We all feel we're worth more money, but there are dos and don'ts when it comes to negotiating a rise. Below is 10 ways in which to gain a pay rise!
You're under-appreciated, overworked, worth your weight in gold, but paid like a pauper. So what are you waiting for? It's time to ask for a pay rise. Now, barging in to your boss's office and demanding more money is unlikely to be the best approach, but there are some things you can do to encourage him or her to see things your way ...
You are unlikely to convince anyone you're worth more unless you can find concrete arguments to back up your request. Firstly, reread your job description. If you can show your boss you've gone beyond the call of duty by taking on extra work and responsibilities then you stand a much better chance of winning him or her over.
Jenny Ungless, a career coach at recruitment firm Monster , says wherever possible you should quantify your contribution. "Most bosses understand the world in figures. So if you can show your boss you've exceeded targets by X amount or attracted X number of new clients to the firm, then it is a much clearer estimation of your value," she says.
If your contribution doesn't so easily translate to pounds and pence, think about what else you have done to improve the business. Have you helped with the smooth running of the department or introduced any new ideas or working practices?
Do some research to establish exactly what you ought to be getting paid. Check job sites on the internet and newspaper ads for comparable rates of pay for your position. Trade magazines frequently carry out salary surveys.
A word of warning: if you're going to compare your wage against that of someone else at your own firm make sure you check the company policy on pay confidentiality.
"Many firms have strict rules on revealing staff pay," says Ungless. "So before you begin telling your boss you ought to be on the same wage as one of your colleagues who you happen to know is earning more, first of all ensure that information is not privileged."
Before meeting with your boss it might be a good idea to provide a written copy of your case in advance. Charles Cotton, a reward adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development , says a written document will give a clear idea of your arguments, which your boss could then use to plead your case with senior management.
"You need to look at it from your boss's point of view. They must justify giving you extra money to their superiors, so if you give them something in writing they can refer to it is a definite plus," he says.
"No employer is going to take kindly to being put on the spot, so make sure your boss has plenty of warning of your intentions," says Ungless. "Request a performance review and make it clear you would like to talk about pay."
Picking the right time is crucial. First thing on a Monday or late on a Friday are definite no-noes. One survey picked out Wednesday as the day on which employers are most likely to be receptive to a pay request, but think about the rhythms of your workplace before you make your choice.
Try to schedule a meeting at a time when you know your boss will not be too busy and will have the time to give your suggestions their full attention.
It is also important to bear in mind wider trends at your company. "If your firm has just announced a raft of job cuts then perhaps you ought to think twice, " says Cotton. "However, if company profits have gone through the roof, maybe now is the time to get in that request."
He adds: "It is also a good tactic to arrange your meeting well in advance of budgeting so that your boss can factor it in."
Demanding your salary be doubled is unlikely to get you anywhere other than through the exit door. Bear in mind the research you have done into comparable salaries in other organisations, and that your boss does not have to agree to giving you any more money. If you want your request to be taking seriously you need to pitch it right.
The key to negotiating is confidence. Be sure of your arguments, present your case clearly and succinctly and, most of all, don't be afraid of failure. As long as you are polite and reasonable you have nothing to fear. "If you handle it gracefully and make your case well, you won't be left in a weaker position by asking," says Ungless.
Just because your boss has turned down a pay increase doesn't mean you can't ask for non-financial benefits as an alternative. "Think about what you might accept instead," says Ungless. "Extra holidays, a higher car-allowance or increased training and development, for example."
If your boss turns down your request, don't resort to tears or throw a tantrum. It's definitely a bad idea to make threats or issue ultimatums as you might miss out on subsequent opportunities. When you've had time to think clearly about your position, you may decide the only way to achieve career progression and a pay rise is to move jobs - in that situation you may need a reference from your boss, so it is well worth keeping him or her on side.
It might sound like a no-brainer, but if after racking your brain the only good reason you can come up with for why you deserve a pay rise is that you'd really like one, then you should probably put the idea on hold. Instead, it might be time to knuckle down to some old-fashioned graft, or take on more responsibility around the workplace. That way, in six months or a year's time you can go back to your paymaster with a more legitimate case.