Is there anyone out there who wouldn’t like to know how to ask for a pay rise?  It’s one of life’s awkward and difficult questions. Is asking for a pay rise reasonable? Do I deserve it over others? Will it help progress my career or just my pay packet?  These are questions we’ve heard before. If you’re weighing up the thought of asking for more money over continuing on the same salary, then now is the time to know how to approach that awkward conversation.  Try the following preparation and you’ll feel confident to make the approach.


woman reflecting at her laptop


A survey of 1,200 UK workers by CV-Library found two in three men (64 per cent) were comfortable asking for a pay rise, compared to just 43 per cent of women.


 How to ask for a pay rise


1.Know your worth in monetary terms

How do you know if you’re being paid the correct salary for your grade? One way is to understand the industry benchmark. While access to HR market data might not be readily available, one quick way to benchmark yourself is to look at the recruitment market. Sure rates for jobs might be inflated, or based on scarcity of the skill you bring, but they’ll give you a ball park figure to start a conversation. You could make a salary comparison using Glassdoor  or LinkedIn to check the industry benchmark salary for your sector and job level. Make this discussion a warm up to your main “asking for a pay rise” conversation.


2.Document your extra responsibilities

Make a note of any extra responsibilities you’ve taken on in your current role, which are over and above the responsibilities outlined in your job specification. Were you asked to step in and take on extra responsibility in a temporary capacity whilst someone was on leave? Did you pick up slack on that important project when the heat was on? Can you identify any extra areas of responsibility you have assumed which have not been officially recognised? Has your role has been redefined whilst you have been in post, but your salary has not?


writing notes


3.Showcase your achievements

Measuring achievements is easier if you have tangible targets such as sales numbers to bring in or new clients to win. However, even for the less tangible aspects of job performance, you should be able to show some measurable improvement that might put you in a good place to ask for a pay rise. Have you collaborated with another team or individual from a different department?  Have you communicated articulately or motivated a colleague to learn something new? Maybe you’ve just worked hard, had little time off and have got through an impressive check list of ‘to do’s.  Don’t show boat, but equally don’t underplay your consistency and dedication. Organisations need people like you. Why not sit down with your journal and create your list of the unique contributions. Think about documenting cost cutting or budget efficiencies, positive project outcomes or glowing customer feedback. Your boss may not be aware of all your wins and successes, so it is a worthwhile exercise.


4.Make your request in person

The best way to ask for a pay rise is in person i.e., face to face. If not face to face, then make a video call as a last resort. This is not a conversation that you want to have over the phone or email. You don’t want it to be ignored or put aside for later. When asking for a pay rise face to face, both parties are instantly more emotionally invested.


woman having conversation



Meeting in person will allow you to gauge the reaction to your request and meet any arguments as they arise. Also, it’s a good idea, as with any important conversation, to pick the right time to have the conversation. Aim to pick a time when you think your boss will be less stressed or preoccupied. This will help foster more a of a positive atmosphere from the start. No one likes being put on the spot so outline broadly the conversation you would like to have and offer a timeframe for when you’d like to talk about it.


5.Be realistic

Don’t expect to get an answer to your request straight away and respect the fact that your boss may need time to digest what’s been discussed and proposed. It could be that your manager is not authorised to agree to a pay rise after just one meeting. Perhaps budgets are extremely tight and now is just the wrong time. Be prepared that you might get a no or a maybe and may have to take on additional responsibilities or agree to new targets and improvements first.


Consider the conversation from your manager’s point of view


When you are considering how to ask for a pay rise it also helps to think about the conversation from your boss’s point of view. Try to understand what their needs are as a manager.

  • emphasize how you reduce specific pain points for them
  • explain how you contribute to fulfilling your boss’s priorities
  • aim to keep the conversation future-focussed with the emphasis on shared goals
  • understand your company dynamics and any financial constraints that exist

It’s prudent to play out the various reactions you think your manager may have and plan your own responses. Go into your meeting with an open mind and be prepared that you may not get an offer that matches exactly what you asked for. Be prepared to negotiate. You may be offered less than you asked for or extra non-financial benefits instead of monetary reward. For many these can be just as motivating and important.

Half of employees would sacrifice part of their salary for more personalised employee benefits, according to a new survey. The report by MetLife UK  which surveyed 1,200 employees and employers, found that 50 per cent of workers would be prepared to accept a reduction in pay for more tailored perks.

It’s also worth writing down the main points from your meeting so that you can reiterate these points in a follow up email to your manager. They can use this as an easy reference if they need to have further discussions with anyone else in the chain of command.

Now is the time to ask for a pay rise

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” Albert Einstein

The current skills shortage means that companies want to hold on to employees so now is a good time to ask for a pay rise. Be fully prepared, know the reasons why you want and deserve a pay rise, and you have nothing to lose. Here’s hoping you get the pay rise you’re due. If your request is declined, you will still have opened a dialogue, ready to review your pay again at a future date.


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