Have you ever asked for a pay rise, and been denied? Or were you ever so nervous that you’ve waited weeks, or even months, before working up the courage to ask for a pay rise? Well you’re not the only one.
With inflation outstripping most salary increases, knowing how to ask for a pay rise has never been more essential.
But there is good news. The job market has never been better for digital marketing and there are more jobs than marketers to fill them. This means companies are willing to pay more to keep their best talent. Because they know if they don’t, someone else will.
No one was ever fired for asking for a pay rise. Your manager may say yes, or they may say no. But being prepared will allow you to argue a stronger and more convincing case for your pay rise.
Template For Asking For A Pay Rise: An example of how to structure your request for a pay rise.
The first step to negotiating a pay rise is being certain in your worth; both as an individual with your own skills, experience and knowledge; and your worth to the business. Because these are the two main factors for your salary, and being certain in these will allow you to argue your pay rise with conviction.
Things for you to consider are:
Firstly you can check the average salary and salary range of people in the same job as you using salary checkers like Payscale, Glassdoor or Indeed. Or you can do your own research on these job sites and look at live job adverts.
Of course these sites are only so accurate, as they only take into account a limited amount of factors. Reaching out to a recruitment agency in your industry can be a great way to find out the salaries you could earn that are specific to your individual situation.
Does your location affect your pay? For example, if you’re working in London, this will mean you should be paid higher than the market average.
Job titles only say so much and your years of experience can be a stronger indicator of you knowledge. There is a huge difference in value to a business between a newly made manager with a year’s experience, and a manager with 8 years experience…
Certifications given by respected industry bodies help demonstrate your worth to employers. If you’ve gained new certification recently, this could easily be used to argue why you’re worth more now than you were in the past.
Similar to years of experience, is the length of your tenure at your current business: This means you know the business and how it works, the people that work there, the clients you work with… All these things you can use to argue why you’re worth the pay rise.
The more senior or more niche your role is, the more difficult to replace you are. Or are you in a role that is particularly vital to the operation of the business? Or maybe your skillset makes you particularly valuable to the business and the business plans moving forward: Maybe you’re an expert in paid marketing AND you have experience in digital PR.
What campaigns, client accounts have you worked on that have been successful? Having demonstrable examples of times you’ve added to the businesses worth helps add justification to your pay rise and reinforces why you’re hard to replace.
All of these considerations should provide you with the means to negotiate a pay rise, and an accurate and realistic figure that you can aim for.
Try to avoid bringing personal circumstances of difficulties into the negotiations. While it may be tempting to try and garner sympathy, this is entirely a business decision for your managers. And it’s recommended to keep your request professional, and instead focus on why it is the correct business decision for the business to pay you more.
You should use all of this knowledge to be able to justify why you’re worth more than the market average. It’s your job to equate your experience into your worth for the business:
Almost as important as what you say, is when you say it. There are good times to ask that can improve your chances of receiving a pay rise, and times when you should avoid asking:
After the successful completion of a project or client campaign is a great time to ask for a meeting to negotiate your pay rise. Your manager/ employer will hopefully be less stressed and you will have just demonstrated your value to the business.
Don’t just grab your manager in passing or knock on their office. Book a meeting into their diary. This will give you their (hopefully) undivided attention for a proper discussion.
Whether to mention beforehand that the meeting is about a pay rise is up to debate, but we suggest avoiding discussing the nature of the meeting. Pre-warning your manager may give them time to think of counter arguments before you’ve even presented your case, or they may just postpone your meeting entirely
Perhaps the most obvious tip on this section, but avoiding meeting just before project deadlines or other stressful times can increase the chance of both your manager giving proper consideration to your request, and the chance of it being accepted.
In your performance review is the perfect time to ask for a pay rise, after you have just finished discussing your sterling performance at the company. But if your performance review is still 6 months away, then don’t wait.
When your business is reassessing budgets for the upcoming year is a great time to ask for a pay rise, as you know funds can be made available. However similar to your performance review, don’t wait months for this to come around. If you’re denied, you can always ask again at a more opportune time.
How you present yourself in your meeting can be the deciding factor in your manager’s decision. After all, if you’re there to argue your value to the business, you don’t want to look like you can barely be bothered to be there.
Open the dialogue by discussing your value to the business; before you get into asking for your pay rise. Your manager will know what is coming, but you want him to understand before you even ask why you deserve it.
While this feels like a very personal decision to you, to your manager this is purely a business decision. So try to avoid bringing personal circumstances into your negotiation. Your pay rise should be awarded due to your hard work, achievements, and translating this to your value to the business; not due to any emotional reasoning.
Making emotional pleas can even be detrimental to your negotiation.
Again, another obvious one but make sure you look your best. Showing you’ve put effort into your appearance by dressing smarter than usual shows you respect your managers time. And remember the importance of body language: You should appear confident in your request, because you know you deserve it.
The market research you did will provide you with a close estimate of how much you are worth to the business. But even within this there is some room for negotiation.
If you ask for a pay rise to the bottom of the range you have estimated, it may be approved and you’ll be left wondering if you could’ve asked for more.
If you ask for the top of your pay range, come in too high and ask to be paid £5k more than the rest of your peers, you may be told no outright. It’s important to manage your expectations, and enter into the discussion with the knowledge it is a negotiation.
You should also aim to prepare yourself for any situations that may arise in your meeting. The more scenarios you’re prepared for, the more confident you will be in your negotiation.
It’s your manager’s job to fight you on giving you a pay rise where possible. Again, this isn’t an emotional decision for your manager but purely a financial decision. They will likely try to fight you on this, by either lowering your expectations or outright denying your request. But being prepared means you can fight your corner and justify your request.
You may not be given an answer there and then, so be prepared to wait. In larger organisations, the decision may have to go through several people or decision makers. If you’re confident in your position, or have other job offers or interest from competitors, you can even give a deadline to your manager when you need to hear by.
You’re reading this article because you want a pay rise: But it’s worth considering before your meeting if there is anything you would accept instead of, or as part of your negotiation.
Having certifications or training paid and provided by the business can be as good as or even better than a strict pay rise. In the long term, earning certifications can increase your worth to the business; for example.
Your employer may offer a promotion, hoping to offset some of the cost by giving you a shiny new title. This may not be exactly what you were going into the conversation to get. But a promotion and the new responsibilities and skills you learn can help you in the long term.
You could even consider accepting the promotion while you search for a new job that will pay you what you deserve.
Additionally you could be offered a lateral transfer in the business. The opportunity to move laterally within a business to learn new skills can be twice as important to employees compared to salary. It may not be the instant pay rise you were asking for. But learning another area of digital marketing can
Some employers may counter that it’s simply not currently possible to pay you more given the company’s budget. Instead, a counter offer could look like a promised pay rise at a future date. If this is something that you would agree to, it’s important to get it in writing in the form of an email on a company email.
Even this isn’t legally binding in most cases, and is no guarantee. The business may instead be looking for your cheaper replacement! So we would err on the side of caution when accepting the promise of a future pay rise.
The company can offer benefits, some purely financial, some aimed at making you happier in your work life. These can be more flexible working, stocks in the company, increased company pension, more holidays…
But if a pay rise is all your primary interest, don’t let your decision be swayed by tempting counter offers.
If you feel you deserve a pay increase for the amount of work you are doing, then would you consider a reduction in responsibilities? Having more support in your role? Or a lighter workload that gives you a better work-life balance?
These kinds of decisions are never easy, so it’s important to have a long consideration beforehand so you’re ready for if and when a counter offer is presented.
Whether your request is accepted, denied, or you have to wait to hear the verdict, it’s important to keep working hard and demonstrating your value to the business. You want to keep demonstrating why you deserve this pay rise.
But if your request for a pay rise is denied, it’s not over yet. It’s time to revisit the negotiation table.
If your company is unwilling to offer you a pay rise, what will they offer you? As we discussed earlier, there are a wealth of alternative benefits you can negotiate for. Some such as certification or training, can be worth more in the long term than a strict increase in salary.
Alternatively, you can reach out to one of our consultants for a confidential chat about your career. We speak to hundreds of people like yourself. What’s most important to us is finding out what is best for them from a careers perspective.
This could be looking for a new job that will offer them the salary they deserve: Exploring a different area of their industry and making a lateral move to gain new skills: Or earn new certification that will help them reach the next stage in their career.
If you’re work in SEO, PPC, Paid Media or any area of Digital Marketing and you’re not being fairly compensated for the work you do, reach out to us here. We offer confidential careers advice, and can find you a role which will pay you what you deserve, or give you expert advice tailored to your individual situation.
Your conversation with your manager will obviously look different, but including all the information you gathered in preparation, it should look a little like the one below.
I’ve been with this company for 2 years now. During that time I’ve worked on two of our highest profile and most lucrative client accounts, X and X, in which I was responsible for the successful coordination of campaigns across Facebook and LinkedIn. These campaigns were such a success, that client X has expanded their account with us to include Amazon and Instagram ads; and has doubled their budget.
It was the success on these accounts that led to my promotion to Account Manager.
Alongside my experience, I’ve also gained additional certifications from X and X in running pay-per-click advertising. These, alongside my experience working here and my 2 previous years in digital marketing, has made me an expert in running successful PPC campaigns for our clients.
While the market average salary for someone with my level of experience is £XX,XXX, due to the reasons above I believe that I deserve £XX,XXX.
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