Career Tips: How to ask for a pay rise?

Career Tips, How to ask for a payrise

It’s a subject many of us find difficult to talk about and certainly not openly. Some employers’ actually ban you from discussing it with colleagues. This can even be written into your contract.

But with the recent ongoing debate around the gender gap, this does seem to be changing a little as companies are having to become more transparent. Despite this, it doesn’t make it any easier to broach the subject of salary and asking your boss for a pay rise.

Reasons you might be due a pay rise

There are few reasons you might find yourself in this situation, a few examples are below:

  • You’ve been in your job for over a year, and haven’t had a pay rise
  • You’ve taken on more responsibilities over a long period of time; but haven’t been rewarded financially
  • Other staff members have joined and you have an inkling they are on a higher salary
  • You’ve got wind that your colleagues (male or female) are doing the same job as you, but are earning more
  • Your annual review may be overdue, or perhaps your salary wasn’t discussed at your last one. It’s standard practice in the UK for businesses to increase wages annually, but it’s not compulsory.

If you’re using your skills and feel suitably challenged in your role; you’ve got a great team environment and good working relationships, there’s no reason you should want to leave.

Despite all this, you’re starting to feel like your salary needs bumping up, so how to ask for a pay rise?

When everything else is going well with work, it’s a shame to let your salary or lack of, start to taint it. So don’t delay, if this has been an issue you’ve had on your mind for a while, then it’s time to bite the bullet.

So, How do you ask for a pay rise?

  • Treat it like any work project – i.e you need to state a business case for yourself and what you bring to the business
  • Write down all of your responsibilities
  • Compare this with your job description
    • Write down all of your key achievements
    • Highlight projects you’ve successfully delivered
    • Recap the new initiatives you’ve brought to the team/company;
    • Remind them of the money you’ve saved or made
    • List the targets you’ve hit or exceeded etc.
  • Dig out your performance reviews to support your request
    • Try to put yourself in your boss’ shoes – why do you deserve a pay rise?
    • Highlight how you’ve exceeded targets and expectations
  • Research other job roles and find out what the salary is for your role elsewhere, and in the same industry. Look on the usual job boards for comparisons, remember to look in your region as salaries do vary significantly depending on geography.
  • There are industry specific resources available too, for example Marketing Week often do salary surveys, so you can benchmark yours against it.

    Once you’ve established what your target salary is, stick to this figure, be brave and ask for it. You’ve done your research on what similar roles pay, so you can back up your case.

Useful salary checker tools: Glassdoors, totaljobs salary checker.

So, How to ask for a pay rise?
Here are a couple of pointers to remember:

  • If you’re confident in your abilities, and work, then make sure you’re confident in your request
  • Be confident – but not arrogant. Tread carefully.
  • Be realistic – Don’t ask for too much
  • Be ready to negotiate
  • Get your timing right

You should be able to gage when your boss is likely to be more receptive to such a conversation, don’t just spring it on them. It might be best to mention it face to face, and ask when would be good to have a chat about it? This means you don’t catch them on the hop.

Total Jobs have come up with the best and worst times to raise the subject:

Best times to ask for a pay rise:

After the completion of a successful project you were involved in.
When your employer announces positive financial results.
Your contract is ending, and the company wants to renew it.
Your manager asks you to take on more responsibility.
A comparatively quiet time in your boss’s schedule.

Worst times to ask for a pay rise:

Following poor financial results, or the loss of a major contract.
After the company has announced a pay or recruitment freeze.
Monday morning or a particularly busy time in the quarter.
Friday afternoon, when your boss is thinking about the weekend.

Source: Total jobs

Final Note

It’s important to get your facts right.
Remember the salary you started on and the reasons you feel justified in your request… make notes so you don’t forget.

Related Dovetail Articles:

Career Skills: Commercial Awareness
Top Tips: How to Stay Focused
The Art of Multi Tasking


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