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Pay rise Negotiation: What words SHOULD you be using?

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Pay rise Negotiation: What words SHOULD you be using?

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So, you have finally got the courage up to ask for that pay rise you deserve. You know why you should be improving your salary, you have done your research, and you know what kind of figure you want to be aiming for. Well done!

But when it comes to the actual discussion, you may be feeling a bit hesitant about what you are going to say and are worried that you are not going to come across in the right way or be taken seriously.

In your pay rise meeting, there are words that you definitely SHOULD be using, and words that you should AVOID.

Let’s look at the dos and don’ts when it comes to finding the right words to say in that all- important meeting.


“Based on my research…”

As we talked about in our Compare your Salary post, doing the research around what salary is right for your position is vital before asking that all important question.

But do you actually need to let your boss know that you have done the research?

Hell yes!

Showing that you have taken the time to thoroughly research what salary you deserve is impressive to a boss rather than just going in to a pay rise meeting unprepared.


Like the point above, talking about what is going on the job market is also valuable. If you spoke to a recruiter, then they have all the insights about what is going on in terms of what others in the same or similar position are getting in other companies. If you are in a smaller company, then perhaps you may not even realise that they are paying you unfairly, so its good to give them a heads up so they can rectify the situation


We have said it before and we will say it again. TALK ABOUT YOUR VALUE!

This is especially important if the person you are asking for a pay rise is not your immediate manager and has no idea of the real value you are bringing to the company. Show what your great achievements have been over the 6-12 months, whether that has been bringing in big new clients, streamlining internal processes, or taking on more responsibility that you are not yet being compensated for.

“I enjoy working here / I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had”

Making your boss understand that you do really appreciate the role that you have and that you enjoy working for the company shows that you are committed to staying and value your position within the company. While this may seem a bit like you are buttering up your employer, kind and thankful words never go astray.

“Thank you”

Your boss is no doubt a busy person, so thanking them for their time both before and after your meeting can really go a long way in showing your gratitude.


Pay rise

“I will leave if you don’t…”

Making threats never gets anyone anywhere and is especially true when it comes to negotiating a pay rise. It’s possible that your manager will take this threat as a sign that you are not committed to the company and are ungrateful, and the meeting may not end in the way that you would like.

“I want $x amount”

While you may have the salary figure in mind that you deserve, giving the first number is not necessarily a clever way to play the negotiation game. After you have presented your case on why you deserve a pay rise, let your manager give you the first number and then you can negotiate from there. You never know, what they first give you might be even higher than you were expecting!

“That’s all that you can do?”

Doesn’t that sound ungrateful and rude? It certainly is and can be offensive to your manager especially if they have really done their best to offer you a raise even if the company is going through some financial difficulty.

“I hate to have to ask”

This is a lie, and your boss will see right through you. While it may not be the easiest thing in the world to ask for a raise, you should be upright and honest, and not pull your boss into a guilt trip in any way.

“I know (insert colleague’s name) is on $x”

This is a low-ball tactic and is never a good idea seeing as salary amounts are supposed to be confidential within a company. Knowing that you have been discussing your salary with others will not make your boss happy at all.

“I think / maybe/ try”

Uncertain words = uncertain answers, it’s as simple as that. Only use assertive language in your pay rise meeting.

“$x is the minimum I will accept”

Avoid this at all costs. This type of language can also be seen as a threat, and if you use this statement, you may still get the pay rise but forget about getting any more than this amount.


Feel more confident to ask for your pay rise now?

Preparing for your pay rise meeting does not need to be a big deal, especially when you know which words to say and not to say. If you are worried about saying the wrong thing, try practicing with a partner, friend, or family member so you can feel comfortable.