How do you go about asking for a pay rise? We all know a refusal hurts and asking for a rise can be daunting, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it. After all, you’re worth it, aren’t you? Here are some great tips on how to get it right, based on our collective experience as a major recruitment adviser and also the thoughts of our own boss, Chris Peace, who has been on the receiving end of this sort of thing for years!
Get your timing right.
It’s important to find the ideal moment. Not when your boss has just had bad news, not when you’ve just had bad news, not when the company has just announced a fall in profits and definitely not after having a drink at lunchtime. Prepare well first and pick the moment to strike. After a big new business win might be good, but in general it’s best to seek a week/day when everything is going well for both of you. Our boss, Chris Peace, suggests you ask your manager for a 15 minute meeting where you can state your case and make your request.
Think not about why you want a rise but why your boss might want to grant you a rise. This is essentially a sales pitch, so think what objections your boss might have and how you can answer them. Think how your reasons – your good work and attitude – match your boss’s understanding of what you have done for the business and how the two can dovetail and continue to be mutually rewarding in the future. Rehearse what you want to say. Make sure your request is realistic.
Discuss – not stress - your achievements
It is important to maintain a sense of humility. Think #humblebrag. Politely and pleasantly demonstrate how you have grown into your job, how you have risen to the challenge as the role has changed and why this warrants an increase in pay. What new duties/tasks have you taken on (especially if they were your idea) that have added value to the company? Stick to the facts, use numbers and use clear examples to prove you are worth the pay rise.
Be logical, not emotional
Following on from this, don’t argue with emotion, use facts to support your position. Chris Peace says it can be helpful to research similar roles outside your company and ally what you find to market trends to demonstrate to your manager that what you are asking for is realistic. Implicit in this may be a threat that you could do better elsewhere, but do not, under any circumstances, make this explicit. The moment you antagonise your manager you have lost. Stick to what your research has shown and use that to show that what you are asking for is fair and reasonable. Incidentally, a good way to check market rates is to check with a recruiter like Peace: we know what’s being paid where and can advise you if you are being unrealistic.
More than one way to skin a cat
Due to company policy or budgetary constraints not every organisation is able to stump up for pay rises on demand, even if your boss actually agrees with your case. In these circumstances, it may be possible for him/her to acknowledge your performance in some other way. This may be more flexibility, a bonus for achieving a specific target or support for additional study. A ‘no’ doesn’t have to mean you don’t get anything.
Keep it impersonal
Although you should refer to market rates, don’t make this conversation about what others in your company are getting. Naming colleagues and highlighting their salaries can weaken your case as you may seem as if your main motivation is simply to complain. Similarly, you should not be seeking for a pay rise because of your personal circumstances, such as if your mortgage has gone up or you need a new car.
We all get paid for the work that we do. If you feel as though you've ‘outgrown’ your salary through consistently working above and beyond, you have the right to ask for more money. You can’t be fired for asking for a rise and it does show the ambition that managers should want from you, so bear in mind that the worst thing that can happen is that the boss says no. And they might say yes!
Sarah Hobson, Peace Recruitment