Should I Negotiate a Salary for a Promotion?

Prepare for a salary negotiation session.
Prepare for a salary negotiation session. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

You have worked hard for that upcoming promotion. It is a growth opportunity, and your excitement level is soaring. Now, as you ponder how this salary increase will fatten your paycheck, there are a few things to consider. Often promotional increases are formula-driven; therefore, you might not receive the big bucks you anticipated. If you are wondering about the viability of negotiating your increase, you probably have nothing to lose. In fact, you just might score some additional compensation.

Be Prepared

If you are nervous about negotiating a promotional increase, do it anyway. When it's done in a professional, nonaggressive manner, you need not worry about retribution. Have a number in mind. If you can obtain credible salary data on your position, discuss it with your manager. Also, review your employee handbook for a policy on promotional increases. Managers might have some latitude. They might have a range to work with. If so, ask for the highest percentage of the range if you can quantify why you deserve it. That means preparing sound and logical data on your accomplishments, and projecting into the future regarding projects you are capable of completing.

Be Flexible

You might not succeed the first time. It could be that your manager is unaccustomed to a subordinate negotiating the amount of the increase. Alternatively, he might need to get the approval of his boss and might not be willing to do so at this point. If the answer is no, accept it gracefully but leave the door open to further discussion. For example, inquire, given your superior performance, if management would be willing to review your salary in 90 days. That gives you an opportunity to prove yourself in the new position. Employers understand the cost of turnover. They could agree to this because you would be too valuable to lose.


If the thought of negotiating a promotional increase gets your heart pounding and your knees knocking, think of this meeting with your boss as you would an initial interview. In an interviewing situation, you need to sell yourself. The same holds true in a salary negotiation. Practice your presentation. Do a dry run with a respected mentor.

Explore Other Options

Perhaps the internal policies are stringent and your manager has no wiggle room to grant you more than HR allows. If that is the case, suggest sweetening the pot in another manner. Ask if he might be willing to get you a new laptop or some tool that would make you more efficient. Try negotiating for an extra week's vacation or the leeway to telecommute on certain days. Is there a special workshop or seminar you would like to attend? If so, ask for it. Explore the possibility of a year-end bonus based on agreed metrics. You have no chance of receiving a perquisite if you do not ask for it.

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