I am working in a large architecture company, which the headquarter is based in Switzerland. However, I work at one of the satellite offices in the UK.

I joined about 1 year ago; when I had the job interview, it seemed to me that I had asked for a salary that might be too low for the position I was applying for. This might have been because the salary of the bulk of employees (in Switzerland) is higher than in the UK.

I received a raise of 8% last month to cope with inflation, but here in the UK, it is so brutal (headline figure 11% but feels more like 20%) that I feel I should actually try my luck at asking for a bigger one.

I am well liked by by manager, but I do not really feel like I am in a strong bargaining position.

  • I could mention the first point, that I believed I am underpaid compared to my colleagues at the same level, but i have nothing to substantiate that assumption.
  • I could bring forward the work done in the past 9 months, although I do not believe it really support a demand for a 20% raise...
  • I could hint at my personal situation and the fact that I am being squeezed and will start consider looking for another job if I'm not being heard. But, I don't like the idea of threats and ultimatum as the bosses have been very decent so far, and I enjoy the job. I could just gently hint at it for a start saying something like "I cannot fully concentrate to the daily tasks..." or something of the like. To be honest, this seems to me to be the only bargaining argument that can be wielded with effect in that kind of situation. But maybe I am being cynical.

Anyway, the first step will likely to send an email to my manager explaining that I would like to discuss a raise and see how he reacts, but I wanted to hear feedback on here about what you think of my thoughts.


4 Answers 4


I wanted to hear feedback on here

This is a good decision. Do not speak to your manager until you have taken more time to prepare yourself with facts.

From what you have said in your question, I agree that you may not be in a strong bargaining position.

You posed no evidence that you make less than others in your company at the same level. It is likely you make more than some people, the same as others and less than some others. Since you don't know, you should not assume that you make less.

I think your 3rd bullet point has the potential to do you more harm than good. Saying you will look for another job likely will be perceived as a threat, and saying you can't concentrate could damage your reputation.

You need to build a case for yourself with facts before you speak to your boss. Perhaps you can do some research on salaries for people with your level of experience in your part of the world. Try to gather information that other companies pay 20% more.

You should also start a job search to get a sense if you really could find a better situation.

In the meantime, it might be beneficial for you to have a constructive meeting with the boss. It should be a positive discussion; talk about how you would like to take on more responsibility and/or add new skills because you want to have a more meaningful impact on the company's success. This leads eventually to discussions about higher compensation. Talk about the steps towards getting a promotion.


As is almost always the case, when looking for a raise, you need to present the case that shows how valuable you are to the company. Most of the other factors you mentioned don't help with that argument.

Your second point is where you should focus, even if it doesn't justify 20%, it should justify the correct salary for you.

I would stay away from your first point as justification. Comparing levels or experience is not a strong argument. Different people at the same title or job level perform differently. You may be be "underpaid" because they perform better. You may have more or equal experience, but that doesn't by itself mean you provide more value. Comparing yourself to other people opens the door for other comparisons that may not work in your favor. Stick with your value to the company.

Inflation can be a tough sell for a raise in the short term. 6 months of high inflation could easily be followed by low inflation, so companies can be slow to give inflation based raises until it lasts over a loner periods. Housing prices go down, energy costs fluctuate, other cost of living drivers can fall, but that inflation based raise is forever from the company's perspective. If you use inflation as an argument, they could use that same argument against you in the future when the economy goes flat.


Step 1 is to do research. What are other companies paying for a similar level of experience in a similar role in a similar locale to your own? One way you could do this (this is what I do) is to engage with recruiters on LinkedIn. Recruiters will be happy to tell you details about the jobs they are recruiting for to entice candidates to apply to their positions; you do not have to say you are not interested in their job, and you can simply ask them, "what would this position pay?". They'll be happy to tell you.

Once you've done your research, then you can make a judgment: "Am I worth a pay raise of 20% more?". By "am I worth", the most important consideration is "will someone else pay me 20% more to do the same job as I'm currently doing now?", which is why you have to do research first. Once you've answered that question, then you can determine if you are being underpaid or not.

If you are being underpaid, then raise that as an issue with your manager: "I know I am being underpaid. Can you pay me what I'm worth?". A better way to phrase this would include some acknowledgment that perhaps the company is unable, for financial reasons, to pay you that salary, so give your manager some amount of leeway in the question to say "it's not in the cards right now". I'm not saying that being underpaid by 10-15% is acceptable, but what I am saying is that if you phrase it as an ultimatum, your manager may call your bluff and then you don't have a job or a salary at all, and good luck coping with 11% inflation without any form of paycheque.

Once your manager gives you their answer, then you can decide what to do. Perhaps the best course of action for you is to contact one of those recruiters who contacted you before regarding jobs similar to yours that pay the salary you're looking for, and tell them you've suddenly found yourself open to a new opportunity.


Leave out the assumption apart, since there is no prof and focus on what you want, what is acceptable for you and most important of all why you want it.

I would need a raise because of... name your factual reasons. Be clear in what would be acceptable for you and if you can split this raise into the 2023 and 2024 since you got 8% recently. Show yourself open to negotiate so other people can do the same.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .