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How to Negotiate a Pay Rise

So you’ve been working hard at your current role, and it’s time to negotiate a pay rise – hopefully more than the annual salary increment, which typically sits around 3%. There’s nothing better than getting your hard work recognized, and it might be time to negotiate a pay rise if you feel that you deserve one. It’s never easy to talk about money, especially when you’re asking your employer to pay you more, but it can be well worth the discomfort if you can get yourself some extra cash in your paycheck or even just maintain the status quo.

Don’t wait for your boss to bring up the pay rise conversation – as you probably know, more often than not that conversation is never going to happen. At some point in your career, you’re likely going to have to ask for a salary increment on your own accord, so you might as well start practicing now. The good news is it doesn’t have to be hard.

In the modern workplace, pay rises and salary increments are generally earned after an employee has worked hard enough to prove themselves to be worth more money. If you’re thinking about asking your employer for a pay rise, here are some strategies that you can use to get the best possible outcome in this tricky situation.

Understand why you want the raise

It’s hard enough to negotiate for yourself, but it’s even harder when you don’t have clear goals and motivations. Before you sit down with your boss, take time to reflect on why you want more money. Be honest with yourself about what that extra cash means – is it for bigger savings? A new home? A certain lifestyle? This helps you frame what exactly you are asking for.

Know what you are worth

Before going into any meeting, it’s imperative that you know what you’re worth, both personally and professionally. Don’t just throw out figures based on how much you think your skills are worth or what other companies might be paying for similar positions; rather than basing your salary request on anything outside of yourself, instead base it off of what you’ve contributed to your company so far and value that number accordingly.

Do your research

First, you need to be clear on what kind of pay rise you want. Are you looking for an annual increase? Or do you just want your pay level adjusted based on your experience and skills? If it’s a promotion, is it in terms of title, salary or both? Talk to your boss and make sure that whatever your expectations are, they’re realistic.

Be passionate

Are you passionate about your work? If so, it will show through in your actions and communication skills. This can be very advantageous when negotiating salary, as employers want people who are committed to their work and interested in being involved with future growth of their business. If you aren’t interested in what you’re doing, then maybe now is not a good time for negotiations. Passion is key!

Prepare yourself

When you’re about to ask for that pay rise, make sure you know exactly what your job is worth. There are lots of ways to do research on salaries – from asking friends in similar roles at other companies, looking up salaries online, or even going straight to hiring managers themselves. If possible, get your hands on some internal data from your company. This can be easily done by filling out an anonymous survey (make sure it’s anonymous!) or asking HR about last year’s salary increases.

Be open

When it comes to negotiating pay rises, being open about your interests and value is key. It shows you’re genuinely interested in staying at your company and building something with them – rather than using them as a stepping stone. As long as you have a solid relationship with your employer, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t consider giving you more money for staying on board.

Explain why you deserve a pay rise

Don’t ask for a pay rise because you want more money; rather, demonstrate why you deserve it. Your employer will be more likely to accept your request if he or she knows that you truly deserve an increase in salary. Talk about how much you contribute to your organization and how valuable your skill set is. Also, explain any new skills or accomplishments that have taken place over time and relate them back to work.

Don’t wait too long

If you are reading this, you are probably thinking about asking for a pay rise. The time for action is now. Have you been working hard? Have you made yourself indispensable at work? If so, now’s your chance to negotiate that salary increase and secure your financial future.


Negotiating more payment can be a daunting task, whether you’re an employee or looking to hire people yourself as an employer. It doesn’t help that it can be a tricky topic to bring up, either! But it doesn’t have to be – the above tips can help you negotiate a pay rise without anyone getting offended in the process.

Everyone wants to get the most they can when it comes to pay rises, but the fact of the matter is that not everyone can get exactly what they want. You need to know how to negotiate a pay rise without ruffling any feathers, or you could be in serious trouble with your employer and your colleagues.


Contributed by: Henry Mubiru Kweba. 

Views expressed by contributors are their own.