The Art of Negotiating A Raise

What happens when you’ve been working in a position for a while, but believe you deserve a raise? How do you approach this conversation with your manager? Discussing compensation with your employer can be nerve-wracking for anyone. Salary expectations vary based on several factors including education, years of experience, location, and job duties. 

There is an art to negotiating a raise and getting the compensation you deserve. As we go into a new year, here’s what you need to know to get higher pay. 

BE CONFIDENT. The first, and most important, step in negotiating a raise is letting go of the fear associated with asking for what you deserve. Employees must be confident when initiating this conversation and they must understand the value that they bring to the company. Without confidence, the employee will not be able to articulate and identify the ways they add value to the company.

HAVE GOOD TIMING. The average annual salary increase for most companies is between 2-5%. In contrast, some companies do not offer annual wage increases at all. Therefore, employees must negotiate if they want a considerable raise. For companies that offer raises, discussions are held during performance review season. Try to initiate the conversation a few weeks or months before performance discussions start. You can also talk about compensation after a strong financial quarter for the company. Employees should have a definitive number in mind for the raise. A 10-20% increase is a good starting point. 

DO RESEARCH BEFORE THE CONVERSATION. Conducting research and presenting your findings during the conversation is vital to salary negotiations. You need to understand the market rates for employees in your industry with your qualifications and skills. You also need to know the salary ranges for employees at other companies and be comfortable sharing this information with your employer. Talk to people at your level and find out what they’re getting paid. Additionally, research your company and their current economic situation. Is your company going through a tough period and possible layoffs? Are they doing well financially and hiring new workers? Make some effort to understand the inner workings of your company so you have a clearer picture of what you’re up against. 

LIST YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Showing your value to employers is not only about listing your qualifications. Employees need to show their boss clear and tangible ways they have benefitted the company. Employees need to highlight the times they’ve helped the organization make money, save money, streamline processes, etc. The best way to do this is to keep a list of your accomplishments and write them down. Include all the statistical data to support your claims such as the amount of money you saved the company, how much money they made during the quarter with your help, etc. The employer needs to see in black and white the ways in which you enrich the organization. You can also pinpoint your job duties and how they have grown, changed or increased during your tenure at the company. You need to also let the manager know how the company benefits by giving you a raise. Will this make you more efficient or loyal? Talk to your manager about how your salary increase will help them in the long run. Companies want a return on their investment in you and it helps when you outline the benefits for them. 

BE PREPARED FOR A FOLLOW UP CONVERSATION. Remember the initial conversation is just a starting point. Your boss will probably have another conversation with you after talking to their superiors. Upper management may also request to meet with you to discuss these salary changes. After the initial conversation, be prepared to talk with your manager more than once about this topic. Preparation is key so keep everything in writing and save it so that you can refer to these documents later. 

x Leonye McCalla is a writer living in New York City. As a contributing writer to Career Mastered, Leonye enjoys sharing tips and tricks to help women on their entrepreneurial journey

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