Asking for a salary increase is something that everyone is likely to do at some point in their career. However, having to have ‘that conversation’ can feel unnatural and the experience can be intimidating and awkward, even if you have a good relationship with your manager.
If you’re struggling to pluck up the courage to broach the topic of a pay rise, try following our tips below:
1. Have a figure in mind…and make sure it’s realistic
Before you raise the topic with your manager, think about what you want and consider what is realistic. If you enter the conversation with the aim of getting a £10,000 pay increase, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
If you’re not sure what’s realistic, try using a salary calculator (we like this one from TotalJobs) to check what the market rate is for your role within your area. If it appears that you’re being severely underpaid, you can use this information to help your cause.
If you’re offered a smaller pay rise than you hoped for, try compromising by asking about a bonus scheme (if you don’t already have one in place) to increase your earnings based on performance or professional training courses to increase your knowledge and skills.
2. Gather evidence to build your case
The more evidence you can gather to back-up your proposed pay rise, the better. Unless you report directly to your MD or FD, it’s likely that your manager will have to present your case to more senior members of staff who will want to see numbers.
For example, if you can prove that you’ve achieved your targets consistently, brought in X amount of revenue or made improvements within your company that have saved time and money, this is a brilliant case for a pay rise.
3. Ask in the right way
When asking for a pay rise, keep it professional at all times. Don’t be demanding and don’t speak negatively of anyone else within the business. For instance, you should avoid saying things like:
“I work harder than Joe and I know that he’s on more money than me.”
This comes across as bitter and you don’t want to be seen as gossiping about your colleagues’ salaries. Speak calmly, reasonably and present your case clearly.
For example, you could say:
“I’ve been on the same pay level for a while now and I feel that a salary review would be fair. Over the past year I’ve achieved X, Y and Z.”
4. Timing is everything
Think carefully about when to ask for a pay rise. Don’t broach the subject publicly as it will put your manager on the spot (and will appear unprofessional); an appraisal, review or other formal meeting is the ideal setting for this conversation.
If you’re currently in the doghouse with your manager (maybe you’ve been late for work a few times or haven’t been hitting your targets), it might also be worth postponing the conversation until a later date.
5. Be prepared for rejection (but don’t give up)
Although (fingers crossed), you’ll reach your desired outcome from the conversation that you have, sometimes it might just not be the right time. Perhaps your employer only reviews salaries at the end of the financial year or the company just isn’t in the best financial position at the moment to be offering you a pay rise.
If your request gets rejected, accept it graciously and ask when they will next be looking to review salaries and if there’s anything you can do to put you in good stead for a review at a later date.
Just remember, there will always be external factors that you can’t control but if you follow the tips above, it should put you in the best possible position to get a pay increase.