You are worth it

13.02.2020 | Author Stefanie Pichlmair | Photos Unsplash    

A woman in a plaid shirt.
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How to ask for a pay raise…and get one.

Not many bosses take the initiative to offer to raise your pay. For that, you have to put yourself out there, so wait for the right moment. For example, ask for an appointment right before finishing a successful project. Then just stick to the plan.

Two women sitting at a table.

The preparation

Research how much you can reasonably demand

Talk to employees in your company or in other companies for comparison. Check online salary platforms such as or to find a suitable sum. Also, mind your company’s standing: big players are more likely – and more able – to pay higher salaries.

Know your reasons

Understanding your realistic worth is crucial. List everything you brought to the company – your own contacts, overtime, further qualifications, sales increases, maybe special degrees. Bring the original job offer to compare the effort you bring with what was initially requested. If you have new big projects on the line, mention them. Will you save costs in the next months? Talk about it. The general principle is to always discuss your achievements, your work and your commitment – things you can quantify. Don’t compare yourself to colleagues, don’t pressure your boss, and don’t pout.

A close-up of a pound banknote.

The negotiation

1. Make the first move

The person who makes the first offer is more likely to get the results they want. The reason for this is the so-called “anchor effect”: when assessing the worth of something, the human brain searches for reference values. If it has no references, it defaults to a remembered number (in this case, the opening offer).

2. Be confident

Sounds obvious? Maybe, but unfortunately, most women are too humble when negotiating a pay raise. Here is the ugly truth: asking for a raise is tough. You’re not asking for charity; you’re asking for reasonable compensation for your work. So be bold.

3. Choose “unround” numbers

You’re better off requesting 4,350 euros than 4,000. An overly specific price suggestion is convincing and well prepared. It says: “I know my worth down to the last cent.” That automatically cuts through your boss’s psychological negotiation mindset. 

4. Use rhetorical pauses

Often, inexperienced negotiators can’t stand silence in conversations. But you should get used to it! Pausing is a highly underestimated strategy, since most people don’t know how to react to it, even bosses. Underline your determination by telling your boss your salary expectations – and settling into a nice, long pause.

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