Fun fact: everyone wants a pay rise, but only a few dare to ask for it.

A survey by salary.com found that only 37 percent of people negotiate their salaries, while an astonishing 18 percent never do. More surprisingly, 44 percent of respondents claim to have never brought up the subject of a raise during their performance reviews. The biggest reason for not asking for a pay rise, according to the survey, was fear. More than 30 percent of respondents said they were too worried about losing a job offer if they tried to negotiate, while nearly a quarter (22 percent) said they did not ask for more simply because they lack the skills to properly negotiate during an interview process. 

Salary negotiation can be scary but what’s even scarier is not doing it. Linda Babcock in her book Women Don’t Ask mentioned that only about 7 percent women attempted to negotiate their first salary. On the other hand, more than half (57 percent) men did negotiate their salary. Of those who negotiated, they were able to increase their salary by over 7 percent. 

Seven percent might not be much but let’s think it this way: If you get a $90,000 salary and your co-worker negotiates up to $97,000, assuming you are treated identically from then on, with the same raises and promotions, you would have to work 8 years longer to be as wealthy as them at retirement. 

Isn’t it better to ask then rejected than not asking at all? Hence, whether you are male or female, in your first or fifth jobs, it is time to learn how to negotiate salary or pay rise. Here, we share some SMART ways to smooth your salary negotiation. 

Specific and realistic

Be specific. What does it mean? It means you should know the amount of increase that you wish to see. With that in mind, be realistic. You should not ask for more than what the company can afford. At this stage, you should research the average pay of your role in the region. Then, calculate how much you currently earn and how much you want your raise to be. 

Make sure to ask at the right time

Right timing is key. Asking for a pay rise when your company is struggling to stay afloat or laying workers off will only result in failure. That being said, bring up the subject at a time when the company is doing well.

Ask yourself ‘Why do I deserve a pay rise?’

This is one of the vital steps. Your boss will not accede to your request just like that. You have to be ready to list out the reasons why you deserve an increase in pay. Think about the contributions that you have made to the company, your accomplishments and the increased responsibilities you have taken on that you can present to your boss.

Rejection is possible

There is a possibility of getting the answer ‘No!’. Stay positive even if you are rejected. Ask what is needed to be done to qualify for a pay rise the next time.

Threats aren’t going to work

When your request is rejected, don’t threaten to quit because that is unprofessional. Also, do not use another job to hold your boss hostage. Your boss is not going to like it and that would most likely make things worse.

As you can see, it does take some form of ‘skills’ to ask for a pay rise. You cannot just walk up to your boss and tell him that you want a bigger paycheck. Preparation is needed. And needless to say, confidence and politeness should be put upfront.

Read also: 7 Tech Jobs with the Highest Salary

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