Asking for a raise at work is one of the more awkward conversations to approach. Often, employees end up not asking as they feel too uncomfortable.
We’ll look at how to best ask for a salary increase and how to build your case with your employer. It can seem daunting, even cheeky, to approach your boss about a raise.
However, if you feel strongly about this then you owe it to yourself to tackle the situation head on. Maybe you have taken on new responsibilities with no reward or you have remained on a static rate for too long.
This article will help prepare you for that discussion with your manager. It’s all about the delivery of your request and picking the right moment.
Building a Case for a Salary Increase
Firstly, you need to have your reasons well thought out in advance. You will likely be asked why you feel you are due an increase.
You should be able to confidently reel off the reasons you want a salary increase, so make sure you spend time preparing so you’re able to get your points over well.
Here are some practical steps for building your case to get that raise at work:-
1. Ask yourself why you want this raise.
You need to have some good reasons ready for when you have this conversation with your boss.
Your reasons should be clear, valid, and professional. Some valid reasons to ask for a raise could include an increase in your workload or a new job title with more responsibility.
2. Have an idea of the size of the increase you want.
Don’t be shy to be the one to start those negotiations when it comes to the increase you have in mind.
Even going a little high, what’s the worst that can happen? By going a little above the average, you are likely to get a fair deal during your salary negotiations if your request for a raise is successful.
3. Choose the time you ask wisely.
Requesting a pay rise immediately before or after a bout of redundancies probably isn’t the time to ask.
With requests such as a pay rise, it does largely come down to knowing the work culture. If you know business has been slow then you are unlikely to be given an increase. It is essential to plan the right time for such an important conversation.
4. Be Professional
Your words should be chosen carefully when you make your pay rise request.
Even if the conversation doesn’t appear to be going well, keep your cool and remain professional. Stamping your feet and slamming doors probably isn’t going to give off those pay increase vibes. If you feel you pick up the slack from others then try to be diplomatic about this.
Telling your boss that Steve is useless and is like having a child to look after probably isn’t the way to go, even if it’s true.
Instead go with something like; ‘I feel as well as doing my work, people also feel confident to approach me with their difficulties. As such, I often have an increased workload’.
5. Consider how you will approach your boss.
A spur of the moment conversation is not the way to approach this.
Request a meeting instead. This will allow you time to prepare your case and also ensure you have your boss’s undivided attention.
You can make some notes too, in case you need some pointers along the way.
Timing is key when it comes to asking for a pay rise. Getting the timing wrong could blow your request straight out of the window.
Knowing the work culture is paramount. Ask yourself these questions:-
- How is business going?
- Is the workforce full?
- Is there always enough work for everyone?
- Do you feel your workload is too much some days?
Also, if your company has a set time of the year for salary increases then your timing will need some thought.
It’s not ideal to wait until you have been told your increase. Rather, get in first with your thoughts so your boss has time to consider it.
Another good time to bring it up is after you have received praise for your work or commitment. This could be during your annual performance review.
Perhaps you have been given an employee gift in recognition of your dedication? Planting that seed of thought during such times can help your cause.
When Not to Ask for a Pay Rise
Asking for a raise to your salary in the same week that Jill, Wendy, and Dave were made redundant probably isn’t the right time.
When there are obvious signs that the workplace is going through some challenging times, hold off asking for an increase.
When there are redundancies, or employers ask staff to take leave due to quiet spells is not a great time to raise the subject.
Every business has its quiet times of the year and it doesn’t mean they are in trouble. Understanding when these quiet periods are can help your case. If you ask when things are going well, you are more likely to get a sympathetic hearing!
Read the Room
If your boss is looking particularly stressed or has known personal issues, again there may be a better time to ask.
Ideally, you want your boss in a good mood, calm, and not stressed out. You probably don’t want to bring it up after an altercation with your boss or another employee either.
Also, it is best to avoid having a conversation after losing a big client or project. This will have financial implications for the company and won’t be the best time to ask. Likewise, if you are told there is a freeze on recruitment for the foreseeable, this points to some financial strain.
Knowing Your Worth – How to Work Out if You Deserve More
Knowing your worth is a phrase we hear a lot in life but it is just as important in the workplace.
You need to believe you deserve that increase otherwise you won’t sound convincing. There are practical ways of finding out your value such as using an Online Salary Calculator.
If your salary shows you are earning below average for the current market then this will strengthen your case. Being able to compare your salary against other competitors in the area will leave little argument from your boss.
You need to be prepared to blow your own trumpet a lot here. Reel off those achievements and compliments you have received with pride. Make your boss see how lucky they are to have you on the team.
It is important to do your homework and do some research on comparable salaries.
This probably doesn’t involve approaching your colleagues. Asking your colleagues what they earn may add complications to your attempt to get that salary increase.
Instead, look further afield by using a site such as salary.com. This is a great bargaining tool for when you have your meeting.
Reasons Why You Deserve a Raise
Putting your case over can seem overwhelming. It is important to keep the reasons why you deserve this raise at the forefront of your mind.
Here’s a few reasons you should get a raise:-
1. Increased Workload
You have found yourself doing an increased amount of work per day at no extra pay.
This is understandably increasing your time spent doing work so an increase for this extra time is only fair.
2. Your Role Has Changed.
Your job title has evolved and you have found yourself with extra responsibilities now.
It is only fair that your pay reflects this new role you have undertaken.
3. You Have New Qualifications.
Gaining some new qualifications in your field can help you achieve that wage increase.
If you have completed training or qualification relevant to your job role then you have a good case. The more qualified an employee, the more value they bring to the business.
4. Increased Experience
Qualifications are great but experience counts for an awful lot too.
Chances are when you started, there wasn’t much experience. However, when you look at where you are now, you’ve come a long way.
This can be a good enough reason for your boss to agree to a rise in wages.
5. Commitment and Enthusiasm
Loyal employees can be hard to find so if you are one of them, your boss will want to keep you.
Being able to continually show your commitment, drive, and passion for the business goes a long way. Have some examples ready to show your boss of times you have worked extra hard or exceeded expectations.
How to Set the Scene to Ask For a Raise at Work
It is a great idea to create the right atmosphere for asking for that raise.
By this we mean you don’t want to be asking in the busy office kitchen over your morning cappuccino. It is always best to plan such things in advance so that everyone has time to prepare their thoughts.
Set up a Meeting
A formal business meeting between yourself and your manager is the best way to ask for a rise.
This shows you are serious, and professional, and have considered this carefully. It also means your boss will possibly suspect what the meeting has been called for. In essence, everyone has the chance to gather their thoughts.
- Schedule the meeting by following company policy.
- Sometimes it pays not to say it is about an increase. Some employers will try to avoid being asked such things.
- Make some notes and research current salary trends based on your job role and qualifications.
- Check with your boss a few days before to make sure the time and date are still suitable.
What to Say When Asking for a Pay Rise
The ball is in your court now – pay rise meeting day has arrived.
It is essential to set the right tone now that your opportunity has arrived. You don’t want to come across as pushy or obnoxious. At the same time though, you want to sound self assured and worthy of this rise.
- Start the meeting by explaining your reason for requesting time with your boss.
- Have some bullet points written down so that you can keep your train of thought.
- Don’t be tempted to run off on a tangent. Make your points clearly and concisely.
- Back up your words with evidence such as successful projects, positive feedback, and your overall performance record.
- Suggest your salary increase and what you have based this on (e.g. salary research).
- Conclude with how much you enjoy working for the company. However, you feel justified in asking for the increase based on your strengths.
- Thank your boss for their time in meeting with you and ask for a timeframe for their decision.
An Example Script To Use When Asking For A Pay Rise
Thank you for taking the time to meet, I appreciate how busy you are and I am very grateful you have made the time. It means a great deal to me.
I wanted to have this meeting as I’d like to discuss my salary and performance. I feel I have grown into my role and it has evolved a great deal over x number of months or years.
For this reason, I am here today to request a salary increase.
My request for a pay rise is one based on my work ethic, work rate, and my increased workload. Since beginning my role here, I have taken on many new responsibilities whilst remaining on the same pay.
I am fully committed to this company and I think my performance speaks for itself. I have a very low absence rate and when I have been unable to come in, I have worked remotely. Any task I begin is seen through to the end and I also support less confident team members.
According to my research, I am paid under the average salary for my role. Based on these figures, I would like an (insert %) increase based on salaries in the area at other companies.
How does this sound to you?
I love my job here and see myself as being here for the duration. I’m learning new skills and experiences all the time.
I understand you need time to consider my request and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your time.
How to Deal with a Refusal
The outcome you want is for your boss to agree to the pay rise but sometimes you need to be prepared for a refusal.
It may simply be bad timing on your part. Perhaps the company budget has already been accounted for and there’s no leeway within it. Or, maybe the company is going through a quiet spell and the extra money cannot be justified at this time.
It is okay to ask your boss why you haven’t been given your pay rise request. Should it be performance related, then come up with a 6 month goal plan.
This can include practical things you can be doing in the meantime. Then you can talk about a meeting further down the line where this can be discussed again.
Ask for Some Perks
Money isn’t everything and if it is a firm no on the increased salary front then maybe look for some other perks. Maybe some extra days of annual leave, a few days a month working remotely, or some flexitime.
It is important to accept the refusal gracefully so that you do not burn any bridges or cause an awkward atmosphere.
Even with a refusal, the idea is now in your boss’s head and they will be keeping an eye on your performance. Use this to your advantage by showing them why you deserve that pay rise.
Good luck with your negotiations!