The thought of asking your boss for a pay rise can be nerve-racking, but consider this: if you don’t, you’re unlikely to be given more money—and that’s even if you’re the top performer at your workplace. You can’t always be certain you’ll get what you’re asking for, but with research and planning, you can increase your chances of a good outcome.
Success strategies when asking for a pay rise
Preparation, timing, and having a written pitch ready are three of the most important strategies for asking for a pay rise.
Preparation is the single most important strategy for improving your chances of success in securing a pay rise. It could give you a better idea of what to ask for and how to ask.
To start, rehearse your pitch until it flows nicely. Script your answers and get someone to play the part of your boss so you can practice making your points. In particular, practice outlining your top achievements and fact-based reasons why you deserve a raise.
Look at it from your employer’s perspective. Consider what your boss expects from you, what you’ve achieved in your role, and examples of measurable achievements. Role expansion, greater productivity and efficiency, and improved revenue generations or performance can also be excellent selling points.
Also, do some research on similar jobs to determine whether your current pay is below the market average. Consider your qualifications, role, experience, and achievements and how much they’re worth in the market. Use job advertisements, credible studies, and reports to back up your claims.
1) Get the timing right
Timing is another critical factor for pay rise requests. Start by considering the business’s policies on pay rises and its current financial health. It could be appropriate to ask for a rise on or before your anniversary of employment service, at the end of the financial/calendar year, or before your company’s next budget sign-off.
Also, consider whether your role has expanded or if you can demonstrate greater efficiency and contribution towards revenue growth. Look at market conditions, the job market for your role, and the scarcity of your skillset as well.
2) Draw up a written proposal
Collate your research into a written proposal. Use client testimonials, performance appraisals, peer emails, reports, facts, and achievements to support your proposal. Email your written pitch to your boss before the meeting so they have all the facts in front of them when you’re negotiating.
David Alexander, Director of Student Services at The International Career Institute, advises, “A written proposition will give your employers time to consider. Ensure that you are being realistic and learn the art of negotiation and compromise.”
3) Plan B: Consider benefits beyond pay
Consider alternatives to a pay rise just in case your organization is unable to provide a pay rise. For example, ask for benefits like flexibility, holiday time, and telecommuting. You could request extra training and skills enhancement, ask to go to a conference or apply for a new phone or laptop.
Similarly, you can ask your boss for an improvement plan if they turn you down. Clarify again where you want to be in terms of pay and ask them for a plan to help you move to that position.
4) What to avoid when asking for a pay rise
Stay calm when making your pitch and project confidence when meeting with your boss. Remember to use professional, business-like language. Avoid talking too much or using an aggressive tone of voice. Using overly emotional or negative language can distort your message and compromise your professionalism. Aim for a professional, objective, and calm discussion.
It’s important to avoid making unsupported or unreasonable requests (for example, those that don’t have supporting testimonials, reports, market research, or facts) as this can make your request seem unfocused and poorly researched, and thereby weaken your argument.