OK, let’s not beat around the bush: salary negotiation is likely to push you way outside the boundaries of your comfort zone, even if you have the most approachable and amenable of bosses. But this step beyond your regular daily work tasks is one which could potentially help you reap well deserved rewards, provided you arm yourself with the right knowledge and take some time do your research there is no reason why it should not go as smoothly as possible with the outcome you want.
Know your industry
In the first instance, it is imperative to know what you are worth in your professional field. There is no point asking your boss for an unattainable raise in salary if what you are asking for is way beyond the boundaries of your pay scale for your role and responsibilities within your industry. Apart from sounding unprofessional, you will only succeed in setting off on the wrong foot with your boss! To avoid this common pitfall, take the time to research the going salaries in your field of expertise. There are many resources for helping you do this online (insert link if necessary), or if you are a member of a trade union or professional body, they may also be a good source of information. One thing worth remembering is that it is likely there will be regional variations within your chosen field so the same position in London is likely to be salaried on a higher scale than the same role in Yorkshire.
Your industry experience
The basic equation to work from is more experience you have, the higher the salary you can expect to earn. Reminding your superiors about why they hired you in the first place is likely to be coupled with the amount of experience you have and this can be used as an effective bargaining tool. If you do not have many years experience, you must be realistic about what you can expect to earn within your pay scale and realise that while you may perform similar duties to a colleague with many more years under their belts, there is likely to be a difference in the salary you can expect.
Avoid comparisons between you and your friends/colleagues
The green eyed monster bites us all at one time or another, but it really is best to avoid comparing your salary to that of friends or colleagues. Talking salary with colleagues you work with on a daily basis may make them feel uncomfortable and make for a pointed working atmosphere, so is best avoided. Equally, if friends earn more than you but are not in the same professional field as you, then there is no point wasting your time doing these comparisons. Instead focus your energy on gathering facts you can use to increase your chances of negotiating the choppy waters of securing an increase in your salary.
When the time comes to approach this subject with your boss, make sure you have the time booked in for a meeting when you can both focussed on the task in hand and other distractions are minimised. Firstly, make sure you look smart and appropriate to your surroundings. Not only will you look more professional but you will probably feel more confident and equal in the environment of your manager or boss. Secondly, it is essential that you do not turn this conversation into something personal. Your manager does not want or need to hear about your unfortunate personal situation, increased bills or childcare costs. Equally, if you approach the negotiation with a overly developed, ‘I’m worth it’ mentality, this could be construed as conceitedness which may not go down well. With this in mind, make sure you leave your ego or personal issues at the door – this is not the time or place for either. Thirdly, remind your boss why you are such an asset to the company. Highlight your past achievements and define what you intend to do to drive the company forward, to make sure both your and shared future goals are met and exceeded.
Remember, salary increases are negotiated and won using facts and not emotions. Confidence is the key here, but arrogance or self pity should not, and most likely will not, be tolerated by your manager.
Be flexible, but realistic.
Of course, you will have a target figure in mind when you have this conversation based on your previous research. It is also worth bearing in mind that what you are aiming for and what your boss will settle at are likely to be completely different ends of the spectrum. Compromise is inevitable but by how much? Be pragmatic with your target salary and place that in your mind when you commence the negotiations to make sure you strike a balance between what is acceptable for both you and your boss.