How to get a pay rise


You’re bright, articulate, hard-working, diligent and always going the extra mile to serve both your colleagues and clients.

In essence; you work like a dog AND you’re so very, very, very good at your job.

So, why aren’t you paid more? Two reasons:

  1. Your organisation can’t afford it or,
  2. You’ve never asked for a pay rise

To those of you now shouting at your computer screen “Well, I did ask and I didn’t get one” don’t fret and get frustrated that the world doesn’t value you as much as you think it should. The basic answer is that you didn’t ask well enough. Getting a pay rise is not about what you think you’re worth it’s about what you can prove you’re worth. The analogy I’ll use is similar to going to court to win a case that lodged against you – it’s not about knowing you’re in the right, it’s how you prove that your right. Appearing in court can be very stressful and so can going into battle with your organisation or your boss and the very fact that the process itself can become very emotional means that either or both parties involved make this a battle of strength rather than a professional, constructive negotiation.

This blog will solve your problems if you follow a few basic rules of effective negotiation.

Basic principle of effective negotiations.


Rule 1 – Don’t negotiate – (strange you might think but so vital when negotiating)

Never bargain until you have to so you need to be clear about what you need and why. Only if your boss objects do you need to negotiate. Don’t go in with compromises at stage one. You’re only strengthening their hand. If in doubt go to Rule 4.

Rule 2 – Know your main objective and settlement objectives

I coached a friend to a £8000 pay rise by asking her to list what she did for her company and how much that was worth on the open market. Then I asked her to set out a plan of how she could create extra value (we set a sum of £45000) over the next year so she could not only prove her current worth but let her boss see that the pay rise would be an investment the company couldn’t ignore. Result: she got the lot.


Rule – 3 – Learn to bargain with objective arguments not emotional demands

Mark McCormick in his famous book ‘What they don’t teach you at Harvard’ gives a great piece of information when negotiating: ‘Don’t react because then you’ll never over-react.’ As an ex sales director I found this to be a fantastic tip when the going gets tough. Remember even if you struggle with your negotiations you still have to live with your collegues so stick to the points you’ve planned and ensure you stay positive at all times.

Rule 4 – Ask for what you want (without feeling guilty)

Know how to ‘talk the money’. Great negotiators look for weakness (or leakage) in you and your argument. Tip: roleplay this with a friend or colleague to see how you come across at the vital point of the ‘ask’. If you’re not coming across as clear and confident, don’t set up the crucial meeting until you do.

Rule 5 – Understand the value of your product to the negotiating party (that’s you by the way)

Negotiating a pay rise is all about getting paid for your true value. If you don’t know what you’re worth to your organisation why should they pay you more? Negotiating is all about how much the other party will tolerate the pain of giving in to you’re demands. Speak to people doing similar roles to you within your company, in the same sector and in similar organisations. Talk to people you know well so that you’re comfortable asking how much they currently get paid and how much they’re planning to ask for at their next review.

A great online tool called Adzuma can calculate your worth based on your CV. Quite eye opening info.

There you go. Follow these five nuggets of gold (if you’ll excuse the pun) and if looked upon as that which the genie of the lamp can grant you – you shall have all your wishes fulfilled. [if !supportAnnotations][TS2][endif]

Good luck**

* I’m glad you scrolled down to this essential disclaimer because if you’re still thinking in terms of wishes you really haven’t grasped the concept of ‘goals and objective’ have you? If this is the case, go back and reread this blog again.

** Again, you need to change your thought processes and strategies. If after reading this blog you’re still thinking in terms of ‘luck’ then you don’t have a PLAN. If so, go back and reread this blog twice over.

Pay negotiations studied

This article was originally published in the journal Nature

More men than women bargain for pay when salary is defined.

Women are slightly more likely than men to bargain for higher pay when a job advert indicates that salary is negotiable, a study finds. But men tend more than women to ask for more money when it is not made explicit that wages can be adjusted, says Do Women Avoid Salary Negotiations? Evidence from a Large Scale Natural Field Experiment, a working paper published on 15 November by the US National Bureau of Economic Research. Researchers placed job adverts for real administrative positions in nine US cities between November 2011 and February 2012, drawing almost 2,500 respondents. They found that 11% of men and 8% of women initiated salary negotiations when the salary was fixed, whereas 24% of women and 22% of men started discussions when it was negotiable. Study co-author John List, an economist at the University of Chicago in Illinois, suspects that the pattern is probably the same for scientific research positions. “Even if a job advert says the salary is not negotiable, women should negotiate — unless they want to stay a step behind,” he says.