See where you stand salary-wise
One of the first things you need to do before asking for a pay rise is to compare your salary with that of other employees at your level and in your sector. There are many ways to do that. You could ask your company’s human resources officer about the salary band for your level, talk to your colleagues, visit a national salary comparison website, or search for job offers online to see how much other employers are offering for a similar role. A great place to do the latter is the EURES portal, where we currently have nearly 4 million jobs.
Build a case
Look back and reflect on the work you have done since your last pay rise (or since you were recruited). Try to get specific stats, as well as examples of times when you have gone above and beyond to do your work. This includes overtime, completed tasks that are above your pay grade, mentoring newcomers, etc. The more concrete examples you can give your manager, the stronger the case for your pay rise.
Choose the right timing
A common mistake that employees often do when asking for a pay rise is picking the wrong time to do it. Avoid busy periods when your boss is under stress, as well as periods where your company is doing cutbacks. Try to catch your boss after a big achievement for your company.
Also, consider your own tasks. Is there an important achievement or professional milestone coming up for you? You might want to wait until it happens, so you can have better grounds for a pay rise.
Do it in person
In a post-pandemic world where working remotely has become the new normal, it might be tempting to ask for a pay rise via email. However, doing this in person (or via video call) can yield a much better result. Salary negotiations are a conversation, so make sure you set up a meeting with your boss where you can talk rather than exchange emails.
Do not negotiate yourself down
Sometimes, we feel so uncomfortable asking for a pay rise that we ask for less than we think we deserve. You are your biggest supporter, so you cannot afford to let yourself down. If you think you deserve a 10 % pay rise, then ask for 10 %. Your employer is unlikely to offer you more than what you have asked for, so do not compromise with yourself.
Be positive and confident
Body language is very important when it comes to salary negotiations. Show your boss that you are confident about what you think you deserve, but do not be arrogant. Sit up straight, maintain eye contact during the meeting and make sure you have a positive attitude. Do not forget to emphasise how grateful you are for this job and for being part of their company.
Be ready to pick up more work
Sometimes, salary negotiations do not go as planned. If your employer says “no”, ask them what you could do to qualify for a pay rise. It might be a matter of taking on a few more tasks to demonstrate your worth.
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- Publication date
- 6 January 2023
- European Labour Authority | Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
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