How much of a pay rise should I go for?

Don't enter a salary negotiation without first finding out the going rate for someone doing a similar job in your industry, at a similar sized company in your location, and in the current economic climate.

Now is not the time to be terribly polite and… well, British. Aim high, because there is only one way negotiations go – down! You should always feel just a little bit embarrassed about your request, but not to the extent that it is laughable. It should be an optimistic prediction of your future value to the employer based on your current record of success. Stick to your guns and you might just end up coming down just a little and agreeing something you’re happy with.

Don’t let your manager hide behind “company policy” (i.e. to offer a sum scarcely north of an inflationary pay increase) or dismiss your request out of hand as “unaffordable”. This is a negotiation, and if your boss knows how valuable you are, he or she will have to try and get near your figure.

If you are uncomfortable naming a figure, you could simply ask for your salary to be reviewed in light of your outstanding achievements, but this will tend to put the employer in the driving seat and start the haggling low.

Either way, you should have three figures in your mind: what you would ideally like, what you’d settle for, and what you won’t be happy with. There’s more on negotiating salary here.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.