“Please Sir, I Want Some More”

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

How to Negotiate a Pay Rise

More, you can’t ask for more!! 

Well it didn’t work for Oliver, so are we all doomed as well if we ask for more?

Luckily, we’ve moved on from the Victorian age, so actually you can ask for more. As you learn more, and contribute more, it’s likely that at some time in your media sales career your value to the company will be greater than your salary. But research shows that lots of us, particularly women, can feel very uncomfortable about actually asking for more. 

A recent survey by CV-Library of 1,200 workers found that men are almost twice as likely as women to ask for a pay rise, with men also being more likely to receive a higher pay rise.

Salary isn’t the biggest motivator though. According to a survey by the Reward Gateway, which questioned over 2,000 UK employees, salary comes in behind job satisfaction, feeling respected, having a purpose and fostering good working relationships… but only if you are already motivated.  If you’re feeling demotivated at work, then salary comes in at number one. 

Getting the salary you deserve is part of advancing your media sales career and it’s how your company shows you that they appreciate your work and value you and your skills. So, if you do feel underpaid and undervalued, and you know that you deserve a salary increase, here’s our top 5 tips for asking for more.

Our 5 Tips to Negotiate a Pay Rise…

1. Are you worth an increase?

This is the first point you need to consider, and where you need to be honest with yourself. Look at your job description, then think about the additional, unanticipated value you have brought to the company since your salary was last set. Include in your list, a few of your best recent achievements, that reinforce your value to the business, and shows how indispensable you are.

Your sales manager is likely to have to justify why you need a raise, so make it easy for them by helping them to create the case for you.

On the other hand, if your performance is not rated by your manager as strong, and your annual review didn’t show “good” or above performance, you are going to struggle to justify an increase. 

Ideally, you will have a good working relationship with your sales manager, and they will already be aware of the points on your list. If you are not sure that they are, then you may want to highlight some of the points in the build up to the “Big Ask”. 

Also think about building a closer relationship between the two of you. Everyone wants to feel they are liked and respected. Asking your manager for advice on a topic can be a good way of approaching this. 

2. Research the market

Before you go into a salary negotiation, it’s crucial that you do your research.  Find out, objectively, how much someone in your position, with your experience, and in your location, should be paid. As well as salary, consider whether the comparable roles have additional benefits such as car, health insurance, extra holidays etc.

There may be other factors you may want to consider. For example, since 2017, companies with more than 250 employees have been required to report their gender pay gap. This is now a sensitive area for businesses, and something to use as a potential lever to get the company to act now.

Ultimately, if you leave, because you either start looking, or are approached for another role, your company will probably need to replace you. As well as the market salary rate for your role, factor in the recruitment cost, risks to the business of losing your knowledge, and the additional things you bring to the company. This is the measure of your negotiating power, and the risk your company needs to manage.

Ask yourself, if you were in your managers shoes, would you want to lose you, and have to go through the process of replacing you?

3. The Pitch

You want to be confident in your ask. Practice what you want to say and think about the challenges that may be pushed back to you. You want the discussion to be collaborative, and not confrontational. Asking your manager to review your salary, rather than demanding a rise is significantly more successful. They will need to lobby on your behalf, so you want them on your side, and never want the discussion to be adversarial. 

Remember, that in any discussion, what you feel can never be questioned. If you feel you are underpaid, it is your managers duty to look into your concerns. This is also not confrontational, you are merely relying on your manager to answer your points and review the evidence that is causing your concern. It does not necessarily mean they will agree with you, but they will need to present their reasoning for the decision.

4. The Big Ask

Timing is important, so select your moment well. Ideally you will have recently done something that’s been received well by your manager and/or, they are in a good mood. Choose an environment when you’ve got time to talk and you have your managers full attention, such as a 1-2-1 or during an annual review. This will give your manager time to focus on and understand your points.

Go in with the salary range that your research has suggested for the role and provide evidence of your achievements to say where in that range (e.g. higher or lower end), you think you should sit.

This process may also take a few meetings, so you are unlikely to get an answer there and then. Be prepared to go back-and-forth during negotiations and be sure that any compromise reached is acceptable. You will probably need to give some ground, but don’t just accept a minimal salary increase.

If a pay rise can’t be looked at due to external factors such as a company wide salary freeze are there other things that you could be given in the short term to demonstrate how much the company values your contribution?  For example: more holidays, flexible working, training courses, etc.

Overall, always be gracious. No matter what the outcome is, be understanding, appreciative, and thankful for the opportunity to discuss and review it.

5. If you don’t succeed the first time, revisit

If you don’t succeed, you need to understand what would need to happen to change the answer. That could relate to specific things your manager may want to see in your performance, or the decision may simply be a policy decision that’s out of their hands at this current moment in time. 

Whatever the reason, try to get a time frame for a review in the diary, confirmed in an email, with any points your manager would want to have addressed to justify an increase.

The very fact you have a timeline is progress.  It means it’s now a topic that’s visible to both of you and up for discussion, and you are more likely to get a raise, or even a promotion in the future.

Good luck with your discussions, and hopefully you will directly profit from reading this blog!


If you want to find out more about how Nua Training can help you fast track your media sales career, call us on 01372 700026 or send an email to info@nuatraining.co.uk.

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