How to Ask for a Pay Rise

You may need to ask for a pay rise because living expenses have increased or may simply feel that your efforts are worth more than your current pay level. Once you have been working for your employer for some time, you will be in a stronger position to negotiate the amount that you are paid, though this will still be a delicate undertaking.

The majority of employers will be pleased to hear requests from good employees and will fairly consider the request in order to keep good staff. What’s more, recruiting to replace an employee and finding a worker who is sufficiently trained is costly and so many employers will prefer to hold on to the staff they have wherever possible.

The following guide offers advice to employees who want to ask their employer for a pay rise, including when to ask, how to ask and what reasoning you should offer.

When is the best time to ask my boss for a pay rise?

You are entitled to ask your employer for a pay rise at any time, but there are times that will be preferential to your boss and times that are more likely to yield a positive result. Many employees will wait for a professional moment to make their request, such as a performance review. This might be the ideal time as your boss will highlight your achievements and value to the company.

Alternatively, you may opt for making your request at the end of the company’s financial year. At this stage, the business will review their annual performance and will be in a strong position to quickly determine whether you have performed well enough to warrant a rise and whether to the company is financially strong enough to meet your request.

It is generally considered inappropriate for an employee to ask for a pay rise more than once a year, whether a request is successful or not. An annual request is generally considered to be acceptable and allows both the employer and member of staff enough time to evaluate the performance of the employee and business as a whole. Because it is not wise to request a pay rise regularly, you really need to make the most of opportunities as and when they arise.

How should I request a pay rise?

Requesting a pay rise can be an awkward occasion and you may feel embarrassed or shy about making the request. The key to asking confidently is preparation and to be self assured about your reasoning.

1. Prepare to make the request

When you ask your boss for a pay rise, you will need to spend around half an hour sat down with them face to face. You will want this to be a meeting just between the two of you and so be sure to request that your boss books the meeting and expects the conversation.

If you have a target based role, be sure to prepare your past few months’ performance results to take with you to the meeting. It is also wise to arrange your meeting for the beginning of the month as there will be less pressure on you and the company and your boss is less likely to be distracted.

Research your market value by reviewing what your competitors pay their staff and gathering any information about vacancies in your area that meet your skills and experience level. This information will help you present your case more confidently and will help your boss to recognise your worth. Knowing that you might be able to enter a higher paid position with a competitor is likely to make your boss uneasy and make them want to meet your request in order to keep you.

Try to keep the conversation as light as possible and acknowledge any nerves or awkwardness in order to relieve the tension. Mention your achievements, results and qualifications and also spend some time highlighting your soft skills.

This might mean that you demonstrate your position within the team, you discuss your promptness, training abilities or customer feedback. Give your boss every reason to see your worth and picture your value in monetary and professional terms.

2. Give your Reasoning and Present your Case

You will want to back up your request by explaining your reasons for asking your boss. This might be that you simply feel that you are not paid enough in comparison to competitors or that you have not had a rise in a long time.

Alternatively, you may have found that living costs have increased beyond what your current salary could manage or that you have a new or additional expense that you need to meet.

Be sure of why you are asking for a pay rise and clearly and slowly explain your motives to your boss. Be honest and be confident as your boss will recognise this and will appreciate your openness. Be sure about what your goal is, why you want to achieve it and what you will do if the result isn’t favourable. That’s not to say that you should threaten resignation to your boss, but if you need a pay rise and it’s not forthcoming, you must also be prepared for tackling this outcome as it’s likely that your boss will ask.

3. Consider what Figure to Request

When you request a pay rise, you will need to be sure of what amount you are requesting. Be realistic with your request and try to base the figure on market rates, your performance level and the success of the company.

Some people would advise asking for more than you need as this allows room for further negotiation. However, be careful in taking this approach as you may want to request a sum based on your needs and approach things honestly.

Be aware that your boss is likely to have a sound understanding of your value, both within the business and within the wider market. If you ask for too much, you could undermine your whole request and lose your boss’ respect.

It is not likely that you will receive an immediate answer from your boss as they will probably need to review your request and discuss it with the management team. Be sure that you have been realistic and fair in your request as this will reside with your boss who will inevitably try to respond in the same way.

Don’t forget that remuneration for work is not exclusively pay and if your employer is not able to offer a pay rise, you could ask for additional benefits instead. Consider requesting extra annual leave, a company car, discount on employer products or an increase in pension contributions. Your flexibility is likely to be appreciated by your employer and if you are a good worker who is valued, they will likely work hard to retain you.