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Negotiating that pay rise

04 April 2012

Let me see a show of hands who feels comfortable asking for a pay increase? 

I’d hazard a guess to say not many of us feel confident about asking for more money.  Most of us know that the best time to negotiate salary is when you’re starting a new role, but what about when you’re 12 months down the track and it’s time to talk salary review?

Now you’re probably wondering what the magic bullet is? What is the one thing I need to do in order to get that pay increase? And no, don’t tell me that it’s confidence, which you will need or a crash course in hypnotherapy. Quite simply, it’s this...


•Find out what the market rate is for your role in your industry. You can easily use online salary calculators or similar jobs that are advertised.

•Make a bullet point list of your achievements in the past 12 months. If you’ve been given KPIs, show that you have achieved or surpassed them. 

•Identify other areas where your contributions have affected the company’s mission and vision values.

•Outline any other contributions that you have made to reduce the bottom line, increase savings or improve any processes that benefits the business. 

•Know how your company is doing financially. If they don’t have the funds to offer remuneration, then you might want to think about non-monetary benefits, like paid holiday leave. 

•Aim high but have a figure in mind of what you are willing to accept. If you’re aiming for a $10k salary increase, ask for $15k. Make sure that your figures are based on the research you have done. 

•Some roles might have salary bands, so keep in mind that if you’re at the top of that band, you might like to think of other non-financial benefits you would like to receive. 

Above all, keep the conversation open. Remember, this is a conversation not a hostage negotiation or a hostile takeover. By focusing on your achievement and dealing with facts, you’re presenting logic and not an emotional plea, which won’t help your cause. 

Having said all this, if the company hasn’t got back on its feet, sometimes acknowledging the company may not be in a position to award a pay increase earns brownie points. If so, make sure you ask for the review in another 6 months’ time when the market and/or your company improve.

What if the conversation ends in deadlock?

•Determine what are you willing to accept and how will you feel if it doesn’t go your way? Mentally prepare yourself.

•Ask your manager what you need to achieve in order to gain that increase.

•Decide what value you put on a company’s culture.  If you are in an environment that is fantastic, where you enjoy your colleague’s company and you feel nurtured, how does that translate into dollars and cents? 

•What other positions are being advertised that you might be able to apply for?

Ineke Duncan works for Horner Recruitment. 

HORNER Recruitment, in operation since 1975, is one of Melbourne’s longest running privately owned permanent and temporary recruitment consultancies. 



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