How to Ask for a Pay Rise

Two employees having a meeting in a private meeting room

Money isn’t the be all, end all of your job. But if you don’t think your efforts match your salary, it might be time to take matters into your own hands. We’ll show you how to properly go about it…

Not all businesses schedule in performance and pay reviews. And when they know they’re stuck in their pay grade, employees can feel unmotivated and unappreciated. And although everyone would like more money, there’s a big difference between wanting a pay rise and deserving a pay rise. If you fall into the second category, then you may be thinking about approaching your manager to ask them for one.

So, how do you go about this? After all, money is always a bit of a sore subject. Luckily, there’s a right way of approaching the issue. Along with knowing the signs of when you should ask for a pay rise, we’ll show you how to make your case as strong as possible before you set up a meeting with them.

How to know when to ask for a pay rise

Unsure if you deserve a raise? If any of the below sound familiar, then it might be time to approach your manager about asking for more money.

  • You’re earning less than others in your role

Knowing you’re making less money for doing the same job can be particularly galling, whatever your role is. If you suspect you might be, it’s time to investigate.

Your first option is speaking to colleagues doing similar jobs. This can be an uncomfortable topic and not everyone will want to divulge their salary. But by taking into account their experience, seniority and how long they’ve spent at their company, you can be more delicate in asking them.

You can also check online salary calculators to compare your salary to similar roles within your industry. You can fine tune your search by filtering things like location and education level too for more accurate results.

  • You’ve seen other jobs offering more

Heading to job sites is another good barometer of what your job is worth. If you see that you’re earning less across the rest of the industry, then it’s clear that your talents and skill set are in high demand. This could mean that salary compression is in play at your company. This is what happens to people’s salaries when they’re in the same job and their annual increases are limited by policies determining that salaries are only to increase by a few percentage points.

  • You’ve added value to the company

Simply doing your job won’t be grounds for pay rise – that’s what your current salary is for. But if you’re always going the extra mile, taking on extra tasks without issue and your contributions have created real, noticeable value, then any quantifiable successes that have come as a result of your efforts are going to be hard to argue with.

  • Your responsibilities have increased

Gaining more responsibilities is a clear sign that you’re progressing. But if the extra workload comes without any financial reward, then surely something’s wrong. Take a look at your job description and consider what’s being asked of you that you weren’t before. Additionally, if you picked up the slack left by departing colleagues, then that means your employer is saving money on salaries – and some of that should probably be going to you.

How to approach the subject and set up a meeting

With your research to hand, you’re now in a better position to ask for a raise. But again, this is a delicate subject.

You stand a better chance of making a more successful case if you time it right. Keep the below factors in mind before you arrange a meeting with your manager.

The business’ financial health: If your business is struggling right now, then it’s probably not going to cater to your request. But if it’s hiring new employees, getting more and more business and is clearly growing, then it’s definitely in the black.

Their workload: A manager with an overstocked schedule is going to be busy putting their focus elsewhere. There’s a good chance they might be too stressed to hear you out. Wait for until they have a more manageable workload on their plate.

The time of year: What month you’re at in the year can play a part too. If your workplace has regular employee reviews, then that would, naturally, be a good time to discuss a pay rise. Likewise, the start of a new financial year.

Your own workload: When you’re knee deep in a big project, then try waiting until after everything’s completed – maybe even after you’ve seen the results of your project – before you ask.

Once you’ve identified the ideal time to set up a meeting, the next thing to do is, of course, set up the meeting itself. Instead of directly requesting to talk about your salary, try approaching them to discuss your performance. Some managers would probably rather avoid financial discussions. Make sure to schedule in enough time to properly discuss things and talk about your proposal to its full extent – half an hour should be enough.

How and what to prepare for the meeting

Your proposal should be convincing, watertight and full of concrete evidence. The better you prepare for it, the better your chances of successfully getting that sought after pay rise. Along with researching other salaries, here’s what else you can do…

  • Conduct your own performance review

A bit of self-analysis can be a great way of evaluating your performance and progression since your last review. How has your role evolved? Have you taken on more responsibilities? Did you meet – or even exceed – the goals that were set for you? When looking at the value you created, how much of it is measurable? Solid facts and figures will stand your argument in good stead.

  • List your highlights

Following on from the last point, a log of your accomplishments provides you with some quick hits to strengthen your case with. Whether you implemented a process that saved the company time or money, brought new leads to your business, or increased its exposure online, keep your greatest hits in mind when it’s time to talk.

  • Prepare a script (and practice it)

Planning what you want to say beforehand keeps those confidence levels high and ensures you can stay on topic during your meeting. Whether you write a few bullet points you can expand on or a fully-fledged with complete sentences is entirely up to you, of course, but either approach will help to anchor what you want to say.

Focus on these three parts:

The introduction: Let your manager know why you’ve called the meeting.

The body of your speech: Detail the pay rise you expect to get, explain how you reached this figure and then go into why you feel you deserve a pay rise.

The conclusion: Summarise your strengths once again, mention your preferred pay and leave time for your manager to comment.

The content of your script, and the discussion itself, should focus on the professional side of things. What you don’t what to do is let your emotions boil over in the heat of the moment. Keep your tone of voice and body language calm and composed; you don’t want to convey a sense of frustration or anxiety when discussing things. Maintaining composure, on the hand, gives your argument a far stronger chance at convincing your manager you deserve that sought-after pay rise.

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