How to Discuss Salary with Your Boss

Posted by

Salary Negotiation

It’s a conversation that many people avoid. But if your career aspirations and personal goals extend beyond the confines of your current wage, discussing salary with your boss is absolutely necessary.

Do Your Homework

Before you dive into salary negotiations, you’ll want to do some research. Salary surveys are good ways to find the average salary for someone in your position. There are numerous websites, such as, that provide free salary surveys, as well as company and job reviews. Finding the average salary for your position will give you a good starting place to begin your negotiations. Remember, salaries differ by geographic region, so make sure to find the correct figure for the area you live in.

After you’ve researched the median salary for your position, it’s time to shine the spotlight on your accomplishments. You’ll want to be armed with examples of your most exceptional work when you finally sit down with your boss. Also consider your skills, contribution to the company, work dedication, and education when outlining your negotiation battle plan.

There’s a Time and Place  

When you ask for a raise can be just as important as your negotiation preparation. Before you set a meeting with your boss, familiarize yourself with your employer’s pay practices. If standard practice is to offer salary raises once a year, then it’s unlikely your boss will be receptive to salary increases any other time. Traditionally, the best time to talk salary with your superior is during performance reviews. But make sure to read your employee handbook to find out what the correct procedure is for salary negotiations.

The Negotiation

You’ve done the prep work and set the meeting, now it’s time to actually have the discussion. When you finally sit down to talk dollars and cents, make sure you’re coming across as assertive and confident. Never be apologetic when asking for a raise or negotiating salary. If you act unsure when making your case for a higher wage, your superior will sense that and he or she may decide they are unsure about giving you a raise. If you know that you’ve put in the hard work, don’t be afraid to ask for a raise — it’s reasonable for you to ask because you deserve it.

During your discussion, focus on your worth, not your need. Telling your boss about personal financial problems like rent and bills is not a recommended strategy. Companies aren’t going to hand out raises based on who needs them the most, so leave that information at the door. Instead, focus on the hard work you’ve done and highlight your future responsibilities. You’ll also want to avoid using another job offer as leverage for a better salary. Employers don’t like to be held hostage or given ultimatums and, chances are, they won’t be receptive to this tactic.

Be Flexible

Even after all the hard work you’ve put in over the years, you still may not receive a raise. But don’t take it personally. A salary increase might not be feasible for your company at the time. To meet your employer half way, suggest a gradual pay raise over one or two years. Bottom line — be flexible when asking for a raise or negotiating salary. You may not get exactly what you want, so be prepared to compromise.

Agree? Disagree? Add your insightful comments here.