Top 5 Tips to Discuss Salary Without Making It Awkward
- Do Your Homework in Advance
Before bringing anything up, do your market research. Know what your position typically earns based on your skills, experience, and industry. Gather data from sites like Glassdoor that can provide an objective range. Having numbers and facts to reference builds credibility for any requests and prevents the meeting from becoming a subjective, feelings-based exchange.
- Focus on Contributions, Not Cost of Living
Rather than saying you need more money to keep up with expenses, highlight the concrete value you’ve brought through projects completed, goals exceeded, cost reductions achieved, or new clients secured. Emphasize your accomplishments over time spent. Relating pay to performance shows you deserve an increase based on proven contributions, not perception.
- Express Appreciation for the Opportunity
Regardless of the outcome, take time to sincerely thank your manager or company for the career growth opportunity so far. Showing gratitude can diffuse tension and make disagreements feel less personal. It also lays the foundation to have an ongoing constructive discussion, not just an isolated meeting.
- Ask Open-Ended Questions
Guide the discussion towards solutions, not problems, by asking how you can take on more strategic work or elevate your performance to the next level. Inquire how pay scales are typically determined for someone with your role. Asking open questions shifts the dynamic from confrontation to collaboration.
- Consider Smaller Frequent Bumps in Salary
Instead of pushing for a huge raise that may be denied, explore the possibility of more gradual but consistent compensation growth through smaller annual increases. Small wins build momentum and goodwill over time.
By going into the salary chat prepared and keeping communication positive, you can maximize your ability to have an impact without ever making it an unpleasant experience. With practice, advocating for fair pay can become much less intimidating.