Few of us like asking for a pay rise – it can be deeply uncomfortable and ultimately unrewarding if you aren’t confident and don’t have much experience of fighting your own corner. But convincing your boss to increase your salary does not need to be a terrifying experience. If you adopt some easy-to-learn tactics and do your homework in advance, you are much more likely to come away with the pay rise you want.

pay rise

Your pay rise plan of attack

  1. Do your homework. Yes, everybody would like to take home £150,000 but the average salary in the UK is somewhere south of £26,000. It’s no good going to your boss and demanding something completely unrealistic. Do your research and find out how much somebody with your amount of experience in your particular sector could reasonably expect to earn. Use one of the salary checkers that are available online to compare what you earn with others doing similar jobs.
  2. Make the approach at the best time. Don’t go steaming in to your manager’s office on a Monday morning or leave it until late on Friday afternoon. He or she is likely to be snowed under after the weekend on a Monday and may be demob happy come Friday. Schedule a meeting midweek and be specific about what it’s about. Tell your boss that you want to talk about your salary – people don’t like these things being sprung on them at the last minute.
  3. Look the part. You may be the most talented and committed person in the office but if you don’t shave and turn up in jeans and a t-shirt to talk about your salary, then you risk not being taken seriously. But if you are usually casually dressed in the office, don’t go completely overboard at your salary meeting and suddenly appear in a suit and tie. Dress appropriately and make sure your clothes are clean and ironed.
  4. When you get into your manager’s office, don’t stand awkwardly by the door ready to make a break for it when the meeting is over. If you can, try to get your manager out of their office and into a more comfortable spot. Somebody who is relaxed is more likely to agree to your requests. Consider going off site to a café particularly if your office is open plan.
  5. Be clear about your reasons. This is where your homework is important – you need to be able to demonstrate how you regularly exceed what is set out in your basic job or role description. Show your manager how you’ve used your initiative, supported your colleagues or come up with ideas to improve efficiency or productivity. Clear examples about how you’ve helped the bottom line will help when it comes to showing your boss how valuable you are.
  6. Know when to shut up. When you’ve made your case, be quiet and let your boss respond in his or her own time. Nobody likes a windbag – state your worth and then let your boss think and talk it through.
  7. Don’t be confrontational. It’s fine to say how much you think you are worth but stating that you are underpaid is likely to be counter productive. Be constructive and positive, not negative about the company or your colleagues.
  8. Don’t threaten to leave to go to another job. Tell your boss how much you enjoy working at the firm and that you want to commit longer term. A committed member of the team is more likely to be recognised for their worth.
  9. Be calm. Don’t snivel, don’t cry and don’t beg. All of these are huge turn-offs. Maintain your dignity and don’t get worked up even if you are under pressure in your work. If things are so bad that you hate working there, you should be looking for a new challenge elsewhere rather than asking for a pay rise.
  10. Follow up. Your manager may make a verbal commitment to raise your salary. Or he or she might say that a decision will be made after a certain amount of time. Either way, you should send them an email saying that you found the meeting interesting and helpful and recap on the main points as you understood then. That will mean that you have a paper trail making it easier to hold your boss to whatever commitment he or she made to you.


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