Elizabeth Mendes da Silva outlines her top tips for negotiating a salary increase

1. Do your research

I have been in the position where I thought by market standards my salary was ahead in comparison to others. However, although it once was, it became apparent that even though I had been receiving salary increases incrementally, it was no longer a fair reflection of what I should have been paid. So, do keep yourself updated on this.  I use Glassdoor. This site not only provides salary information, but also reviews of companies from existing employees. For a balanced view, you could speak to others in your network, but salary discussions can be very personal. I wouldn’t recommend asking your network directly, however look at recruiter websites and note what salaries are pitched on their sites.

2. Be confident

Present your case as if you are pitching for a role and go higher than your intended figure. This will create leverage for negotiations at a later stage. Focus on the additional value you can add to the future of the job, rather than making it about your personal circumstances. As with all negotiations, there may be some push back, and of course there may be an instant decline, but if you don’t try you may regret it. Even if your current salary is banded with agreements via the unions, exceptions can always be made, such as a deferred bonus. Prepare yourself mentally by watching motivational/confidence inspiring videos; there is a great section on YouTube that can put you in the right headspace.

3. Be open to a counteroffer

So, you were seeking a pay rise, but your employers were unable to offer this. However, they have offered to invest in upskilling you instead.  This can be a brilliant alternative, as this could open paths to managerial positions which will of course lead to a salary increase in due course.  Other positive amendments can be to increase your existing benefits package, add to your vacation days, or gain a change in working conditions, such as flexible working, to assist in maintaining a work/ life balance.

4. Be mindful of timing

Timing can work for or against you so familiarise yourself with the processes of your firm. An appropriate time to raise your salary request could be during pay round/ performance reviews as this is when employees are being assessed and salaries are at the forefront of everyone’s mind.  Be aware of your company’s success, and the working conditions. For example, if there has been a recent round of redundancies, that may be a sign that it’s not the best time to proceed with this route and you would be best to wait until the dust settles. Be conscious not to ambush your manager; if they feel blindsided, or unprepared, they won’t appreciate it. Be transparent and state your purpose for the meeting prior to the meeting date.

5. Approach this in person

Always negotiate in person.  This is advantageous to you as you can read body language, and you stand a much higher chance to secure a deal face to face. It also shows extra commitment. As this is a serious ask, you want to be portrayed the best way possible. Ensure that any offer accepted is confirmed in writing; if the company doesn’t record the terms of reference it could potentially be subject to change. Show you are prepared by demonstrating evidence that you have made a big positive impact in the work place.  If your manager is analytical then use figures; if they are more of the creative variety then adjust your examples to suit their preferred style.  Above all, practise your pitch with someone who can give you honest feedback prior to your meeting. It will give you the extra boost you need before heading to get that desired result.

6. Be humble

Whether you received the offer you were after, or were declined, take time to review the details. Always be grateful for the time and attention, and never demonstrate frustration.  Maintain positive relationships with your employers, as you may not be considered for a salary increase this time but will be first in mind for any future opportunities meeting your requirements. Maintain your professional profile on LinkedIn, as HR may look at profiles both internal and external to your firm. All achievements should be proudly showcased and visible to demonstrate your additional financial value, backing your business case.

Elizabeth Mendes Da Silva, Winner of the 2017 We Are the City Rising Star Award in the PA/ EA Category, has been an Executive Assistant for over five years. Elizabeth works in the mobile payments department of Barclays, having begun her career as a ... (Read More)

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