How To Push For An Above Average Salary Bump


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Securing a pay rise has been way tougher these last few years hasn't it? Changing jobs to secure a pay rise has vanished as an option in many industries, such has been the slowdown in hiring. Plus the risk of switching employers is perceived to be a lot higher in the current climate. So for many, that leaves us looking to secure a pay rise from our existing employer as the only means of achieving a significant jump in our earnings. Sound familiar?

This is where things get interesting - and why you'll want to read up on negotiation tips for securing a salary bump in your existing role.


How To Push For An Above Average Salary Bump


At a company level, average salary rises are determined by a mix of

  • the company's ability to pay (how well it's doing financially)
  • the going rate in the market (what staff could secure by moving to a competitor, factoring in how likely staff are to move) and
  • inflation

Clearly the ability to pay more has been significantly impacted by the prolonged downturn in a lot of industries. Simultaneously, the risk of staff moving en masse to competitors at a significant pay premium has also plummeted. So at the aggregate level, businesses are primed to increase the average salary by just what's needed to keep pace with inflation.

Yet you still have one ace up your sleeve.

The remaining strand of salary negotiations revolves around an individual's contribution to the company - and this is where our negotiation tips may help. If you can demonstrate that you make an above average contribution to the company's fortunes then you may also be able to push for an above average salary bump.

Pay Rise Negotiation Tips

Here are the negotiation tips you need to focus on to maximise your chances of a successful outcome:

  1. Do your research
    1. Establish when your organisation makes pay rise decisions for the coming year and who is involved in those decisions. 
    2. Figure out the market rate for your role. Talk to recruitment consultants to see the level at which they'd consider pitching you for new roles. Scan job listings and source real data from sites like Payscale or Glassdoor.
    3. Uncover how the company is doing financially so that you know how sensitive to cost increases management are likely to be.

  2. Prepare for the meeting
    1. Can you provide a clear, commercial reason for the business to agree to an above average salary bump just for you? How have you contributed disproportionately to the sales generated by the business, or to initiatives aimed at reducing costs / improving efficiency or to new drives to ensure customer satisfaction?
    2. To think about this differently, what would the business stand to lose if you were no longer an employee? Would client wins be put at risk; or perhaps the prospect of further cost savings being delivered?
    3. Fundamentally, put yourself in the shoes of the manager deciding on this request and ask yourself whether the business would feel a greater loss from losing you as an employee or from conceding to your wage demands. You need to skew their thinking to the former as much as you possibly can.

  3. Conduct the meeting in a professional manner
    1. Avoid being emotionally fired up. Whatever the outcome, you don't want to fall out with your boss as this will tarnish your career prospects both within and outside of the company.
    2. Keep the discussion positive at all times, focused on your achievements, your hopes for the business and the part you believe you can play in that future vision. Do not attack the lack of pay rises or promotion opportunities within the business, this merely serves to put the other person on the defensive.
    3. Consider stressing Win-Win outcomes to make it easier for the decision maker to approve your request. Could you become eligible for a sales bonus, or be guaranteed a pay rise provided a certain target is met? A pay rise that is somehow conditional on improved results within the business is always easier to approve than one that impacts the business irrespective of the financial results delivered. The counter argument is that you may end up losing out on the pay rise you might have secured had you pushed for a Win-Lose outcome, so to a degree your own risk appetite and confidence in your circumstances will come into play here. 
    4. Some commentators stress that you should seek to be the first to mention a figure in the negotiations, since the first number to be mentioned then acts as an anchor against which all subsequent proposals are then judged.


We hope these negotiation tips prove helpful. It goes without saying that if you don't ask, you don't get. But whilst pay rises may be mediocre across the board, exceptions are frequently made for those who have the courage to ask for a raise and who have prepared a strong case for a rise and timed their request appropriately. The key is to think of the conversation like a job interview - you're going to need to sell yourself to your boss all over again if you're to enjoy upsides that most other staff in the business are not enjoying. Good luck!.

Related articles from elsewhere on the web:

Need A Pay Rise? (Telegraph)
Ten Powerful Steps to Negotiating a Higher Salary
Negotiating Your Salary In A Bad Economy (Forbes)


Image source: Flickr member 401(K) 2012


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