How to ask for a pay rise

When it comes to knowing how to ask for a pay rise, you’ll need all your negotiating skills and tact to ensure the right outcome – but a successful salary review doesn’t just start and end with the actual meeting. Here’s all you need to know on how to get a pay rise, the right way:

Get the facts

The first step when it comes to negotiating a pay rise is to find out the standard procedure for salary reviews at your particular company. Are they more likely to be open to discussion after a full year of employment? Or should you aim to get your request in before the start of the financial year (so it can be allocated as part of the new budget)?

Also take into account the current state of the market, the company’s financial health, and your particular department’s contribution to the company’s profits. The current job market for your sector, your performance, your skillset, and how easy or difficult it would be to replace you all play a role in how likely your employer will award you an increase.

You’ll need to know your market value and what comparable roles in your sector are paid. Your company may also have a set structure in place for how they award pay rises. Find out your company’s policies beforehand, so you can go into your meeting armed with the facts.

Write it out

When you’re asking for a pay rise, a written pitch supporting your argument can be a very good idea. It enables you to list your strengths, your responsibilities and your achievements over the year, and any ways in which you’ve added particular value, saved costs, helped generate revenue or provided customer service excellence.

Mention any shortfall in your salary compared to the industry average, as well as any awards or commendations, then outline your proposed increase. Approach your boss for a salary review meeting, then email your pitch document to them before your meeting so the ‘awkward’ part of asking for a pay rise can be addressed upfront, leaving you both free to cut to the chase and discuss the details.

The meeting

Once you’ve put forward your case in writing, your discussion can focus on the negotiations. Go in knowing your worth, and with a clear idea of what you would consider acceptable (or not). Decide on your tactics beforehand. Are you going to start high and negotiate down? Or are you planning on specifying a set amount and sticking to it?

Pay attention to your body language. Stay relaxed and confident, speak slowly, have open body language (no crossed arms!) and avoid getting defensive or angry. Cool, confident and convincing should be your mantra, and you should aim to be strong, yet reasonable. Don’t overstate your case, name your terms, and avoid repeating yourself too much. Listen carefully to their side and be willing to compromise, and you’ll be much more likely to succeed.

When it comes to asking for a pay rise, remember that timing is key and you need to come armed with a strong, persuasive case to justify the increase. Still, the outcome is by no means assured, so you need to be prepared for both a positive and negative response. If your employer agrees to the pay rise you can then discuss an acceptable timeframe to implement; if an increase is not granted, however, you could see if a future date to revisit the issue could be scheduled.

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