How to get a pay increase in your structural engineering role

Published on: 25 Jul 2018

You work hard, you put in the hours, and get results – but, perhaps, you’re not being remunerated to a level that adequately compensates you for all that effort?

If this is the case, how do you go about asking the boss for an increase on your existing salary?

Timing is everything

If the boss’s bonus has been curtailed by poor company performance; if they are under pressure; or if the project on which you’re all working isn’t going smoothly; then it might not be a great time to ask.

Why not sit on your request until everything is a lot happier and things are going smoothly?

Ask for a meeting

There’s no point trying to negotiate a pay increase over email or on the telephone – ask for a face-to-face meeting and be clear about your intentions from the start so that your boss doesn’t feel hijacked. Tell them you want to sit down so that you can present to them your case for a pay increase, which quite naturally leads us to…

Making your case

Here’s where you’ll present your boss your reasons for wanting a raise and (more importantly) why you deserve one. Your case should draw upon the research you will have conducted in remuneration across the industry and, also, how you compare with colleagues achieving a similar standard.

Keeping it professional

Your boss isn’t interested in your desire to move to a bigger flat or your cashflow problems. They’re only likely to base their decision on your value to the business. So, when making your case, your personal circumstances should rarely come into the reckoning.

No threats, no arguments

Your case for a pay increase is hardly going to be bolstered by your meeting descending into threats about resignation if you don’t get what you want. Similarly, there is no point arguing if your boss disagrees with you or refuses to bend. A polite exchange of positions is fine, but arguments wouldn’t encourage favourability.

Aim high, but be realistic

Don’t be cowed by the prospect of asking for what you think you deserve. It might well be the case that your boss agrees that you need a pay rise, don’t give them the opportunity of only offering a small one by asking too little. If they agree in principle, you can always negotiate over the details.

Say thank you and follow up

If things don’t go according to plan, bring the meeting to a close by thanking them for hearing you out then follow up with a professional email thanking them once more; it could make the world of difference when you approach them again a few months down the line.