Negotiating your salary

Asking your boss for a raise, or your new employer for a higher starting salary, is never an easy conversation to have and is always a daunting prospect.

These details should help you prove you’re the right person for a promotion or to take on new responsibilities and deserve a pay increase.

Preparation is everything. Pick your moment. It is always a good idea to catch your boss when things are going well in the business, so you will then not be swimming against a tide of doom and negativity of why it’s not possible at the moment. Ask for a meeting telling them it’s to discuss yourself and your future with the company.

When you first raise the matter, you need to present a clear and confident argument for your pay rise. Do not expect to go in and say “I want a pay rise or I am leaving”. Guaranteed, this will backfire on you. You need to justify why you are worth a higher salary.

The key to successfully negotiating your salary is gathering as much information as possible before the discussion begins.

Before starting any discussion, make sure you can answer these 5 questions to ensure that you are fully prepared.

1: Research what is your worth

To find out what your role is currently worth, benchmark your existing rate of pay with average market rates. Use the internet to research salaries based on your sector, location, experience, and budget responsibility. Talk to us at Hospitality Search International and people in the industry for guidance and scan similar roles for additional information on salary.

2: Understand your companies trading position

It is important that you appreciate the conditions within which your company is operating. Is your industry booming or experiencing decline? Is your company’s financial performance strong or are belts tightened? Have they posted record profits for the previous year, or is their financial performance below their targets? Have they made many redundancies in the past 12 months? Finding out these factors will then tell you if it’s a good idea to enter into a pay rise request.

3: Determine your value

To negotiate a pay rise from a strong position you must clearly quantify the value you add to the company. The goal is to position yourself as a valuable, high performer who would be difficult to replace. Note down any recent training or qualifications you have completed, as well as your key achievements and the measurable ways they have benefited the business. Include examples of responsibilities you have taken on outside your normal role and other ways in which you have demonstrated initiative.

4: Practice makes perfect

Practice your pitch. A strong, convincing reasoning for your request will increase your chances of success. Practice your pitch with someone you trust to gain feedback on whether you are presenting yourself in the best possible light.

5: Ask for what you want

When discussing the pay rise and/or additional benefits, enforce to your boss how long you have been in the position, and how your role has developed over this time. Talk about your key achievements and the measurable benefit they have given the business. Share your research findings as to the current industry rate for your role and experience. Make sure you do your best to secure what you are looking for in terms of salary or benefits as it is not a good idea to go over this process in 6 months time. So, secure the increase you going to be happy with for the next few years. Advise you don’t expect an answer on the spot. End with a ‘thank you’ and your confidence that they will do their best for you.

6: Have a plan B

Getting a pay rise depends on many factors, including issues outside your manager’s control. A good contingency is to discuss alternatives that are linked to improving your performance. Presenting a well considered non-pay alternative means you are more likely to walk away from the discussion with a positive outcome.

Alternatively, if your employer is unable to offer you the salary you are seeking, consider whether there are other benefits such as a company car, free health insurance, gym membership or other perks that you could consider as an adequate trade.

What are the trade-offs for the salary increase?

Try not to be lured into a false sense of satisfaction when being offered a top-line salary figure. Make sure you are aware of any potential trade-offs such as:

  • Losing a bonus
  • New role responsibilities
  • More time travelling or away from home
  • Longer working hours
  • Higher targets or KPI

"Remember, as Hospitality Search International is a specialist in the hospitality field, we have the most current and accurate market knowledge and are well placed to assist candidates negotiating salary". 

What are general market conditions in your sector like?

Is there a shortage of candidates with your skill set in the industry you work in? Have general salaries been rising or falling within your sector? Are there a high number of roles appropriate to your skill set available in the sector?

It is important you know the answers to all of these questions in order for you to understand what level of salary you are able to request and what is realistic. Focus on the value you bring to the company