How to get a salary increase

Each and every one of use needs to work to earn money to survive, but how many of us are actually getting paid what we are worth? There are many people who find asking for a raise an uncomfortable and awkward subject, which is understandable. Asking for a raise is effectively begging, but there is the saying “those who don’t ask, don’t get” and this is very true in negotiating a salary increase. Put yourself in the shoes of your employer for a second and answer this question honestly, “How much would you pay your staff?” Surely the answer is as little as you can get away with right? After all, as a business owner you want to make as much money as possible and that means keeping costs, such as wage costs, as low as possible.

Despite the above, there are things you can do to increase the chances of getting more money when asking for a raise. So, what do we need to do when asking for a raise?

Cash - the reason why we all work

The Great British Pound - Some English notes and coinsCredit:

The first thing you need to do when asking for a raise is to arrange a private meeting with your boss.  Collaring on the factory floor, in front of the workforce is not the time or the place to talk about a salary increase and you will not be in a good negotiating position, and your boss won’t thank you for it. So, book a private room and sort out a convenient time to meet.

Before the salary increase meeting you need to do some planning and know exactly what you want to say, how to say it and prepare some answers for some questions your boss is likely to ask you, all of this is going to require some preparation. First off you are going to want to know how much of a salary increase you want, however you need to be realistic in this. There are many salary comparison websites where you can see how much people doing your role are being paid. As a word of warning, the salary comparisons should be used as a guide only. You need to remember that there are regional variations in salary, i.e. in some areas the same job is paid more than in other areas, so you need to factor this. When deciding the level of salary increase you want, it is best to be a bit on the high side so you can come down during the negotiations.  “How much do you want?” is a question your employer is almost certain to ask, so make sure you can answer this question without hesitation, as any stalling is not going to help you out.

Before asking for a raise you are going to have to prove you are actually worth more money to the business. In order to get a salary increase you are going to need to find some real life examples of things you have done that has generated more income for the business, saved the business some money or made the business more efficient. If you can quantify the additional income you helped to generate or quantify the savings you made, since this will help you when asking for a raise. Before the salary increase meeting make sure you think about this and find some examples you can present to your employer that will help when asking for a raise.

When asking for a raise you need to demonstrate your loyalty to the business. You need to demonstrate you are dedicated and want the business to succeed. You need to show that you want the business to prosper and you want to prosper as well. Your boss is unlikely to ask where your loyalties lie, however you should make sure you can demonstrate this before you go in to the meeting.

Preparation is a key thing and shows you mean business, and there are no excuses for not being prepared before you go in to the meeting. If you don’t prepare for the meeting you are highly unlikely to get a salary increase, and you will only have yourself to blame in these circumstances.

Preparation is key so make sure you calculate how much of a salary increase you want and note down all the things you want to say prior to the meeting with your boss. 

The businessman's essentialsCredit: yackers1

So, you’ve done the preparation, you know how much of a salary increase you are willing to accept, you have examples of what you have done that has benefitted the business, you can demonstrate your loyalty to the business and you are well rehearsed at what you want to say. What next?

The next stage in asking for a raise is the meeting itself. When you go in to the meeting you need to go in full of confidence and self belief and portray the right body language. Walk in with you head up, back straight and shoulders back. This will show your boss you mean business and give you some authority. During the meeting you are going to not only ask for the salary increase but demonstrate the reasons why you should be paid more money. Do you remember all the planning and preparation you did for the meeting? Do you remember all those pre-prepared answers you did? Well now is the time to use them and rattle off all the reasons, along with specific real life examples of why you think you deserve a salary increase.

It is impossible to predict every possible question your boss may ask you during the meeting and it is likely you will be asked a question for which you do not have a pre-prepared answer for. Don’t panic in this situation and never get flustered. Instead, think before you speak and take a deep breath before you start speaking to give you a couple of moments to think about your response.

During the meeting you need to be firm but not too demanding. You can’t go in to bullish otherwise your employer is will feel threatened and will stamp his, or her, authority by turning you down flat.

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance and you need to make sure you remain on the right side of the line. If your boss says no to a pay rise don’t argue, or give the ultimatum and threaten to leave the business unless you get your way. If you threaten to leave your boss may call your bluff and tell you to resign. You need to remember that no one is indispensable and there is always a suitable replacement, so unless you will actually leave if you don’t get a salary increase, do not threaten to do so.

There are times when an employer will turn an employee down flat during a meeting, only to think about the situation later on and then actually have a change of heart. If your boss refuses a salary increase during the meeting and you retaliate there is no chance your boss will change his, or her mind later on give you the salary increase you asked for, so don’t argue.

If you don’t get the salary increase you want when asking for a raise don’t get too disheartened about it. When you do get turned down ask your employer what is expected of you and what you need to get a salary increase. Being proactive in this manner will show your boss you are keen to get on and succeed in the business, which will help your career prospects.

In conclusion....

Every employee should be paid what they are worth, but asking for a raise is not an easy thing to do. However, if you approach the subject in the right way the chances of getting a salary increase are greatly improved.

So when you are asking for a raise;

  • Arrange a meeting with your boss
  • Prepare before the meeting and make sure you know how much you want and can show what you have done that has benefited the business.
  • During the meeting be confident but not arrogant, and make sure you don’t argue the point.