Negotiating a Pay Rise

How to negotiate a pay raise in a pandemic

Synopsis of an article from Fast Company by Suzanne De Janasz, Published 26th June 2020.

Suzanne takes us through the challenges of how to ask for a (potentially much deserved) pay rise during a Pandemic.

Remember, you don’t get what you don’t ask for. The challenge lies in how you ask.“


Any negotiation starts by knowing what the price the market will bear, and the way to find out what that number is comes from research. You need to look at what your skills, your experience, your education, the roles responsibilities and the roles accountabilities are worth in the market. But that is just the starting point.

You need to be clear and put a value on the benefits or efficiencies that you have directly delivered.


Being clear on what you believe that you are worth in the role is the fist step in the negotiation, it enables you to consider various potentially satisfactory alternatives. It is not ever wise to go in with an ultimatum, consider the range of what you would be happy with and it provides you with more confidence of not having to accept what ever is or is not offered.
Finding a way to have the conversation with out friction – being persistent without alienating the other party. There are ways to highlight new responsibilities, to expand benefits, change other aspects of the role like providing admin support or professional development. You can reframe the negotiation by suggesting other possible solutions, into a collaborative problem-solving session.


Not every situation ends up with a winning outcome, sometimes there is no resolution and negotiation ends in a stalemate. Even though the current economy is tough, talented employees with in-demand skills will find other options. As Suzanne points out “Research suggests it can cost up to two times their annual salary to replace a professional or managerial employee“.

Consider how you can lay out the justification; potentially align that conversation to achieving specific goals, if your research has indicated that you are underpaid relative to the market, make a suggestion that feels fair and not greedy. You can also suggest a phased approach x% this month and another y% by the end of the year if specific goals are met or exceeded.


So while its not the same as being in the same room for the discussion the biggest benefit to jumping on a Zoom or A Webex call for your salary negotiation is the immediacy. You can also access your notes to make sure you are really well prepared for the discussion.

The best way to prepare is to practice, as with anything if you use the skill a lot you get better at it. So be prepared and practice what you want to say, make negotiating one of your key skillsets.

Suzanne de Janasz  is professor of management and conflict resolution at George Mason University and director of executive negotiation programs. 

Read the full article on Fast Company

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