How To Negotiate A Higher Salary (8 Quick Steps)

Think you should be earning more? In this article we teach you the 8 essential steps to negotiate a higher salary and start earning more.

Article Author

By Jess Wriggle

How To Negotiate A Higher Salary (8 Quick Steps) Image

Is it easy to ask for a higher salary?

Let’s be real…


Even if you’re invaluable and getting paid well below expectations, it’s always an awkward conversation.

Does that mean you shouldn’t bother?

Absolutely not.

It’s difficult to discuss the subject with your employer, theres no denying it.

However, following the steps below and the right approach, it is possible to ask for a higher salary and start earning more.

It's essential to be confident in your qualifications and the value you bring to the company and to articulate your case clearly and persuasively.

It's also important to be respectful and professional when discussing the topic with your employer. We don’t want to start thinking about resignation letters.

Remember, it’s a process and not always a one-time event.

Your employer may not agree to a salary increase immediately. Still, it’s good to keep open communication and continue to build a case for a salary increase based on your contributions and performance over time.

👀 Before we get into it, here’s a quick overview of the 8 quick steps to negotiate a higher salary:

  1. Research
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  4. Timing
  5. Communicate clearly
  6. Be open to compromise
  7. Follow up
  8. Be prepared for a “no”

In fact, we created some brilliant free templates to request a higher salary which you can use to send to your employers.

Why should I ask for a higher salary?

There are some fairly obvious reasons why you would ask for a salary increase, lets take a look at the key reasons:

1. Fair compensation: A higher salary can ensure that you are fairly compensated for your work.

2. Cost of living: The cost of living can increase over time, and a higher salary can help you keep up with these changes, which is more important now than it has been for decades.

3. Career advancement: A higher salary can help you advance by providing the means to invest in further education, training and boosting your skills.

4. Market value: By researching and understanding the market value of your role, you can make a stronger case for a higher salary.

How often should you ask for a salary increase?

The frequency of salary increases can vary depending on your company and your work background, progression etc.

Some companies have set schedules for salary reviews and increases, such as annually or every two years, while others may be more flexible.

You should talk with your employer about your salary at least once a year, either during your annual performance review or any other time you think it's appropriate.

How much should I ask for a salary increase?

In the UK, the latest ONS figures for 2022 show an average 6.9% salary increase across the private sector.

In the 12 months to November 2022, inflation rose by 10.7%.

That means the typical things you buy or your average weekly/monthly spend has increased by around 10.7%. The cost of energy bills has increased considerably more, by 54% in April 2022 and 27% in October 2022.

So your costs have gone up by 10.7%, and your energy costs are up 81%.

You should factor these increases into your request for a higher salary alongside proof of good performance.

Inflation and energy costs won’t increase at this level every year of the course and do tend to remain fairly stable, but now, more than ever, you should use inflation and energy costs as a strong argument to get a similar level of % increase to your salary.

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1. Research

Look into the typical salary range for your position and industry, as well as the average pay for your experience level and location. Use this information to make a case for your desired salary.

Gather information about industry standards and pay ranges for similar positions in your region. You can use websites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn to research average salaries.

Understand the value your expertise brings to your company when making your case for a higher salary. Prepare a list of your accomplishments and how they have positively impacted your company.

Also, ask colleagues what you should expect, both at your company and others.

2. Prepare

Collect data and examples demonstrating your value to the company and past achievements.

Consider the responsibilities and expectations of your role and how you have exceeded them.

Gather supporting documents demonstrating your value to your company, such as performance reviews, certificates, or completed projects.

If possible, understand the company's financials and how your salary increase request fits into the company's budget and financial goals.

Ensure you understand your current compensation package, including salary, benefits, and other forms of compensation before you get started.

3. Practice

So, there are a few steps you need to go through when practising negotiating a higher salary:

1. Rehearse your pitch: Practice stating your case for a raise, including your qualifications and achievements and the market rate for your position and industry.

2. Anticipate objections: Consider potential objections your employer may raise, such as budget constraints or current company performance, and practice responding to them confidently and professionally.

3. Role-play: Practice the conversation with a friend or family member, or even record yourself to watch and critique your performance.

4. Use confident body language: Your body language can also be a powerful tool in negotiations. Practice using confident and assertive body language, such as maintaining eye contact, speaking clearly and using open gestures.

5. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario: Have a Plan B if the answer is no, ask for an explanation and try to negotiate other benefits such as more vacation days, flexible hours, or professional development opportunities.

6. Practice staying calm and composed: Negotiations can be stressful, so practice staying calm and composed so that you can present your case clearly and logically.

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4. Timing

When asking for a salary increase, it is important to get the timing right because it can affect the negotiation outcome, here’s some tips:

1. Wait for the right moment: Timing is everything regarding salary negotiations, time it right such as after achieving a significant milestone or when the company is doing well financially.

2. Consider the company's budget cycle: Many companies have a budget cycle, and it's best to ask for a raise during the planning and budgeting phase. If you are unsure about the budget cycle, ask your manager.

3. Look for signs of change: Keep an eye out for changes in the company, such as new leadership, restructuring, or expansion, as these changes can create opportunities for salary increases.

4. Be prepared to be flexible: Be open to negotiation and be willing to compromise on the timing of the increase. If the company cannot offer an immediate increase, you could ask for a review in a few months.

5. Communicate clearly

When negotiating a higher salary, clear communication is key, here’s some hacks you can use:

1. Be confident and assertive: Speak clearly and confidently about your qualifications, skills, and experience. Show that you are knowledgeable and well-informed about the position and the industry.

2. Be specific: Provide specific examples of your qualifications and achievements demonstrating your value to the company. Use data and metrics to support your case.

3. Be respectful: Remember to be respectful and professional when communicating. Avoid being confrontational or aggressive, that’s generally a bad idea.

4. Listen: Be prepared to listen to the employer's counterarguments. Show that you are open to feedback and willing to compromise.

6. Be open to compromise

When negotiating a higher salary, being open to compromise is important to reach an agreement.

Here are a few tips for being open to compromise when negotiating a salary:

1. Be flexible: Be open to alternative forms of compensation, such as additional benefits or flexible working arrangements which can be just as valuable as a higher salary in the long run.

2. Negotiate on timing: If your employer cannot offer a higher salary immediately, be open to discussing a salary increase after achieving a specific performance milestone.

3. Negotiate on other terms: Be open to discussing other terms of the job such as vacation days, health insurance, remote working, training opportunities, etc.

4. Consider different options: Be open to considering different options that could be beneficial for both you and the employer, such as a sign-on bonus, a performance-based salary increase, or a profit-sharing plan.

5. Understand the employer's perspective: Be open to understanding the employer's perspective and financial constraints. They may have a budget or other internal factors that limit their ability to offer a higher salary.

6. Be willing to walk away: If the employer is not willing to meet your salary expectations, be willing to walk away from the offer or the job, especially if you have another job offer on the table.

7. Follow up

Following up after negotiating a higher salary is an important step to ensure that both parties are on the same page, there are a few things you should do:

Send a brief note to your employer thanking them for their time.

Confirm any agreements made during the negotiation, such as a higher salary or additional benefits.

Keep a record, including the date, time, and any agreements made. This will be useful if there are any discrepancies or misunderstandings in the future.

Keep a positive and professional tone throughout the follow-up process. Remember that the goal is to maintain a good relationship, regardless of the outcome of the negotiation.

8. Be prepared for a "no"

It may well be the case when you ask for a salary increase you get a “no”.

But, how do you deal with it when you do?

Not every employer can offer a higher salary, so, be realistic about what you can expect based on your company's budget and industry standards.

If your boss says "no," ask for the reasons behind their decision to get a better perspective and may give you some insight into how to approach the negotiation in the future.

Have a backup plan. Consider alternative forms of compensation, such as additional benefits, flexible working arrangements, or a performance-based salary increase.

Remember that a "no" is not a reflection of your worth as an employee but quite possibly a reflection of the company's financial constraints or other internal factors.

Finally, if your company cannot offer a higher salary, look for other job opportunities that may be more in line with your salary expectations.

Actually, we have a lot of useful advice on resumes, cover letters, and we even created a definitive list of the best tools that will help get you hired.

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