How to negotiate pay – for both employers and employees

Money can be a difficult and awkward matter to discuss, both on behalf of the employer and the employee. Negotiating a salary in the first place and hence negotiating a pay rise once in a role, is something many of us try and avoid or don’t know how to handle. Likewise for an employer, when broached with this subject in an interview or in a review, they often don’t know how to respond.

At Lincoln Recruitment Specialists, our expert consultants are used to facilitating and dealing with these requests on a daily basis. Therefore, we have put together some tips to assist you when dealing with these situations from all angles.


Salary Negotiation: (for candidates/employees)

  • Prepare to fail, fail to prepare – Pre salary negotiation, benchmark your salary against others in your industry. Salary guides are a great way to assess the industry average for any given role. Otherwise, speaking to an expert consultant in your field is another great way to find out how much your peers are earning in similar organisations. Don’t be afraid to ask, we would be more than willing to help!
  • Ask about benefits and comps – Compensation and benefits are an often overlooked part of an employment offer. However, they are one which can be really beneficial when helping you make your decision or attempting to negotiate salary. Opportunities such as further qualifications and study via your employer are options that could really help you in the long run and may make up for a slightly lower salary.
  • Be honest about your previous salary – The hiring managers in question are likely to be experts in their field, and chances are they’ll have a ballpark figure in mind of what you earned in your previous experience. Therefore it makes sense to be as truthful as possible when it comes to speaking about your past salaries, in order to negotiate an honest and fair offer based on your experience.


Pay Rise: (for employees)

  • Only ask for what you think you deserve – It’s important to be realistic with your expectations. Keep in mind how long you’ve been in your current role and at your current pay, think over the work you’ve been doing since you began in the role, what projects you have contributed to and so on and so forth. Coming to your manager with a realistic expectation will make the negotiation process smoother and they are more likely to be open to your request once they see where you are coming from.
  • Be prepared to take on more responsibility – With more money, generally comes more responsibility. Be prepared to be asked to take on more on top of your existing workload, and make sure you and your manager thoroughly discuss future targets and goals. You need to be sure you can match the workload required, in order to deserve the additional compensation you are set to receive.
  • Consider the circumstances – The term ”read the room” comes to mind here. For example, at the start of the pandemic back in March 2020, it probably wouldn’t have been an ideal tie to come to your manager requesting a pay rise, given the uncertainty most organisations were facing. However, now that we’re in 2021 and most businesses have adjusted to the pandemic, providing your organisation is in a somewhat stable place, then requesting a pay rise shouldn’t be an issue.


Pay Rise (for employers)

  • Do your research – Again, as mentioned above, benchmarking salaries against other companies or organisations in your industry is imperative. This is also important for making offers to potential employees, and equally important when an employee comes to you looking to negotiate a salary.
  • If not possible, offer an alternative – If it is simply not feasible within the companies budget at this time, or you feel the pay rise is unjustified, maybe work at putting together an action plan to get the employee to such a point where they can commit to the workload needed to justify such an increase in pay. Alternatively, see if there are other perks or benefits which could be offered aside from salary which would make a difference to the employee – this is all very important for employee retention.
  • Don’t make the decision alone – There can be immense pressure and uncertainty when making a decision regarding money. Don’t feel alone and reach out to HR or your own line manager (if you have one) to ask their advice before committing to anything. The company may already have a policy in regards to pay or a pay scale in place which you can follow to make things easier.


Negotiating pay can be a tricky situation for anyone involved, and at every career level. If you are looking for more advice on the above or have a pay related question about your industry, our team of expert recruitment consultants would be happy to help. Contact us here and we’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.

Shannon Molloy avatar
Associate Consultant
+353 1 699 4459