How to negotiate for a higher salary – without groveling

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If you think you’re not being paid what you need to keep up with inflation, you’re not alone. A new survey from Bankrate has found that 55% of workers say their incomes have not kept up with rising household expenses and persistent inflation.

If you’re fortunate, your employer offers an annual cost-of-living raise. But that tends to be an exception rather than a rule.

You also may be able to get that salary bump you need through a promotion, but how often does that come around in your company, and can you afford to wait?

How about finding a new job? Easier said than done, considering all of the layoffs you’ve been reading about.

That leaves you one other option: ask for a raise. If you felt your anxiety level rise when you read that, don’t feel embarrassed. Not far behind public speaking, sitting across from your boss and asking for more money is among the most fretful experiences you’ll endure at work.

To help you in your endeavor to get that well-deserved pay raise, here are seven tips from global human resource consulting firm Robert Half to negotiate better pay in the current market.

How to Negotiate for a higher salary in 2023 ? — 7 Steps

1. Become familiar with industry salary trends.

You need to enter a salary negotiation as informed as possible. Information is your strongest ally. To get a current, realistic view of the compensation landscape in your field, consult the Robert Half Salary Guide. You’ll find the going rate for your position and experience level and can adjust national figures for your geographic area.

2. Build your case.

If your boss responds positively but with a smaller increase, don’t just counter with a higher number. Even if your research supports it, you’ll be more successful if you explain why you feel you deserve more. Highlight your strengths, detailing all the extras the company gets from someone with your track record.

Before negotiating your salary, jot down concrete examples of how your skills and experience have benefited your company’s bottom line. Possessing certifications or specialized technical skills, for example, can enhance your ability to do the job, so don’t fail to mention them. You’ll make a solid case for why you should be paid more by tying your strengths to your role.

3. Consider asking for better perks.

Salary negotiations often include some give-and-take on employee perks and benefits. It may be less costly than a bump in pay for the employer to give ground on extra vacation days, flexible hours, or, especially today, a work-from-home schedule. Keep an open mind if extra perks offered might be preferable to a pay raise.

4. Practice your pitch.

This may sound like overkill to some people, but it’s a good idea to ask a friend or mentor to practice with you the conversation you’re likely to have with your manager. The ideal partner is someone from the corporate world — a business-savvy person who can coach you on projecting confidence and answering unexpected questions. Running through your delivery several times can make you feel more sure of yourself heading into the salary discussion.

5. Know when to wrap it up.

A reasonable employer won’t hold it against you just because you tried to negotiate more pay. But dragging out the salary negotiation can frustrate the manager and put your relationship on less favorable ground. If the company can’t meet your requirements, respectfully withdraw your request and focus on opportunities that better match your compensation expectations.

6. Try, try again.

If at first you don’t succeed in getting your raise, go back again in three months. Tell your boss when you’re wrapping up that you’d like your request re-considered again in 90 days. Success often comes to those who are persistent, so don’t throw in the towel because your first request wasn’t accepted.

7. Stay positive.

Remember that most managers don’t love negotiating, either. Your employer is not your adversary. Keeping your tone positive while negotiating salary and perks will help you more effectively navigate these discussions.

How much should you ask for?

The average pay raise is 3%. A good pay raise ranges from 4.5% to 5%, and anything more than that is considered exceptional.

Depending on the reasons you cite for a pay raise and the length of time that has passed since your last raise, you could request a raise in the 10% to 20% range. However, the higher the percentage you request, the better your reasons should be.

For instance, if you accepted a position with little travel and are now on the road more than half the time, asking for 20% isn’t unreasonable because your duties have significantly changed.

When is the time right to ask for a raise?

Some people say there is never a perfect time to ask for a raise, so use good judgment. For example, don’t ask for a raise at a sensitive time, such as if your company has laid people off, your department had low quarterly numbers, or your boss is dealing with a difficult personal situation.

Try to make your request during a “good” time, such as when you know your boss is pleased with your work, during a successful quarter, or a time of year when everyone isn’t stressed out.

A final thought

If you want a salary increase, you have to ask for it. Employees too often remain passive when their pay isn’t meeting their financial needs.

Remember, you’re a valuable asset to your company. Whether the economy is strong or uncertain, employers are eager to keep team members with specialized skills and expertise that help them the most.

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