Salary Review: How do you negotiate a raise?

What are some tactics you’ve used in the past to successfully negotiate a pay rise?

I see lots of people entering into yearly reviews at the moment with pay reviews as part of that. For some, negotiating a pay rise can seem pretty scary (for many reasons). What tips would you offer for people ahead of their pay reviews?

I feel fortunate to work for a company that, if I needed to, would engage me honestly in a pay raise negotiation. I haven’t felt the need and thought perhaps I might provide some thoughts on why. I hope these might help answer @heather_reid’s question. I want to note that my response here is an aggregate of experience at different companies.

Some companies do salary research as a part of determining salary adjustments from year to year. This may establish an average increase of a company’s overall salary expense.
Also, different job families have different levels base on experience (e.g., entry, junior, senior, lead), and those job levels have a salary range associated with each range (e.g, the range of the junior level is 10,000 to 20,000, senior level is 18000 to 29000; numbers are meant show a range and do not represent real salaries, note the ranges overlap). The salary range changes every year reflecting the research.

I offer this information because for any one year, the overall salary adjustment at a company is very close to the average of all salary adjustments in the company. You are competing for a part of that adjustment. For example, if the overall adjustment to all salaries averages 2.5%, a person doing average work may receive a salary adjustment of 2.5%.
In the case of awesome people like yourself, you feel you deserve more and want to ask for more than 2.5%. I encourage you to consider the salary range for your level (if it exists), where you are in that salary range, the value of your work products during the evaluation period (usually the past year), and the feedback of your peers.

Salary Range
If a salary range does not exist, some research could help establish one. Multiple surveys on salary for different jobs are sometimes public. If you participate in one of those surveys, you will likely get the results.
Using the range, you can estimate how your salary compares to the range. If the range is 10,000 to 20,000 and your salary is 15,000, then you know you are paid in the middle. Another interpretation could be that, since 15,000 is in the middle, you could achieve a higher salary.

Work Product Value
You believe you’ve shown your awesomeness but sometimes not everyone knows it. Use a record or journal to log major defects, collaborative efforts, leadership demonstrations, and others. For each item in that list, I recommend some quantification; be specific and tangible. For example, if defect A was found in production, it would have resulted in dissatisfaction of X customers. Or, through the collaboration with persons B and C, we established a method to reduce time in Process ZXY by x hours per week which accelerated the introduction of Product CBA.

The Negotiation
I believe some Shift Left ideas can apply here. Establish goals for the evaluation period early and maintain a journal of work products during that period.
Near the end of the evaluation period and before your evaluation is created, present your awesome work and how you achieved or exceeded your goals.
In some cases, peer feedback is helpful to show corroboration. However, do not expect corroboration to be your primary reason to receive a raise.

You are doing a great job and you know it. Collect the facts and present them to your manager. Help them conclude that you have earned a pay raise.


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The last time I had a salary negotiation was when I was sitting on the other side of the table. So let me share a few things from that experience first. Basically there are three mechanisms for determining a salary.

  1. When you hire a new person you have a specific salary range based on what the current going rate are for that job title, with some variance for if you want to be competitive, cheap or average.

  2. Salary review where we basically multiplied the total salaries with the inflation rate / average pay raise in the field let’s say 3% or something like that. That becomes your budget to give to people plus some general bonus. This means if you have a high paid person, if you hold back their salary you can give more to someone else. This is where you get cheated by the system a lot. Because if you start to low you can never catch up, and if for some reason the market changes like your job title now get more on average than when you got hired you will always be behind too.

  3. You change job title which warrants a soft reset in your salary.

We actually changed this system because this is bad for everyone. But let’s assume you are in this which I have been most of my life. I would go for the line given that I trust that the other party will be fair. “If you were to hire for my position today what range would you offer?”

As of late in the first situation I have also started to negotiate non monetary parts instead since that is sometimes easier for the manager to negotiate on your behalf. Like extra vacation, budget for going to conferences etc. since those are other budgets than the salary budget.

All that being said here is a little TED talk on the topic of salaries. David Burkus: Why you should know how much your coworkers get paid | TED Talk


I am sure there are several standard tactics and good resources to learn this. Here are some of my thoughts on this matter.

1 - Keep records of your performance throughout the year so that you can show it at the end.

2 - Interview at good/better companies as much as possible to see how much your worth is in the market.

3 - I’m not being facetious here, but try to be awesome i.e. much better than your peers in the market. However, if you are meant to be an average professional, then learn to accept meager raises. But, don’t stop negotiating. Sometimes, people do get paid more than they are really worth thanks to supply & demand or perception.

4 - Look for reputable websites which give you an idea of the average wages for your role at your company.


I’m on the other end of this with being a manager. What I’d suggest to prepare is to -research the market rate and use that as evidence.


Similar to what has already been said, doing some research goes a long way. If you get asked why you think you should get £$€XXX a year, having some data to back up your point is better than guess work.

Saying that I still think it’s a bit of guess work. But looking at similar roles or local job market, combined with your skills, and anything else useful you can get hold of, has helped me.