Five ways to overcome salary negotiation anxiety

Mental Health

Approach pay rise conversations with confidence with these tips

From March to April 2021, there has been a 219% increase in the number of people searching ‘how to ask for a pay rise?’– according to data from Google Trends.

As changes to the age eligibility for minimum wage were introduced at the beginning of April, and more people are returning to work in the office, there’s a been a surge in people wanting a pay rise – but many are not sure how to go about it.

That said, there are steps you can take to not only increase your chances of getting one, but to also reduce your anxiety around asking. We’ve compiled our five top tips for asking for a payrise, and how to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.

Write down everything first

When it comes to a stressful moment, such as asking for a pay raise, you might get nervous when speaking and end up forgetting important points. Writing what you want to say down, either pen and paper or on a word document, can help you to nail down what you’re thinking.

In the first instance, writing also gets all the emotion of what you want to say out, and allows you to focus on the facts. The natural processing that happens when you write everything down will also help you to pull out your main points and create a cohesive argument.

If you don’t know where to start, try these questions:

  • What do I need to increase my quality of life?
  • How can I justify my rise?
  • What evidence do I have to back up my rise?
  • What’s the minimum salary I want to settle for?

Pick a range over a set figure

If you go into a salary negotiation with a single figure, and don’t get everything you need, you may find yourself disgruntled with the end result. Instead set a range of at least £2,000 difference to ensure you get an adequate raise.

Inform this range with averages for your industry, experience, education level, and location. LinkedIn has a great resource to help with this, which you can view here.

Be flexible in your negotiation

Instead of a salary increase, would you be willing to reduce your hours, or another solution?

Increased holiday or adding in flexible working hours may also be something you would consider, instead of a direct pay increase.

However, if a pay increase is a must, have a minimum level of increase, either percentage based or money based, that you’re willing to accommodate.

Set a meeting in for first thing

Rather than waiting an entire day to discuss with your line manager or further up, try getting a meeting in the morning, so you’re not sitting on the anxiety all day. You can also try getting one earlier in the week so as to not think about it all week as well as all day. The sooner you get it out of the way the better.

Whoever you end up speaking to, whether that’s a manager, HR, or similar, ask who else will be in the meeting. They may bring in a staff representative or an outsourced payroll provider, negotiator. This can also help to inform the information you need to bring in.

The day before the discussion, prep your food for the next day and give yourself the evening off to relax and soothe your brain. Whatever your favourite way to relax, make sure you allow yourself to switch off and fully ready yourself.

Practice makes perfect

Practice what you want to say. Whether you’ve prepared responses to expected questions, have a statement you want to read or simply have a list of reasons that you think you want a pay rise, practice everything.

You can either to do it to a mirror, a partner, family member or friend. Get their feedback and use it to help you perfect what you’re going to say.
And finally, remember that the worst thing that can happen is they say no. You’re protected under workers’ rights and can’t be fired for asking a question.


Interested in working with a career coach? Head to lifecoach-directory.org.uk

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