How to negotiate a salary rise as the cost of living increases

Everyone is feeling the pinch at the moment.

Dubbed ‘Awful April’, this month is seeing hikes in every area of the cost of living, from fuel to energy bills to food prices.

If you’re one of the many being affected by the spiraling increases, cutting costs and being frugal can only go so far. It might be time to review your salary, and approach your employer for a pay rise. 

Rita Trehan, founder of Dare Worldwide has shared her top tips for broaching this tricky conversation with your boss – and how to give yourself the best chance of coming away with a good outcome.

‘Money talks are a bit of a taboo subject, and many of us feel awkward when it comes to salary, particularly salary negotiation,’ Rita tells

‘To make things a little less daunting, here are my top tips for successfully negotiating a pay rise with your employer.’

Know your worth

‘Before you blindly ask for a raise from your employer, you need to establish your value as an employee and have a figure in mind,’ says Rita.

She says there are three factors which determine this:

To get an idea of how much wiggle room you have, Rita suggests you do a quick job search for the same position in your field and see what the common salary band is for your role, and requirements for the asking salary.

‘If you can, look on Glassdoor to see if you can find internal salaries for your role and use this as leverage,’ she says. ‘Don’t forget, London-based and city-salaries will often be higher than the rest of the UK so take this into consideration. Having this knowledge also prevents you from going into negotiation and being low-balled, so research is key.’

Also, don’t forget that benefits make up your salary package.

‘Consider the non-monetary benefits of your job,’ says Rita. ‘Do you have access to private healthcare, a free gym membership or more holidays than average? Also remember the items that aren’t benefits. A standard 28 days of holiday and a pension are not considered benefits but are statutory requirements.

‘Lastly, make sure the salary you come up with feels right to you. If your employer would actually offer you that figure, would you be happy with it?’

Take advantage of the Great Resignation

‘Arguably, there’s never been a better time to ask for a pay rise than during the Great Resignation, when employees are leaving companies in swarms,’ says Rita.

She adds that market demand is a key factor in increasing your pay, either with an existing employer or a new one.

‘If your company has been on the receiving end of multiple resignations, and you remain a long-standing employee, then now is the perfect time to negotiate a raise.’

Master the art of negotiation

Knowing how to negotiate is an art that not many people know how to do, but Rita says there’s a trick to it.

‘The key here is to always go higher than your desired figure, as people will barter you down,’ she says.

‘For example, if your ideal salary is £40,000, go for £42,000. You may even end up with more salary than you bargained for.

‘Additionally, when you present your desired fee to your employee, be prepared to explain why you feel this raise is warranted.’

Here are some examples of reasons you can draw on:

  • Make a list of key highlights and achievements that you can reference
  • You’ve taken on more responsibilities than when you first started
  • Your skillset has broadened since you first joined
  • You’ve tangibly contributed to the company’s success
  • You not only manage but mentor other employees

Leverage other offers

Rita says that one of the most successful ways to negotiate a raise with your employer is by getting higher offers from other companies.

‘Be cautious if you opt for this tactic, as your employer may question whether you really want to stay with the company,’ she adds.

‘You don’t want to use another offer as a way to force your employer’s hand, but persuade them instead.

‘Go to your employer with the counter-offer and admit that you were looking and applying for roles that were interesting, but on reflection you actually would love to stay with the company, and see if your employer will match the offer.’

Don’t threaten to quit

Rita says the worst thing you can do is threaten to quit your job if you don’t get the salary you want.

‘You risk ruining the relationship with your employer and scuppering your chances of receiving a good reference when you eventually do leave,’ she explains.

‘If your salary negotiations fail for whatever reason, then it’s time to think of whether a new role sounds appealing. There’s no better time to look for a job than now, as companies are finding it harder than ever to attract and retain the right candidates.’

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