Nevertheless, a study conducted by ADP in November 2018 indicates that, of all the possible reasons for going to work every day, “meeting your needs” is the first reason for 51% of respondents. In other words: ensuring that you have the money to meet your needs.

One of the main concerns which suffers from a poor popularity rating among French employees: 55% say they are not satisfied with their salary. More than the Germans (51%) or the Dutch (44%), but slightly less than the British, who are 70% dissatisfied.

So, how much should the French salary increase by to ensure that this proportion of dissatisfaction reduces significantly? According to a survey conducted by Ifop in April 2019, and published on, as part of a sociological analysis of the yellow vest crisis, an average increase of €512 would be required.

However, like all averages, this figure encompasses a range of disparities. It is impossible to draw a parallel between a minimum wage employee earning €512 more at the end of the month and an employee earning more than €3,000 (14% of the French salaried population). While the increase would be around 50% for the former, for the employee earning €3,000, it would only represent 17%.

However, they both agree on one thing: they want to earn more. And to do so, there is one inevitable step that must be planned and executed to perfection: renegotiating your salary.

Renegotiating your salary

How these discussions take place may vary, but the things to be planned in advance remain more or less the same. Here is a checklist that you should use before you put a spanner in the works, which will inevitably have consequences. Whether you are satisfied or frustrated, there will be a before and an after.

Choosing the right time

Your desire for better pay remains constant. This is one of its greatest strengths: all year round you want to be paid better. Unfortunately for you, the company keeps a different schedule, and it’s important to know that in order to plan your line of attack. Budgets are usually decided upon only once a year, and this is when your bosses will decide on who will be the lucky ones. Identify this period and prepare the groundwork.

But don’t be shy about blowing your own trumpet throughout the year. Wars are won by accumulating small victories.

Organise your offensive

Going to the front line without a flight plan is one great way to fail in your negotiations. That’s obviously not the goal, because you have big plans for those extra few pennies every month. In theory, they will be carefully put aside to “build up savings”. In practice, they will be absorbed in “oh it’s okay, we can enjoy ourselves from time to time!”  on a more regular basis.

List your successes in the past year on a sheet of paper. Your involvement and insight might have made it possible to overcome problems that were inextricable until now, or perhaps your work has simply been carried out smoothly, with clarity and no hiccups. That’s a good start.

You yourself feel that you are not the same person since you began in this job. You have come a long way and your better understanding of internal issues, processes and the sector in which you operate suggest you will be even more effective next year. Surely that deserves a bit of a pay hike?

Preparing also means preparing for attacks. Be clear-headed and list what your boss could blame you for. Being prepared means preparing some turns of phrase to counter the offensive (we’ll continue to use the lexicon of war, because, yes, you are fighting a mini war, in the name of a brighter future!).

Finally, take a quick look at the forces involved: budgets are often decided for a team. There can therefore only be a limited number of victors. Review other team members and anticipate requests for increases to promote the idea that yours is more justified.

Know your value

You’re going to ask to be paid more. You know it, you feel it, you’re going to do it! All right, but how much are you going to ask for?

It is generally appropriate to ask for an additional month’s salary, which corresponds to about a ten percent increase.

Break a sweat

Since this is a two-way conversation, your interlocutor must also have an opinion. It may not be pleasant, but that’s how it works.

Ask for feedback, possible ways forward, ways to improve collaboration or avenues that you hadn’t imagined because they were outside what you thought was the scope of your job. Negotiating means comparing visions, and it is often pleasant to note that your manager’s vision is to make you evolve, sometimes much further than you had imagined. Of course, it’s unavoidable that, reproaches or remarks will be made about the way you work. But, armed with the list of possible attacks (see point 2) that you have prepared, you will be well-equipped to answer them.

Fully immerse yourself in the company’s future

Be careful not to attempt negotiation like you may have seen in films. Forget about threats like ‘”it’s either that or you’re going to have to find someone else to do the job ...”, “I’ll stick to being a jobsworth and won’t do a single thing more” or “I do the work of two people on the salary of one.” Even if you think you are right, politically it is not a useful tactic. Don’t forget, no one is irreplaceable. It’s hard to admit at first, but unfortunately that’s life. Even the great Zinédine Zidane found successors …

Acting otherwise is likely to lead to misunderstandings with your boss and you can be sure that your pay rise won’t be granted.

Plan ahead, show them that you are committed. You plan on being in this job for many years, you have ongoing projects that you want to complete because they will open up other projects in the company. This is the attitude to adopt, so that, rather than being a reward, a pay rise is an additional guarantee to your manager that they won’t lose a key part of their staff.

You are now ready to clinch that deal. Preparation and anticipation will, as is often the case, be your best allies!