How to ask for a pay rise

Posted in Personal development.

For the past few years, we’ve seen many instances where consumer prices have increased much more rapidly than the average salary. Unsurprisingly, this has left some of us concerned about future financial stability, and questioning how we can be sure we’re supporting ourselves as best as we can.

An obvious solution is, of course, a pay rise. However, research shows that many of us are too embarrassed to sit down with our employer and talk money. This guide aims to throw all your concerns out of the window, covering when, why, and how to ask for a raise for the best chances of success.

Step 1: Getting Started

Before you even think about talking to your employer, the very first step is asking yourself if you SHOULD ask for a pay rise or not. After all, if you’re not sure you deserve it, why would your employer be sure? It’s important to take some time to reflect on your role within the workplace, being confident that your current salary does not match your responsibilities and performance. If you’re sure, move on to step 2.

Step 2: Timing

Asking for a pay rise isn’t something that should be done in the heat of the moment; it should be planned, prepared for, and scheduled to take place at a suitable time for both you and your employer.

Consider asking…

  • Following a successful performance review which highlights your achievements
  • Upon completion of a major project in which you have been a key player
  • If significant changes have been made to your responsibilities, hours, or day-to-day tasks
  • At the end of the financial/calendar year when your employer reflects upon achievements

Step 3: Asking

Asking for a pay rise may not be easy. However, you can make the situation much more comfortable for both yourself and your employer by preparing for the meeting, and being ready for any scenario.

Here are some things to keep in mind when asking:

  • Schedule a meeting to ensure that your employer has the time to consider your proposal
  • Come prepared with a record of your achievements to present a strong case
  • Sell yourself; focus on both your professional skills and your ‘soft’ skills in the workplace
  • Be prepared to take on greater responsibility if your employer asks this of you
  • Do your research, and take a look at what your competitors are offering for similar positions
  • In terms of what to ask for, try to find a happy medium between desirability and realism; aim high, but make your proposed figure a realistic one. This will vary by industry, experience, and financial status.

Step 4: Handling Rejection

Ideally, your employer will approve your request for a pay rise. However, it’s important to remember that as it is probably stated in your contract of employment, there are no guarantees. If you are turned down, be sure to ask why, as feedback in this instance can be hugely beneficial. Also be sure to ask if there are alternative benefits available, such as flexible working, a car, or increased pension contributions.