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How To Ask For A Pay Rise

9 months ago by Rose Hunt

How To Ask For A Pay Rise


From shelling out exorbitant amounts for fuel to paying an extra 50p for our Tesco meal deals, it seems like everything’s costing an arm and a leg these days. With the Bank of England warning that things are only going to get worse, it’s only natural that many people are searching for ways to give their household income a boost. For those of us that don’t have a side hustle on the go, one of the most convenient ways to achieve this is to ask for a pay rise. Nevertheless, asking for more money from an employer is a subject that makes many people feel uncomfortable. In fact, despite money being a primary motivating factor for 62% of UK workers, less than half have ever asked for a pay rise. 

Should I ask for a pay rise?

Whether it’s nerves, embarrassment, or a lack of confidence, many people complain about their wages but do absolutely nothing about it. However, as long as you’re professional in the way you approach the situation, you’ve really nothing to lose. Even if your request is declined, you’ll have succeeded in reminding your boss of your achievements and opening up a dialogue that can be revisited in six or 12 months’ time. However, it pays to arm yourself with the tools to make conversations about salary as stress-free as possible, so here are our top tips. 

1. Do it in person

As awkward as it may be, asking for a pay rise in a one-on-one meeting (or over video call for remote workers) will be much more likely to get you the result you want than sending an email. In fact, research has shown that a face-to-face request is 34 times more successful than a written one, meaning it’s well worth biting the bullet. 

2. List your achievements

If your manager’s going to agree to give you a pay rise, they first need to be convinced that you’re worth the money. Take the time to go through everything you’ve achieved over the past 12 months or so, including projects that have made a measurable difference, or where you’ve exceeded set KPIs. Put this into a format that will make it easy to present and discuss during your conversation, and be prepared to emphasise the effort you’ve put in and the specialist skills each task has required. If you don’t have specific metrics to emphasise the impact you’ve made, think about achievements you can discuss such as boosting team morale or improving organisational strategy. 

3. Know your worth

When negotiating a new salary, it’s helpful to have in mind a figure that’s realistic. Check salary guides in your industry, speak to recruitment consultants, and look at job listings that have similar job titles and responsibilities to yours. If you can demonstrate that your salary falls short, this will certainly help convince your manager that a pay rise is fair and reasonable, provided your performance is up to scratch. The more fact-based you can make the conversation, the better. 

4. Find the right moment

Try to find out whether there’s a particular point in the year that pay rises and promotions are normally given, as this indicates that this may be the time budgets are being finalised. This might be a better time to make your request, as there’s more money in the pot. Conversely, avoid making your request at a time when a business may be feeling the strain financially, such as after losing a key contract or having to make cutbacks. 

5. Think about your delivery

You may well be nervous, but it’s important to appear as confident as possible during the discussion. Be sure to sit up straight, don’t fidget, make eye contact, and speak slowly and deliberately. Try to avoid nervous laughter or gazing around the room, as this will make you seem uncomfortable or insecure about the request. It may help to prepare a few phrases beforehand and practise them, just so you have a script to fall back on if nerves get the better of you. 

6. Be prepared to take on more responsibility 

Not all conversations about salary will result in a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Your boss may be amenable to the idea of a pay increase, but first wants to see you work on a particular skillset or take on additional duties. Additionally, they may suggest a promotion in addition to your pay rise, which may include taking on a leadership role. Either way, you may need to be prepared to take on extra work to get to your goal.

7. Think about the future

Talking about your plans and ideas for how you can contribute to the business’s future success is an ideal way to demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm. By linking your request for a pay rise to what you’re going to deliver and the value you’re going to bring, you’re giving your manager every reason to say yes. You’ll also be providing them with added material to make your case to senior leadership if that’s what’s required. 

What to expect

Your manager is unlikely to say yes to your request straightaway, so you should expect some degree of pushback. Be prepared to argue your case, but ensure you don’t come across as aggressive, as this will only hurt your chances. You should also be prepared to wait at least a week, as your manager will likely need to clear your request with others. If your request is denied, politely ask why, and find out when might be a good time to raise the subject again. Overall, remain professional, and treat the experience as a learning opportunity. 

Ultimately, if you’re disappointed with the answer you receive, it’s important to remember that you have options, and that no one needs to stay in a job that makes them feel overworked and undervalued. Reach out to a trusted recruitment partner for a discussion about the type of role you’re looking for, along with your salary requirements. They’ll be able to work with you to find a new career challenge that ticks all the right boxes.

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