Is it time to renegotiate your remuneration package? I don’t often talk about this topic – it’s not something I’ve got a load of expertise in, because my own personal drivers aren’t money related. But I do have experience supporting clients with their pay rise requests and have some thoughts about what it’s like to be on the employer end of such a discussion.

Links I mentioned in this episode:

38. Asking for a pay rise – Transcript

[00:00:00] Hi, there I’m Bec McFarland the host of the Pop Your Career Podcast. As a career coach, I’m most passionate about helping my clients to discover their own personal flavour of career fulfillment. In this podcast, we are going to be exploring ways that you too can feel more fulfilled by your work. So strap yourself in, get ready for the ride. The tips around here are fast and in abundance.

[00:00:29] Hello. Hello. This is Bec McFarland helping you do better and be better in your career. Now, in today’s episode, I am going to be talking about a topic that I don’t often talk about, and that is asking for a pay rise. Usually if I have clients come to me and they say that they’re looking for a pay rise I will genuinely and generally refer them to a different career coach.[00:01:00]

[00:01:00] Now, this isn’t necessarily because of the fact that I believe people don’t deserve pay rises. Absolutely. I always think it’s a great thing and if you don’t ask, you don’t get. My expertise, however, is definitely not in the area of salary negotiation, so I often feel as though if a client wants a pay rise as their number one priority, then they are better going to somebody who actually does have some more expertise in that field.

[00:01:30] With that being said, a lot of the clients that I deal with tend to be more values oriented, and the reason that they’re coming to me is that they are looking for more fulfillment in their career. Now, usually this is not centered on money. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get paid what you deserve, so that’s why today I’m sharing my tips on how to ask for a pay rise and have more [00:02:00] success than perhaps you have in the past.

[00:02:03] My first tip is to consider the timing. You may feel as though now is the right time and that you deserve a pay rise, but if there are other things going on in the business, it may not be in your best interests to ask. Now, what I mean by this is if the business is struggling, if they are openly having financial difficulties, if people are being let go, then that is generally not a great time for you to ask for more money.

[00:02:36] I would also suggest that if you have a performance review due very soon, then it could be in your best interests to actually just wait until that performance review and to have the salary negotiation conversation as part of your performance review rather than having it separately. And that is because the expectation would be if you have been performing well, which [00:03:00]usually I would hope you are, or if you’re gonna be asking for more money, then that will already be drawn to attention in the performance review. And it does mean that you are leveraging the evidence in that performance review to actually ask for your raise.

[00:03:16] My second tip for today is to not make it about you. Now, this is something that a lot of my clients in the past have struggled with because perhaps they feel as though they deserve more money, and that’s really lovely. However, the company is going to pay you your salary based on what you have to offer them, not based on what your financial obligations are. So if you are finding that the cost of living is going up or that you want a new car, they are not great reasons for you to go to an employer and ask for more money. Instead, I would focus on what you [00:04:00] have achieved, where you are adding value, and wherever possible use quantifiable data.

[00:04:06] So if you have gained X number of sales or saved them y number of dollars or made their processes more efficient so that they need one less staff member or so on and so forth. Then those are the types of things that I would be bringing to your boss’s attention during your salary negotiation meeting. You really wanna focus on what they are receiving from you, not on what you wanna spend the extra money on.

[00:04:37] They don’t care about that kind of stuff. It really doesn’t benefit them at all, so you really wanna focus on what does benefit the business.

[00:04:46] One thing that I would like to add here is that, if your role has changed recently or you have taken on additional responsibility, this can be a really good strategy to use to [00:05:00] renegotiate your salary. I had a client recently who was going through this process and she had said to me that she wanted to ask for an X percent increase, and she outlined all of the reasons that she felt that she had deserved this. What we were able to ascertain though through the conversation was that her role had actually changed significantly. So rather than this necessarily being her asking for a raise, it was actually her asking to be remunerated for the new role rather than just continuing the remuneration of the old role. This actually proved to be a very successful strategy. She said to me that as soon as she mentioned this to her boss, she saw the look on his face change and he was immediately on board. He actually said that her argument of the remuneration for the new opportunity or new position [00:06:00] actually gave him what he needed in order to be able to go to the executives and argue the point on her behalf. So just keep in mind that if you are looking for a salary increase to tie it to your responsibilities, and if your role is changing significantly or you are taking on a whole lot of extra responsibility like my client, then you may find that this changes the way that you frame your request.

[00:06:29] Another tip for you today is just to keep in mind that a pay rise doesn’t always necessarily need to be money or cash in your bank account. I have found in the past, and particularly for myself, I’m not incredibly motivated by money. I have other motivators that are much higher on my list that in fact, asking for other things instead of money has been a really successful request.

[00:06:59] It’s [00:07:00] also been really great for me. So one example of this is that I asked for an extra couple of weeks of annual leave per year rather than an incremental increase. So it was only worth maybe an extra few thousand dollars to them over the year. It meant that they actually didn’t need to pay me any more money, but it did mean that for me, I had a little bit more flexibility and freedom and I was able to save that leave and then go on a longer holiday, which at the time was around the time of my wedding, I believe.

[00:07:40] Another example when I’ve used this strategy was when I actually did ask for a pay rise, and the company that I worked for told me that at the time they weren’t able to financially afford to give me extra money. They actually provided me with an [00:08:00] alternative, which was ‘hey, how would you feel about working for the same money that we’re already paying you, but only working four days a week instead of five?’

[00:08:10] This, to me, was a fantastic negotiation. I was very grateful to them for offering me this option because again, it meant that I had a little bit more time to do my own thing that I was still being remunerated really fairly, but I felt like I had a lot more of that work-life balance, which again, is much higher on my list of motivators than money itself.

[00:08:36] This episode is brought to you by the Career Clarity Quest, my absolutely free, seven day program, which is designed to support you in getting so much clearer about your next steps. Find it at

[00:08:56] Now, finally, what I wanna share with you is when you [00:09:00]have decided that you want a pay rise, you have thought about your argument, you’ve got the points down around how it is that you actually benefit the employer and what value you add to them, you can start to think about how you’re actually going to make the request. Now, generally, I would suggest to you that any request like this, you should plan to have it in writing. I find that, particularly in writing, it means that you have an opportunity to put all of your points down to do that in a really structured way, and to make sure that you get your point across really effectively.

[00:09:34] Sometimes this doesn’t necessarily happen if you ask in a meeting because you might get sidetracked or distracted. Maybe you’ll miss a couple of points and your position isn’t necessarily as strong. Now in saying this, if you work in the same location as your manager, and particularly if you and your manager have a good relationship, then I would suggest that you actually do have a conversation with them.[00:10:00]

[00:10:00] But I would be open in that conversation about the fact that you have prepared a request in writing and that they can expect to receive that request after the meeting. This then gives them a chance to go away, to be able to reflect on the points that you’ve made, to read through what you have prepared to consider what it is that you’re actually asking for, and then to decide whether or not that is within the budget or whether there is something else that they could offer you instead.

[00:10:27] And finally, I would just say to you, please avoid using unethical tactics. I have seen this happening so many times, and for me, it just goes against all of my values. And again, this is one of the reasons that I don’t do a lot of coaching in this space because I am a very values-oriented individual. I don’t really like a lot of the tactics that are used when it comes to salary negotiation, but these unethical tactics in particular, [00:11:00] I find to be really off-putting.

[00:11:02] You’ve all heard somebody make that ultimatum, ‘you pay me an extra X dollars, oh, I’m going to leave’. Now if somebody came to me and said that, Oh, I would tell ’em to leave. I’d tell ’em to get out the door because I don’t think that that is a really genuine or effective way to approach a problem. I just think that ultimatums, whether they be in working relationships or in personal relationships, for me, it’s just gross.

[00:11:38] Another thing that I’ve seen people doing is lying in salary negotiations, and you may have heard this one before, perhaps you’ve even used it yourself. ‘Since Sally left, I’ve been doing two jobs, and so I deserve to be remunerated fairly’. Now, I actually had a client who came to me and told me this, [00:12:00]one of their colleagues had left, and it meant that he had taken on some additional responsibilities from this person. The thing is though, right when you say that you are doing the job of two people, that is generally a real over exaggeration. You know that there are only so many hours in the week, and yes, you may have taken on some of Sally’s responsibilities, but chances are that means that you have either dropped some of the things that you were doing before, or you just aren’t doing them to the same level of quality that perhaps you might have in the past. There are other ways to sell the fact that you’ve taken on extra responsibility without embellishing on the truth, or coming across as being a big fat liar.

[00:12:51] Another thing that I have seen used on money occasions is the idea of throwing people under the bus in order for you to make a [00:13:00] buck. So this is where you might say ‘there’s this person in the team who aren’t doing their job properly, they aren’t pulling their weight, and so I’ve been picking up the slack because of this, I deserve…’ Yeah, no. There’s no need to throw other people under the bus in order for you to win. Somebody else doesn’t have to lose. Now, if you do have an issue with somebody in the team that is not pulling their weight, there are ways and means of dealing with that, and I’m very happy to discuss that in another episode. But what I will say is that is a completely separate conversation to the conversation that you are having about your pay increase.

[00:13:44] Now the final unethical negotiation technique that I will say to steer clear of is deliberately seeking out other offers to elicit counter offers. Now, if you want to go and get [00:14:00] an offer from another organization that is absolutely your prerogative, I would suggest to you that if you get to the point that you are seeking other opportunities, then it’s because you have made a decision that you are ready to leave. I definitely don’t think that it’s a good idea for you to go around the industry and seek offers from other places just so that you can come back and throw it in your manager’s face. This will lead to damaging your reputation. What ends up happening is that you get a counter offer from your current employer, you end up accepting it. You’ve burnt the bridge with that other company that has offered you and this continues on in an ongoing cycle. There’s just no need for it. It’s shady and it just makes me feel really uncomfortable.

[00:14:50] Now obviously if you choose to use these tactics, go ahead. We are all different and it would be very [00:15:00] unrealistic and unfair of me force my own values and boundaries onto you. But I do share it in this forum because I think it gives you a little bit more of an understanding about who I am, what drives me, how I work, and the way that I feel most comfortable working with my clients. And if I had a client that was planning on using some of these techniques that I have labeled unethical, then that would be a really obvious flag to me that it was not a good coach and client fit. They wouldn’t be a client that I would want to work with, and I would absolutely without hesitation, and also quite respectfully refer them on to one of my colleagues in the industry who focuses more on helping people with their salary negotiation.

[00:15:53] Anyhow, I hope that this has been helpful to you and that perhaps it sparked a few ideas about [00:16:00] the way that you can approach your next salary negotiation. Have a beautiful day

[00:16:05] and I’ll see you in the next episode.

[00:16:08] Thanks so much for listening to the Pop Your Career podcast. I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s tips and that you found value in what I’ve shared with you. If you like your career advice quick and entertaining, I would love for you to subscribe. Also leave me a rating and a review. If you wanna continue the conversation, come and join me over on social media. You can find me everywhere at Pop Your Career. I’ll see you soon.


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About the author 


Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.