6 tips to help you get a pay rise

By Sally Freeman

The very thought of asking your boss for a pay rise seems like a very daunting prospect – but it can be done if you know how. You shouldn’t sit back and accept a salary that you don’t believe in, and if you think you deserve more then you should ask.

Consulting with your boss needs to be at the right time and in the right manner. You have to remain professional throughout if you want to succeed in getting a higher salary. Here are 6 tips to help you get that pay rise.

1. Do your research

Before you even consider asking your boss for a salary increase you should do your research. It’s important you fully appreciate what the average wage for your role is, as well as taking into consideration those around you.

Ask yourself – ‘Why do I want a pay rise?’

Is it because you are aware that others around you do the same job but earn more? Has somebody said something to you at the office that makes you believe you are underpaid? Or have you researched other company’s or seen job adverts for the same position with a higher salary?

Make sure you come to the correct conclusion by researching as many forums as possible. You may just find that you are paid well for your job and that your current pay scale is above the average. Or, you may find that it’s below expectations which means you could be in a good position to ask for more. In any case, always do as much research as possible so you can justify your actions.

2. Arrange a meeting

You should always speak with your manager in person about important matters like this. Via email or over the phone wouldn’t have as much success when compared to a face to face meeting. You want your boss to take you seriously and have the opportunity to debate and discuss. Via email would be too difficult as it would take too long to communicate back and forth. Over the phone can be a little to impersonal and informal which is not what you want. This should be a friendly but professional meeting whereby you can both discuss the pros and the cons of your request.

A face to face meeting is the perfect forum to ask for a pay rise, so arrange a meeting with your boss. We would however recommend arranging a meeting via email, as this is a good way to agree a date and time and have it in writing.

3. Ask at the appropriate time

When you send your boss an email to request a meeting, make sure you agree a day which would be suitable for them. For instance, if you choose the end of the month when they have to submit and check a million reports and they have steam coming out of their ears, this clearly would be a bad time.

So try to consider when the best time to approach them would be. The meeting has to be at the perfect time because you want them to be at their least stressed and their most happiest. Although you would like to think your boss could make a calculated and correct decision at any time of the day, they are only human after all. Asking for a pay rise can be a very delicate subject, so you need to ask at the right time if you want the result to go in your favour.

4. Don’t be greedy

The worst thing you can do when asking for a salary increase is to ask for too much. Inflating the figure to start some kind of negotiation will usually backfire and result in no increase at all. If you want your boss to take you seriously you have to be professional and propose a sensible amount.

The amount you propose can only be calculated through your research as detailed in our first point. If you try to guess an amount and have no justification, then how is your boss meant to take it seriously. There first thought could be to either decline your request or to ask you how you came up with the figure. If you can justify the pay increase with cold hard facts because you’ve done your research, then you obviously stand a much better chance.

5. Justify a pay increase

The justification of your pay increase is the key to making it happen. Not only should you look for justification through research of average wages or what your colleagues are earning, but through your own skills and achievements. Here are a few examples of why you may deserve a pay increase:

  • Recently taken on more responsibility
  • Worked for the company for many years
  • Commitment, dedication and loyalty
  • Gained a new qualification
  • Achieved outstanding results
  • Work many hours extra without pay
  • You want a promotion
  • You train and support new employees

Make sure you go into the meeting with a clear focus on why you deserve the pay rise. The manager could still say no, but at least you are giving them as little reason as possible to decline. They will likely have budgets that they have to stick to, and could have been told from their boss that all pay rises are declined for the time being. However, they may be able to still push something through for you, or even consider a different role to get you what you deserve.

The worst thing that can happen is they say no, but if you’ve asked in a professional manner and gave some perfectly good reasons then your boss could offer you something in the future. They are now aware that you are unhappy with your wage and could keep an eye on your progression. A promotion could just be around the corner and you could now be the first in line.

6. Practice and prepare

Before you enter the meeting you should consider practicing. We’ve already covered how important it is to do some research and prepare in advance your reasons, and the final thing to do is consider how you will ask. The words and your tone are very important, as you want to be taken seriously but you don’t want to be aggressive. It has to come across confident and assertive, but friendly and respectful.

Create a little script and rehearse how you’re going to ask. You could also sit in front of a mirror or record yourself to see how it comes across. Would you give yourself a pay rise?

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