As it’s International Women’s Day today I wanted to write about how to negotiate a salary increase . The world of work is changing so much and it’s great to see so many initiatives and changes that redefine how work has been seen for decades if not longer. One of the great debates is the Gender Pay Gap- as a woman I believe men and women should be paid equally as a mum of two I can see just how easily that gap happens. There are no easy answers. Reform is great but I always believe it starts on a personal level so this post will hopefully empower you to act on your own behalf. I also want to explicitly say you don’t always have to negotiate, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t done so before. If you are happy with the offer then that is a good place to be.
Here’s how to go about earning what you feel you really deserve.
Make room to have the conversation properly and schedule the discussion. This is not one of those discussions you drop hints about and beat about the bush with. I would also not recommend that you throw it in the mix of other business as usual discussions as it can get buried quite quickly under other important issues. Your regular 1:1 is therefore not the right forum for this discussion. Set a separate meeting with this as the sole agenda- it highlights how important the issue is to you and this is more difficult to ignore or constantly reschedule. Right timing also has to do with how well the company is doing- don’t ask for a raise when redundancies have just been announced.
Having done this, just ask and when you do so ask confidently. Don’t mince your words, mumble or fiddle. Practise your body language, voice tone and posture. Don’t confuse confidence with cockiness or arrogance. The more confident you are the more seriously you will be taken and the less likely you are to be given the brush off. Take control of the situation by visualising the conversation and outcome you would like to have and take note of any objections that might be presented and how you will respond. There are some common objections you can prepare yourself for. A lot of people are afraid to hear no- get over it if you try and get told no. It doesn’t mean that is the end of it. If the reason is genuine note it down and come back another time when the objection is resolved. Remember there are only three outcomes from a negotiation.
Bring your facts to the salary negotiation. This is not an emotional discussion about your car payment costing more than your rent. Your overspending and aspirational life choices have nothing to do with this discussion. The only time lifestyle comes into this is when you haven’t been getting an appropriately adjusted inflationary salary increase. You need hard cold facts. Bring with you details of current market value for professionals with your skills set, duties and work experience. This also needs to be in a comparable industry and size organization. Bring with you a credible portfolio of projects that show how you have added value and how you will continue to add value. The later is also really important.
Know exactly how much you are asking for. Don’t ask for an unrealistic raise it discredits you and just reduces your credibility. Make a list of tradeoffs and alternatives you are prepared to take. An example is if you don’t get a salary increase in cash on your payslip but get training worth £10,000 or a car allowance worth £5,000. You also need to create a tradeoff list so you don’t end up in a hostile and awkward stalemate. Remember you still have to work with your manager and you will still need your manager’s respect after the discussion.
Whatever the outcome- win or lose be grateful for being given the opportunity to be heard and make it known to your boss. Write a kind note or be explicit in your speech. Remember a no once is not a no forever in this case. The situation may change in the future. Don’t be a sore loser and start performing poorly as that only impacts future discussions and will not go unnoticed. Take the facts from your negotiation and start creating a strategy for a future more successful negotiation. Try not to take the result too personally if it’s not to your liking and is not intended that way.
What objections have you had in the past and how did you overcome them?