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How to ask for a pay rise (and actually get it)

How to ask for a pay rise (and actually get it)

By: Diana Bocco | 5th June 2020

Getting ready to ask for a pay rise can feel daunting and awkward but it’s also an important part of career growth. If you feel you’ve outgrown your current salary, it’s time to speak up.

It happens to the best of us: over weeks and months, new tasks and responsibilities get added to our original job descriptions without our monthly salary growing with them. But how exactly do you approach management about a pay increase to ensure a positive result?

We have some tips to help you increase your chances of actually getting that pay rise.

1. Make a list of your accomplishments

If you feel it’s time to ask for a pay rise, it’s best make sure you have a clear picture of why you should get it. Before you even think about a meeting, write down a simple list of what you’ve achieved over the past few months. Then look at how these things are bringing value to the company.

The goal is to remind your boss you are valuable, so phrase the accomplishments to highlight that. For example, if you completed some special training in the past few months, add to your list what new skills this will bring into the company.

It’s also OK to talk about your performance, deals you agreed, and even numbers and finances, if that’s something you handled. You should also mention anything extra you’ve done that goes beyond your original job description. For example, if you’ve taken on additional projects or responsibilities, make sure you mention that as well.

End the list with some ideas or plans for the future. This makes you sound involved and ready to keep working hard.

2. Have a number in mind

According to the Office for National Statistics, the average pay increase for UK workers was 3.4% in 2019. If you don’t have any other numbers in mind, at least figure out how much 3.4% of your salary is and keep that as the bottom number you’ll take.

It’s also wise to look up salary surveys such as the ones published by Glassdoor to compare pay in your industry. This will give you a clear idea of whether you’re being underpaid. While numbers will vary depending on local market conditions, this can give you a range to work with.

After doing your homework, pick a number that’s ambitious but reasonable. Too little will feel disappointing but too high could make you look a little presumptuous.

3. Ask for a meeting in advance

Whatever you do, don’t ask for a pay rise in writing. Sending your boss an email asking for more money is not only impersonal, but it gives you very little chance to actually discuss why you deserve it. It’s also a lot easier for your boss or manager to say no if you’re not there in person to fight for your pay rise.

No matter how tempting, you also should not ambush your boss with the request. Instead, set up a meeting and warn your supervisor or manager that you want to discuss compensation. This will also give them a chance to talk to HR or do their own research. Otherwise, you might just receive an “I’ll look into it later” response at the meeting.

4. Pick the right time

Thought you might never find the perfect time to ask for a pay rise, some times are better than others. If your company has annual performance reviews for the employees, use the meeting to discuss your salary.

If you just completed a special project or you are asked to take on additional responsibilities, these are also good times to discuss a pay rise. On the other hand, picking a week or month when the company is going through a difficult time is a big no-no.  

5. Be ready for a negotiation

Pay rises are never guaranteed, and even the best employees sometimes get a no. While not ideal, a good way to deal with a no is to have a response prepared for a counter offer. If you can’t get the 10 per cent pay rise you really want, it could be a good compromise to accept a 6 per cent rise with a few extra benefits thrown in. For example, see if the company would be willing to pay for career development certifications or offer you more flexible hours. Your company might also be open to offering a public transport allowance or other perks that would save you money.

If you’re more interested in money, you could negotiate performance-related bonuses. This would get you a smaller increase in your salary with a chance to receive larger bonuses monthly or quarterly. 


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