News Article

CAREER TIPS-How to ask for a pay rise (and get it)

Posted 19th August 2020 • Written by People First •

You’ve hit, and even surpassed, your targets.

You’re number 1 in your company.

The project you led was a huge success.

You know your peers at rival companies get paid more.


You deserve a pay rise.

But don’t just sit around expecting to be given more money, you’ll probably have to ask for it.

You’ll be afraid to, but overcome your fears; 66% percent of workers don’t ask, but of those that do, almost 70% receive higher pay. 


When to Ask

There’s no perfect time but some times are better than others.

Good times to ask:

After the completion of a successful project you were involved in.

When your company announces good financial results.

You are asked to take on more responsibility.

Your Annual Performance Review

When your manager is happy not stressed!


Bad times:

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.

After your company’s annual budget has already been set.


It’s an important topic, so treat it that way.

Don’t chat about it at the coffee machine, ask for a face to face meeting with your boss to discuss your salary. Only your salary, not lots of other issues too.

Try not to do the whole process by email, face to face allows you to gauge the reaction of your boss more easily, and to make counter arguments and negotiate with them.

And make sure your manager knows what the meeting is about – no one likes to be put on the spot.


What to say in the meeting

Before you say anything, do the same as you did for the job interview, and prepare.

Be as prepared as possible. You need to be able to prove that you deserve a raise and your boss need to feel you’re worth investing in not just financially but long term in terms of new projects and responsibilities. 

You may need to even ask yourself, if you really do deserve a raise. If the answer is “no,” then do more to earn a raise, take on more responsibilities, speak up more during meetings, and be willing to go that extra mile. 

Do your research on salary benchmarking so you can show others doing the same job get paid more. But don’t mention colleagues by name.

This research will also help you decide on a specific figure or salary range. 

Think about what you have done for the company and how you have helped it succeed.

Give specific examples, whether it’s sales data or details of the role you played in projects, problems you solved, money you saved.

Also say what you plan to contribute to the company in the future, that way your boss will be confident you plan to stay and the investment made in you will be worth it. 

Be careful about the words you use. Don’t say ‘I’m looking to get,’ or ‘I’m hoping for,’ it suggests, ‘But I don’t expect to get it’.

Be precise about the figure ‘I was thinking of somewhere maybe in the region of X,’ makes you sound like you lack confidence in your own worth.

Be realistic about the figure you ask for, don’t go too low, you might deserve more, don’t go too high because you might not be taken seriously.

Expect your boss to ask you direct questions about the examples you’re using to justify your pay rise, and about your plans for your future.

Be prepared to compromise, to give and take. 

Very importantly keep the meeting business-like, don’t show emotion.

Your boss doesn’t need to know that you want the money for a new car, holiday or house - don’t make it  personal.

Your salary and discussions about it should only relate to your job and the responsibilities you have.


What if your request is rejected? 

Sometimes a company just doesn’t have the money for a pay rise. But if this happens, don’t give up. 

Ask why it was rejected (36% of women don’t do anything after initially being denied, 42% of men asked why they were denied and some asked for, and got, more office benefits and perks instead, like more holidays, a new job title, flexitime, subsidised travel costs, gym membership, new training (which will also be good for your future), etc. 

Or plan for next time. Create a plan with your manager, with a time-table and goals for you to reach, so that you are rewarded with your raise when your targets are achieved. 

Think very carefully before using another job offer as leverage.

No matter how good you think you are, it’s very rare for someone to be 100% indispensable.

If you resign and then change your mind or the job falls through your employer doesn’t have to take you back. 

And if no pay rise leaves you with no option but to look for a job somewhere else, stay professional and tell them you are disappointed because you’d love to stay but that you now have to consider your options.

And remember if you do leave you still want a good reference so be careful not to burn your bridges.


Click to see more Career tips from People First Recruitment to help in your career and your search for a Mandarin speaking job, a Japanese job, a Language job or a job in Supply Chain, Procurement or Demand Planning in London & the UK