How to Negotiate your Salary

Jan 5, 2018

salary pay slipYou’ve read the results of the salary survey and think now is the time to go and negotiate a pay rise.  Hold on, step back, don’t go blustering in straight away and ask for more money because the ‘survey says so’. Do some research first.
We’re not going to tell you exactly how to negotiate your salary.  We know that nearly every HR Director reads what we publish about salary issues. So if we posted everything you should do, they will know your tactics, and we don’t want to give them that advantage do we?
  1. Can the company afford to give you a pay rise? Is it doing well? Have you seen quarterly figures, profit warnings or predictions of losses?  Do you have access to the Company Accounts or forecasts? If the answer to this is no and it is a Limited Company have you checked out the accounts on Companies House?


  2. Is it financially viable to give you a pay rise? Does the company only give inflation-driven pay rises? Be wary of pushing your salary higher than the company can afford as it could put your job at risk.  Are there others in the team whose costs might affect salary? Costs such as National Insurance, bonus, benefits and pension, need to be considered.


  3. Why do you deserve a pay rise? What have you done that proves your worth to the company? Have you managed to influence a project or the success of a book? Did you save the company money? Are you taking on extra responsibilities?  Do you have high pressure or demanding tasks? Is your input and experience relevant to the company today and moving forward?  Have you kept your skills up to date and ahead of the company’s needs?

  4. Gather as much information together as you can. Have at least 6 points written down on a piece of paper (don’t share this with your boss). This will help you remember your reasons, statements or figures.

  5. Be sure of your ground before asking. As an industry, publishing is over-subscribed. So if the boss mentions ‘the queue of people wanting to work there’ they could be right. Yet the queue of people might not have your expertise, and might not do the job the same successful way you do. Recruiting new staff also costs money. There are advertising costs, management time, as well as any on the job training.  Even someone who ‘can hit the ground running’ still has things to learn.

  6. Do not be impulsive, act hastily or make rash statements. “If you don’t give me a pay rise I am leaving” or bring in life issues “I am looking to buy a house”. These statements are irrelevant to whether they pay you the right salary for the role. Mentioning the extra hours you work or comparing your salary to the cost of living might not help either. Nothing carries as much weight as stating your direct financial input to the company


  7. Do you have to negotiate with customers or suppliers in your current job? If so, your negotiation skills are likely to be strongly tested when it comes to discussing salary. Don’t give in at the first hurdle; use those tough negotiation skills you apply in your job and are so well known for.


  8. Get ready for the counter-arguments. Standard counter-arguments include:-
    “if I pay you more, then I have to pay the person sitting next to you more”
    “there is a queue of people waiting to step into your job”

    “salary reviews are only undertaken once a year”
    Be sure of your value before you start negotiations, and also be prepared for the flippant responses. Once when I asked for a salary review and my boss said ‘How much am I paying you?’ and I replied accordingly and he paused for a moment before responding “I’ve reviewed your salary; you’re paid enough.  Next question!”
  9. If the salary increase is not forthcoming, or you don’t get the answer you want then fix a date for a review. Don’t leave things as the casual ‘“let’s see how things go” response. Set a firm date for 3 or 6 months or tie it into your appraisal. You can also ask for recompense in other ways, such as extra holiday, training or more flexible hours.

  10. Finally, remember that none of us really work in publishing for money; we all do it for love!