How to Ask for a Pay Rise

Yes, it's scary.

You're in a job you enjoy and you think you're worth more money than you're currently being paid, but you don't want to rock the boat. What if you're declined?

No one said it was easy, but a pay rise negotiated in the right way can be a positive for both parties. And that's what we're going to talk you through. The right way.

Justify your request

Before you plough ahead, demanding a hefty pay rise, make sure you can justify your value. Simply being in a job for a year, for example, does not necessarily constitute a rise in salary, unless your business awards incremental rises to reflect the length of service or rises with inflation.

Take the time to research market rates (job boards are useful in this respect). Also, consider what you've achieved recently. Just because you want a rise, doesn't mean you'll get one and understanding why you're asking and providing examples of your work will enable you to not only justify your request but make it much easier for you to sell the idea to your boss.

Ask for a meeting

The best way to ask is at a time that has been scheduled, rather than jumping on your boss on, say, a Monday morning, when there are lots of distractions. If you're in fear of asking for a formal meeting in advance because you'll likely be asked what it's about, simply pick a quieter time to ask if your boss can spare a few minutes for a chat. A time where they seem in a good place and not dashing between meetings. That way you'll both be more calm, attentive and you're more likely to have success.

But be prepared for the fact that your boss may have to go away and think about it. He or she may not have the final say and may need to speak to someone else. Or might ask you to go away and provide more evidence to support your request.

Prepare not to have your requests fully met

Your boss will not always be in a position to grant your request. And this can be for multiple reasons including the fact the company may not have the budget. So be prepared for the worst.

And if a pay rise isn't possible now, consider asking for something other than money. Maybe you would like study support (this can be non-financial support like paid study days, for example).

It's not necessarily a fail and should not be considered as such. Don't lose your temper, cry or sulk.

Leave things open, be gracious at all times. You can try again at a later date provided you remain professional.

Clare Wight is the founder and Managing Director of Clarity Appointments, an independent recruitment specialist. She served time as a Regional Director for The Employment Agents Movement, supporting other independent recruiters.

And she remains an active member of Members Only, a recruitment leadership network promoting high ethical standards, collaboration, diversity, equity and inclusion.

She believes business owners are more fulfilled and higher-performing when they provide emotional and professional business support to other business owners, even those they deem to be competitors. She does this actively, whilst challenging and updating her skills and knowledge of the recruitment sector, enabling her to offer the very best of advice to firms looking to make their next hire.

Clare's also the founder and a contributor to a monthly digest called SME Monthly. SME Monthly is a collaboration with other experts in their field, designed to give SME business owners the tools they need to stay up to date and relevant in a broad range of skills including:

Recruitment; Human Resources; IT and Cyber Security; Finance; Well-being; Marketing

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Or book a chat with Clare here.