First Grownup Job Guide: Negotiating a Pay Increase

By February 27, 2018For Talent

So you’ve been working in your first grown up job for a couple of months, and things are going pretty well. You’re enjoying the disposable income, on top of the workload and can just about remember everyone’s name. 

At the same time, not everything is perfect. That salary you agreed upon ‘oh so long ago’ has become a regret, sometimes you wish you’d pushed for more. Even an extra thousand or two would make such a difference, think of all those guilt-free pints!

Negotiating a pay increase is never something you should be afraid of. Yet in every workplace it’s something that people shy away from.

It’s time to take control of your income. No more payday wishing!

Find the right opportunity

How has the company been doing lately? If the CEO is stressed out over the last few months’ performance, maybe it’s not the right time! Wait until things are going well and running smoothly, then is your opportunity to set up an initial meeting with head of HR. Arranging meetings like these are best done through email, to indicate the formality of the occasion but be sure to have the actual negotiation face-to-face. This way you can better assess tone and body language. 

Determine your worth

If you feel comfortable doing so, ask coworkers how much they’re making. However, it’s possible there’s no one there doing the same job as you, which could make research a little more difficult. You’ll have to reach out and find people with similar roles. LinkedIn is a handy tool for this- just make sure you’re on private mode before you go stalking! Alternatively, you could attend an interview for a job similar to yours and determine what’s fair in their opinion.

Prepare your argument

Think back over your time in work, what have been your biggest accomplishments to date? You’ve got to find evidence that you’re doing the best job you could possibly do. Come into the meeting armed with facts and figures, even make some graphs! It’s time to show them how far your department has come since you came on board! However, don’t focus your whole argument upon the past- come up with some innovative future plans too. Tell them what you intend to do over the next 6 months that’ll make you work harder than ever!


Rehearse what you’re going to say before the meeting, if you don’t believe you deserve that raise then nobody will! Go in with lots of confidence and self assurance, practice in the mirror at every available opportunity. Get ready to debate and negotiate. If you have to get the ball rolling, know in advance what pay range you’ll suggest. Whatever HR suggest in return, debate with them to try increase the end figure. Remember that silence can be used to your advantage, if you don’t want to jump in with an exact number, stay quiet until the other person breaks! 

Keep it professional

You might be used to chatting with your HR manager at Friday evening drinks, but right now you’re meeting under professional circumstances. No matter how frustrated you are with your current paychecks, avoid speaking negatively about your workplace. Sick of your hungover team members calling in sick and leaving all the work up to you? Keep it to yourself! Negotiating a pay raise must be done graciously to maintain your reputation.

Have a back up plan

Make sure you don’t make threats, as this is considered as bad form by HR managers. If you need the money, but can’t get a raise, it’s time to compromise. Agree to stay on the same rate for another few months while your replacement is found. This will give you time to start looking for a better paid job elsewhere. Alternatively, you could try agree upon perks that might make up for your disappointment. Paid time off or training courses could make you forget about that end of month struggle before pay day.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Author Jack Maguire

Jack Maguire is a recent English Studies graduate, content writer for the Jobbio blog, freelance journalist and podcast creator.

More posts by Jack Maguire

Leave a Reply