5 tips for negotiating a pay rise

Approaching your boss for a pay raise with these tips can increase your chances of success.
Salary is not the most important aspect of a job, but it can make a big difference to your overall satisfaction and engagement.   Let’s face it. Asking your employer for higher pay or a promotion can be daunting, no matter how many times you’ve done it before. Avoiding it can cost you thousands of dollars over the length of your career.
Here are five tips to increase your chances of receiving the raise you deserve:

1. Demonstrate your value
If you show the connection between your contributions and hitting business objectives, you’re more likely to receive a raise. Ask your manager for a raise or to be considered for a promotion without demonstrating why you deserve it, and you’re almost sure to fail. Set aside some time to log your achievements and milestones and be prepared to use these as examples of your professional progress.
Document the situation you were faced with, the actions you took to implement the solution and what the result was using facts and figures where possible. Whether you’ve improved efficiency by rolling out a new system or landed a new account, these are all actions to you’ve taken to move the company towards achieving its strategic objectives.

2. Skill up
It can be challenging to negotiate a promotion if you don’t invest in yourself. Enrolling in a postgraduate taxation education program, such as the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law or deepening your skills with a specialism like superannuation, will prove to your boss you’re committed to keeping abreast of changes, developments and new legislation in the industry. It also shows that you can take your professional development into your own hands.

3. Do your research

Arm yourself with statistics about the average salary garnered by your position. Look for studies about typical pay rates in your industry and research job boards for roles similar to yours. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to make comparisons and a more convincing case to your manager.
Tax roles are varied, and the range of salaries is broad, depending on the industry and the size and type of the organisation. You’ll see considerable differences between offers from government agencies, large corporate organisations and small businesses. Make sure you do your comparisons carefully so you come up with a realistic salary band to aim for.
4. Choose your time wisely
Negotiation is a two-way street. Avoid high-pressure periods and times during which your boss is likely to be knee-deep in client requests. Consider what other possible obstacles, such as recent layoffs or cost-cutting exercises, may get in your way. You may decide that timing is not right if you identify barriers and be better off to let your boss know you are aware of them and ask what role you might play in solving some of the problems. When there is minimal turmoil, you’re more likely to get a better result.
When it comes to negotiating a promotion, it's important to balance assertiveness with respect. While it can spark anxiety, receiving some hard to hear feedback can also help you evolve. Remember to broach the discussion in a professional manner.
5. Acing the negotiation

If you’re asked up-front what salary you expect, have a figure or a range ready based on your research. Let your manager know you’ve done your research. If your manager indicates a salary that’s lower than your expectations, ask if there’s room to move on that figure. This could be an opportunity to ascertain how you can be more instrumental to your company, and thus more deserving of the raise you seek.

When you consider your benefits package and growth opportunities that will progress your career prospects, it still may be worth staying in your company, rather than chasing a bigger paycheck elsewhere.

If you’re offered a position before you have discussed money you may have the leverage to name a price within reason, because you know the employer wants you. Again, do your research and don’t threaten with a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ stance. You’ll benefit more by having a civilised conversation.

The organisation may not have the money to pay the salary you ask . Discuss if they could bolster your benefits package with extra holiday or gym membership etc, or ask to keep negotiations open by securing the promise of a salary review down the line.
And if the negotiation doesn’t go as you expected, don’t lose heart. Keep skilling up, investing in your professional development and listening out for ways you can solve your boss’ problems.  

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