How to Negotiate a Pay Rise


WOB Executive Director, Claire Braund talks to Ruta Asimus, former HR Director at IBM and leadership coach extraordinaire.

Ruta said that in all her 14 years at IBM, no one woman come to her and said, "I think I'm being underpaid, or can you tell me more about how I'm positioned in the pay scale".  But the men did."

Ruta outlins the key imperatives to consider to get a pay rise and the things that people do wrong.

She says there’s key things in the negotiation that you need to do and consider:

  1. You need to know what you’re worth in the marketplace.  Do your homework.
  2. Know whether you are paid fairly within your organisation. 
If either of those comes out at the wrong end you should go and ask for a pay raise -  you’ll know the process in terms of the times of year that this ican be done. 

The Negotiation

Ruta  says it’s important to make sure that they understand you know that you’re being underpaid.  And when you are having the negotiation say "OH".

Ruta says “It doesn’t matter if you’re delighted with the amount they do or do not give.  Just say OH….. and then be silent. Because the next person that speaks loses.”

So many people over speak in pay negotiations. Because "OH" of course can mean so many things.

Ruta shares the story of how she went for a job in Hong Kong that was paying 25% more than she was earning at the time.  She practiced her OHs and ended up with another 15% on top of that.

Ruta stresses that the most important things is to know your worth. The most common mistake that women make is that they assume they’re working for a good organisation that will look after them trea them fairly. 

She says “Don’t assume that…because the squeaky wheel does get more attention. If they think you know your worth more than you’re being underpaid, you’re going to get more attention”.


Ruta is a certified executive coach with extensive change management, process reengineering and international human resources experience at the senior level. She spent 13 years with IBM where she led and participated in many human resource best practises and also spent many years in the financial services sector.

Ruta offer coaching across many topics. Examples are: change management, improving sales, leadership development, career development and work life balance. Through team coaching she measures and build high performance teams. 

Ruta on LinkedIn