something you want, need, or hope for.
Organize your talking points, which will include the salary range you have researched, the contributions you have made or are making, the training or certifications you have received, and other essential information that shows you deserve a raise.
Practice how you will present your points to your manager or supervisor. While you can think of the salary negotiation as a sales pitch or presentation, it’s best to keep it a conversation. Have notes with you, but do not make a slide presentation or make it feel like you are lecturing the other party.
Imagine different scenarios that could result, such as questions they may ask you, whether they may say yes or no, if they will ask you if you’ve received other job offers, if they want more data, or what your final offer is.
Practice with a trusted friend or family member that you do not work with.
Ideally, role play with a person who has experience as a manager or who has asked for a pay raise before. Ask them to give you feedback about your body language, level of confidence, the strength of your talking points, and positive attitude.
Avoiding certain phrases can help convince your current employer to send more company money your way. Expert tips include:
- Instead of saying “I need a raise” say “I request a raise.”
- Instead of saying “more money” give a specific amount.
- Instead of saying, “I think I deserve this because…” say “I deserve this because…”
- Instead of saying, “I was hoping for…” say “Based on X, I would expect…”
Manage the Conversation
Once you are in your meeting, be confident, flexible, and positive. Inform the other party that you would like to ask for a raise and present your points succinctly.
Allow your manager or the other party to respond and ask questions or give feedback. Understand that you may need to give your manager time to speak to the HR department or company executives before they make a final decision.
Always end on a positive note, and be prepared with how you respond to a “yes” or “no” answer with the following advice.
How to Respond If You Get a “Yes” to a Pay Raise
If your employer would like to offer you a raise, begin your negotiation with your high but reasonable figure. They will likely make you a counter-salary offer.
Most managers have gone through salary negotiations before, so they will typically offer you a salary that is lower than what you want. Counter their offer with a higher number, keeping your target salary in mind.
Eventually, the negotiation process will result in a final offer. Accept it with gratitude, keep the atmosphere positive, and show your appreciation for your raise.
Continue to provide excellent work over the next year so your employer will see their investment in you is well worth it. This will only help you when you ask for a raise again in a year’s time or when the timing is right.
How to Respond If You Get a “No” to a Pay Raise
Stay positive if you ask for a raise and the answer is no. It doesn’t mean you will not get a raise in the future.
Instead of saying, “Thank you anyway,” ask when you can pick up the conversation again.
Ask your manager for specific things they are looking for that would merit a raise. This might be an improvement in certain skills, further training, or more experience, for instance.
It might also mean the company has to get out of a financial slump or increase sales. Ask for details so you know what to focus your time, efforts, and attention on before asking for a raise on a future date.
If your employer is not able to provide you with specifics, consider that it may be time to look for a new job where your contributions will be more appreciated and you will receive compensation that is commensurate with your abilities.
Be prepared with other benefits you would like to request. A “no” answer may be due to the company’s inability to provide monetary compensation. In that case, ask for other benefits that will allow you to feel valued.
This might include stock options, vacation time, education reimbursement, an upgraded office or equipment, the option to work from home or in a hybrid situation, free access to conferences or training, or flexible hours, for example.
Keep the big picture in mind and always end your salary negotiations on a positive note.
Ace Your Next Salary Negotiation
Now that you know how to negotiate a raise, use the strategies to ace your negotiation the next time you ask for a raise. To help you organize your talking points and to reach goals that can help you qualify for a higher raise, download my free Personal Development Plan Template.
It will help you identify areas you need to improve in for greater success and help you plan out your personal and professional goals so you can reach them more efficiently than ever before.
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian’s goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.