Asking for a pay rise: 4 tips to negotiate successfully

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Thinking about asking for a pay rise? Now might be the best time. According to the newly released Robert Half 2016 Salary Guide  salaries are on the increase for accounting and finance professionals. As the economy continues to improve and demand for highly skilled professionals increases, job opportunities in many industries are opening up.

However, an improving economic climate doesn’t guarantee a pay rise just because you ask for it. Read on for tips on how to successfully get a pay rise, including salary negotiation strategies and techniques.

Time it right

Any time is a good time for you to receive a salary increase, however, it’s not always the right time for your employer. Before asking for a pay rise, consider when the appropriate time is to broach the conversation with your manager. Here are some examples:

  • After your work anniversary
  • It has been a few months since you’ve successfully taken on new work responsibilities
  • During your annual performance review, as your manager will be prepared to discuss your career development and future at the company
  • When your company exceeds its quarterly or annual profit forecast


On the flip side, asking for a pay rise during downswings or busy business periods, such as budget cuts or layoffs, year-end reporting or tax season is not the ideal time. When thinking about asking for a pay rise, time it for when the economic outlook is positive and stable, and management is less preoccupied with how the company is fearing.

Communicate your value

If you decide to ask for a pay rise, prepare yourself beforehand rather than jumping into a spur-of-the-moment conversation. Before meeting with your boss, compile a list of your professional accomplishments since your last performance review. It’s important to display to your employer why you deserve a pay rise. Professionals who are able to consistently demonstrate how they have added value to the business stand a greater chance of successfully negotiating a pay rise. Be sure to include examples of where you have exceeded goals, provided innovative solutions, and all the ways you’ve gone beyond your job description. 

Know how much you are worth

After communicating why you deserve a pay rise, it’s a poor negotiation strategy to simply say, “I deserve more money.” It’s important to do your research first and have an idea about how much you are worth. Here’s how:

First, benchmark how your salary stacks up against professionals in your industry. You can determine this by consulting resources like the Robert Half 2016 Salary Guide or use a salary calculator to customise by city and job title to identify your salary range. Also consider if you have highly sought after skills and qualifications, as this could mean your salary is higher. If you are unsure, speak to an expert such as a recruitment consultant who has the day to day insight on remuneration trends in your industry.

Identify whether your salary falls within the identified range. Once you have established how you salary compares, you are in a position to negotiate. If you’re on the lower end, you can confidently ask for a higher pay rise, especially if you have in-demand skills and experience. If you’re already near the higher end, you can still ask for a pay rise, but the amount might not be as high as you expect. Another good method is to find out the percentage change in the base salary for your job title in the 2016 Salary Guide, and then calculate what increase you could expect on your base salary.

Know your options

Despite your accomplishments, your employer may not be able to offer a pay rise. However, there are other options available to you, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to discuss your current benefits, such as:

  • Extra annual leave. While a pay rise might be off the table, additional paid time off can be a good alternative and will improve your work–life balance, especially leading up to Christmas.
  • Discuss receiving a bonus. From your manager’s point of view, a one-time monetary incentive may be more doable than a salary increase
  • Flexible working. An improved work–life balance may feel better than a raise, so discuss what opportunities there might be for telecommuting or a more flexible schedule.

Asking for and successfully receiving a pay rise relies on your preparation and your salary negotiation skills. While the process can be intimidating, 2016 is looking positive for accounting and finance professionals. With the right combination of research, good timing and a little bit of luck, you can succeed in asking for a pay rise.

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