How to ask your boss for a pay rise

10 February 2020

By Sarah Knight

How to ask your boss for a pay rise

Is it time you asked your boss for a pay rise? Here's our thoughts on how to approach it!

It would be very easy to leave a job you enjoy because you feel you aren’t being paid enough. But it’s worth giving your existing employer an opportunity to keep you before you look for another job?

Plan what you’re going to say, stay calm and stand your ground! Here are our tips on how to approach asking for an increase.

Preparation

Before you approach your employer there are a number of things you need to do first to ensure that the meeting goes smoothly and you get the outcome you’re looking for

  • Do some research into what people in similar roles to you are being paid. This could mean asking co-workers but is more likely to involve some internet research. Find jobs being advertised in the local area with similar responsibilities and create a file with your evidence of the ‘going rate’. Naturally you only want to highlight roles being advertised at the desirable salary, or higher

  • Pre-empt what your boss’s objections might be and consider your response. These could be to do with your performance, the company performance or company standards (i.e. annual pay rises are awarded in April.). Practise your answers as to why a rise should be considered given those factors

  • How much do you want and what will you accept? Consider what your minimum salary increase would be, aim a little higher on the basis that your employer may try to negotiate you down.

Timing

You need to time the conversation to ensure maximum chance of success. Would it be better to talk to your boss at the end of the month/quarter or year when there is a clearer idea of your and the company’s performance and profits? Schedule a ‘proper’ meeting for a time of the day/week where you can talk in private and won’t be interrupted.

The approach

  • Be calm, clear, courteous and professional

  • Take a deep breath

  • State clearly the reasons you want a rise and why you feel you deserve one. Make sure that your reasons are related to your commitment, performance and your value to the company.

  • Steer clear of any emotional or non-work related reasons (I’ve moved house and my travel is now more expensive, I’ve been here for a year now and I feel I should have a more money, or I need to buy a new house). They are invalid when it comes to salary negotiations. You need concrete reasons why the company should be paying you more!

Evidence

Provide evidence of why you should get a pay rise. This should include your research (if relevant) into similar jobs, and what they pay, in the local area, testimonials from customers, league tables showing your excellent performance, paperwork from your 1-2-1’s, new relevant qualifications you have gained or such like.

Listen

Listen to, and understand, the response. There are likely to be 3 outcomes.

  1. You’ll be given a rise – if this is the case, congratulations!

  2. Your employer will want to consider all you’ve said and will get back to you, so you’ll have to sit tight. Agree a timeframe for when you’ll get an answer.

  3. Your request for a pay rise will be rejected. If this is the case, find out why and then agree some action that you can take, or some goals/targets to hit, and agree a date for this to be reviewed. At this stage you can them either decide to work towards the agreed targets or if you feel the decision was unfair and you’re feeling undervalued you can choice to look for another, better paid, job.

Follow up

Follow up with an email to thank your boss for meeting with you and summarise what has been agreed, including any action to be taken by either party.

Our job and salary are closely linked to our self esteem and feelings of satisfaction. Feeling undervalued can have an impact on performance at work as well as the knock on effect into our greater lives. Make sure you’re happy at work, whether your issues are with salary, conditions, support or anything else you’re better to address them rather than accept them.

If you aren’t happy in your current job you can browse our current vacancies or you can call us on 01392 873813.

There are lots of salary checking tools – here’s Total Jobs’ to get you started.

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