A common question we get asked is how to ask for a pay rise.
Increasing your salary can be as simple as organising a meeting with your manager and presenting your case on why you feel that you deserve a salary increase.
That said, it’s something that you should plan and do in the right way, as you’ll likely only have a single opportunity to state your case.
In this article, we explore why you should ask for a pay rise, how to ask for a pay rise and how you can approach the topic with your manager or supervisor.
Why is knowing how to ask for a pay rise important?
If you’ve found that you’re exceeding expectations at work, it may be time to consider asking for a pay rise.
There are a number of reasons you may use to support your claim including:
- Your role has expanded to include new responsibilities
- You have completed your training and now have a new skill set
- You have experienced success in a larger project
- Your experience has increased exponentially since your last pay review
- The industry average has changed and your pay is no longer competitive
There are also a number of benefits to understanding how to ask for a pay rise aside from the opportunity to actually achieve your salary increase.
For example, asking for a pay rise can also:
- Demonstrate to your manager the key successes or targets that you’ve met within your role
- Highlight your proficiency in a skill set that your manager didn’t realise
- Provide examples of times when your initiative has led to further success
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How to ask for a pay rise
Once you feel you have a strong enough case to ask for a pay review, now is the time to consider how you’ll approach the situation. You can follow the steps below as a way of determining how to ask for a pay rise:
1. Pick the right time
Timing is often a major factor when a supervisor or manager is considering a pay review. If your manager feels that everything is going well and your department is performing particularly well, this can increase your chances of success. There are several considerations that may impact whether the time is right:
For example, is it the right time of year? Many businesses often have specific meetings or time periods where they discuss pay reviews. This may be a 1-2-1 meeting with your manager or even the beginning of a new financial year. It’s best to explore the periods that your business generally looks to review pay scales and adjust your plan accordingly.
Likewise, are you – and the business – performing well? If you’ve just completed a major project that has had a beneficial impact on the business, this may be the ideal time to consider asking for a pay rise. By ensuring that your pay review meeting coincides with a successful run of form for the business, you can also specifically highlight the impact you had and why you feel that deserves a salary increase.
2. Do your research
Many businesses use salary benchmarks to determine their employee’s worth. If you’re a marketing professional, for example, a business may look at other marketing organisations to assess what they should be paying for each role.
Take the time to explore what other professionals in your field may be earning. While you’ll have to take into account location and experience – both of which can contribute to higher salaries – this can give you a good idea of what you might stand to earn. By researching the benchmark, you can ask for slightly more as most employers will typically try to negotiate with you.
3. Set up a meeting with your line manager
As you might expect, a manager doesn’t want to discuss salaries while they’re on a lunch break or in a group dynamic. When you’re scheduling the meeting, approach the meeting itself as a performance review rather than a specific conversation about salary. This allows you to provide more insight into your wider performance, which feeds into the potential for a salary increase.
If company-wide performance reviews are coming up, it’s a good idea to use this as an opportunity to talk about salary instead, rather than booking additional meetings that take up valuable time.
4. Plan what you’re going to say
Having an idea of the topics that you’re going to touch on beforehand can help you feel more confident within the meeting itself. Regardless of how strong you are at public speaking, create a list of key achievements, topics or highlights that you want to share. This way, if you forget anything, you can refer back and make a stronger case.
How you approach the salary increase itself is important. You want to make sure that you use professional examples and reasoning, rather than anything personal. In most cases, setting salaries is entirely a business decision and you need to demonstrate why this is a sound idea. Remember to highlight how you arrived at your desired salary and provide context as to why you feel you deserve that number.
An example could be:
“Over the last five years that I’ve worked for this company, I’ve been a key element of the marketing department and contributed to a number of key successes for the business, all of which have helped us become an industry leader. For that reason, I’d like to discuss my ongoing performance and salary.
While I first started in a junior role, I’ve since taken on a more senior position with several more responsibilities and completed training related to those responsibilities. During that time, my work has helped us deliver 30% more leads for the business and led to a 150% increase in the number of visitors to our website.
I’ve done some research and it seems like other people in my role, in this region, earn slightly more than me. With that in mind, I’d like to ask for an 8% rise in my salary – do you agree that’s reasonable?
5. Asking for a pay rise
During the meeting itself, remember that you’re well within your rights to ask for a salary increase and you shouldn’t feel anxious or worried about doing so, especially if your performance matches what you’re asking for.
Expect questions and/or negotiation from your manager. They’ll likely have more details about the achievements and performance you’ve mentioned, alongside the industry research you’ve done. Take your time to answer these while also reinforcing your positive contribution.
During the negotiation period – if there is one – always use your research to back up your request. If your manager says it’s not possible, you might want to ask why this is. In some cases, external factors such as budget cuts may be hindering your pay increase. In this case, you can ask to set up some sort of development progression plan that incorporates a salary increase based on targets or a certain milestone.
In conclusion, asking for a pay rise is a natural part of any career and can help you reach personal goals based on your performance. With this in mind, understanding how to ask for a pay rise is a key skill for any individual and something you should prepare for during your working life.