​​​The basics

When you’re thinking about asking for a pay rise you should always prepare a case to justify why you deserve a rise in the first place. By recounting when you have gone above and beyond, your manager is more likely to value your request and give your proposal good consideration.

Also, be mindful about when you’re planning to approach your manager. During a stressful project, or when the business may be underperforming is not advised for obvious reasons. Instead, you could plan to address a pay rise opportunity at a yearly performance review.

Finally, check your worth. A bit of research and a look at our latest Salary Guide can reveal how much other people in your sector, and with your level of experience, are currently being paid. Our guide is based on real data from our candidates and clients, so you can aim for a similar salary that proves your worth.

​Before

In advance of your meeting, it is essential to collate examples of when you went above and beyond what was expected of you. These examples may come in different forms such as, direct feedback from clients, colleagues, or customers, or performance indicators that show how your extra efforts have positively impacted your team or business results. After all, a salary should reflect your value to both.

For further research, you may want to ask your manager or HR team to get visibility of your company’s benchmarks for your role. Usually, every time a new role is created, your business leaders would create a career ladder to help them, and you, understand the pathway in your career. This, supported with our Salary Guide, will give you a realistic expectation of the amount you can aim for.

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Discussing a pay rise

Sound enthusiastic -If your manager is illuminated by your positive energy, they are more likely to reflect a similar energy, and want to investigate your request for you. The way you come across often influences how people respond. So, try to be appreciative of your role and your growth with your company rather than sounding like you’re just there for the money.

Clarify your expectations -Use your research to explain what you’re aiming towards and couple that with how you have reached that conclusion. Be as specific as possible as to when you would like this raise to be in effect. Perhaps after a particular project or your achievements after completing a course.

Justify your reasons -Highlight your high performance, clarify how you think you have developed or where you would like to grow, and how other people find working with you to demonstrate why you deserve to get a pay rise at this particular time.

Discuss a timeline -Remember that a salary increase is rarely down to your manager’s discretion alone. They’ll want to go away with what you provided as justification and meet with others before they respond at all. Therefore, it’s good to discuss a timeline of when they will get back to you while you’re in the meeting. There’s nothing worse than waiting and not knowing what a realistic timeline looks like. Also, your manager probably spins a lot of plates at one time. Agreeing to a timeline means your request is less likely to be forgotten.

​What to do afterwards

If your salary rise is granted

A rise is seen as a reward for doing more than what is asked of you. So, you’ll want to clarify with your manager what this may mean. For example, will you have more responsibilities, or different key performing indicators (KPIs) after your salary rise?

Just because you’ve achieved your rise, doesn’t mean you’ll stop growing in your career. Use this time to refresh yourself on the benchmarks for your role, where your career path could lead and how you may continue to develop for both you and your team.

If your salary rise was denied

Firstly, don’t take it personally. It’s very easy to think you’re not good enough. But it could be down to many reasons, including ones outside of your control. Ensure you understand why this was the case upfront.

While your manager was unable to answer your request right now, it may simply mean you need a longer, more gradual process to achieve what you’re asking for. Although you’ve brilliantly demonstrated what you’ve done, a pay increase might need certain levels of experience. At this point, you can still consider a new timeline for when a pay rise can be discussed again.

Negotiation can be very helpful in understanding how you can grow in the next few months or year to reach your target. Sitting down with your manager to set realistic and achievable goals can reveal exactly what you need to do. And the best thing is that your manager can now work with you to ensure you get the experience and opportunity to reach those benchmarks.

Furthermore, when it comes to the reasons outside of your control, for example, the business is underperforming and there is not as much budget for development at this particular time, you can ask for alternative benefits instead. This might be more annual leave allowance, more autonomy or responsibilities, or a change to your job title.

Asking for a pay rise is never an easy conversation to have, if it was, you would already have had the rise. It’s a great idea to step back and self-review whether you deserve it, however, justification is a must. Remember that your manager has to showcase your findings to others and translate why you need a rise too. Salaries should reflect development, and development takes time. Nevertheless, I hope these pointers ease the conversation and help you feel more prepared – You’ve got this!

View our latest Salary Guide here.