How to get a pay rise

by | 04.11.21

You’re under-appreciated, overworked, worth your weight  gold, but paid like a pauper. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to ask for a pay rise. Now barging into your boss’s office and demanding more money is unlikely to be the best approach, but there are some things you can do to encourage your boss to see things your way. Here are some ideas on how to go about it.


Know your value

Do the proper research to establish what you’re worth. Look at job adverts for positions which are similar to what you are doing and in the geographical area you are working in. Also, if you can, find out what your colleagues are earning. Get a feel for what you could be worth if you chose to move on.


Ask yourself why you deserve a rise

You are unlikely to convince anyone you;’re worth more unless you can find concrete arguments to back up your request. Make sure you can justify asking for more money. The easiest way of doing this is to show your boss you’ve gone beyond the call of duty by taking on extra work and responsibilities then you stand a much better chance of winning him/her over and getting that increase.

Know what your asking for

You have done you research now you can figure out what you think is a fair amount of money to ask for. Have a number in your head before you ask for a pay rise. Make sure that figure is reasonable. The average pay increase nationally is 4% use this as your guideline. We see people wanting 20% which frankly is ridiculous.


Put pen to paper

Before meeting with your boss it might be a good idea to provide a written copy of you case in advance. A written document will give you a clear idea of your arguments, which your boss could then rise to plead your case with senior management. You need to look at it from your boss’s point of view. They must justify giving you extra money to their superiors. So if you give them something in writing they can refer to this is a definite plus.



Don’t ambush your boss

No employer is going to take kindly to being put on the spot, so make sure your boss has plenty of warning of your intention. Request a performance review and make it clear you want to talk about pay.


Think about timing

Picking the right time to speak to your boss is crucial. First thing on Monday or late on a Friday are definite no-goes. Wednesday is a good day as most employers are likely to be receptive to a pay request mid week , but think about the rhythms of your workplace before you make your choice. Try to schedule a meeting at a time when you know your boss will not be too busy and will have the time to give your suggestion their full attention.


Be aware of what is going on in your company

It is important to keep in mind wider trends at your company. If your firm has recently made job cuts or made people redundant perhaps you ought to think twice. However if company profits have gone through the roof, maybe now is the time to get your request in. It is also a good tactic to arrange your meeting well in advance of budgeting so your boss factors it in.

Be realistic

Demanding your salary be doubled is unlikely to get you anywhere other than through the exit door. Bear in mind the research you have done into comparable salaries in other organisations and the fact that your boss does not have to agree to giving you anymore money at all. If you want your request to be taken seriously you need to pitch it right. For your information the national average increase is 4.5%.


Learn the art of negotiation

The key to negotiating is confidence. Be sure of your arguments , present your case clearly and successfully and most of all don’t be afraid of failure. As long as you are polite and reasonable you have nothing to fear. If you handle it gracefully and make your case well you won’t be left in an awkward position if your boss has to refuse your request.





Start on a positive note

Kick off the conversation with something like “ I really enjoy working here and find my job really challenging. In the last year I feel that I have improved in my role and my responsibilities and contribution have risen so therefore I would like to discuss with you the possibility of maybe having my salary reviewed”. It’s a good positive start to what could be a difficult conversation.


What if your Company aren’t giving pay increases?

Sometimes an employer will state clearly that they are not giving pay increases at this particular time. This should not stop you from asking for one if you believe you deserve it. Make a case for why you should be the exception to this policy, to do this you will need to focus on the results you have achieved for the Company.


State you case and pause

Listen to what your boss has to say. Give it the best case you can for why you should get a raise then listen. Never use idle threats or mislead your employer to think you have been offered more by another Company. Make your case based on your research and the results of your work. The worst they can say is no.


Have a back-up plan

Just because your boss has turned down a pay increase doesn’t mean you can’t ask for non-financial benefits as an alternative. Think about what you might accept instead. Extra holidays, a car-allowance or increased training and development for example.


Keep smiling

It is imperative if your boss turns you down you don’t resort to tears or throw a tantrum. It’s definitely a bad idea to make threats or issue ultimatums as you might miss out on subsequent opportunities. When you have time to think clearly about your option, you may decide the only way to achieve career progression and a pay rise is to move jobs – in that situation you may need a reference from your boss so it is well work keeping him or her on your side.


Work harder

It might sound like a no-brainer but if you are racking your brain and the only good reason you can come up with for why you deserve a pay rise is that you’d really like one then you should probably put the idea on hold. Instead it might be time to knuckle down to some old fashioned graft, or take on more responsibility around the workplace. That way in six months or a year’s time you can go to your boss with a more legitimate case.


Now finally obviously most companies today are not looking for opportunities to hand out money, they have gone through and are still going through the pandemic and have experienced lockdown. All employers have been affected during the last 18 months by Covid-19, some more than others so money is tight. However in order to bounce back employers realise that they need to retain talent so this does give you a certain amount of leverage. Good luck, remember if you don’t ask you don’t get.


Angela Burton