Asking for a pay rise can be one of the most daunting things in your career. Some companies may automatically increase your pay by a certain percentage every year, but in most cases, employees need to take action into their own hands.
So, how can you deal with such a potentially awkward and touchy subject?
calculate your worth
The first part of asking for a pay rise is to determine whether you’re actually due for a pay rise or not.
To work out how much your salary should be, use a tool such as ValueMyCV from Adzuna and PayScale. All you have to do is input your skills, your current job title, location and current salary – and your estimated salary worth will be revealed.
Wait – can I get fired for asking for a pay rise?
No – it’s illegal for a company to fire an employee simply for asking for a pay rise. In the event that someone is let go because they asked for a pay rise, then it’s classed as an unfair dismissal. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working there either – and it’s unlikely a company will bother firing you for asking…because they can get in a lot of trouble.
Asking for a pay rise
There are a few steps to take when asking for a pay rise:
- Prepare what you’re going to say before you approach your manager
- Provide evidence for your efforts at work: This could include noting down how many times you stayed late after work to help with a project, comparing your initial responsibilities (in the job ad) with your current responsibilities, your output, what you’ve brought to the company, any new skills or qualifications earned during your employment.
- Add proof of your estimated worth in the current job market (you could even include a few job ads that show a higher salary for the same job title)
- Jot down some great ideas for future projects and how you can help the company grow even more.
- Collate all this information together in one document
- Approach your line manager first (not the big boss!) and talk to them in person about your reasons for asking for a pay rise. Show them your documentation supporting your request. This will help them to be able to persuade senior management to approve the pay rise.
However, if you work for a local authority, charity or other institution then you may be paid according to a salary grade. If you are, then it’s highly likely your employer already has a pay review process in place…so it makes it far easier for you to build up the courage to try and convince management that your role comes under a different pay grade.
When is the best time to ask for a pay rise?
Of course, the best time to ask for a pay rise is during your annual performance review. There isn’t necessarily a ‘perfect’ moment to ask for a pay rise, but there are several scenarios where asking for a pay rise is more likely to result in a ‘yes’ :
- You have a temporary contract but your company wants to renew it
- You’re given more tasks / a higher workload / more responsibility
- The company is doing well financially
- You contributed to a hugely successful and profitable project
When shouldn’t I ask for a pay rise?
It’s probably obvious when you shouldn’t ask for a pay rise, but some of the overlooked times include:
- When the company has made cutbacks such as redundancies
- Monday (when the company is usually at its busiest)
- Friday (when people are thinking about going to the pub!)
- If the company’s financial situation is negative
- If a project you were involved with produced poor results
- If you’ve been underperforming (lateness, too many ‘sick’ days, laziness, unproductiveness, etc)
Gulp! Here comes the scariest bit. You’ve finally managed to wangle a 30 minute meeting with your boss to discuss your potential pay rise…but what do you say and how do you say it?
Thank your manager first for giving you the time to argue your case for a pay rise. Make it clear you enjoy what you do. Next it’s time to list your achievements over the last six months (or however long it’s been!) and how the results of those achievements have benefited the company. Then outline your ideas for things like keeping employees happy, boosting productivity, new projects, new business prospects and so on.
Now it’s time to bring out the numbers. Tell your boss what the average local salary is for your role and what the percentage gap is. For example, “I’ve consistently passed my sales target year on year. The average salary for my role is £30,000. That’s 10% above my current salary and I want to discuss how we can bridge the gap.”
Make sure the language you use is strong (and by this we don’t mean swear words!). Instead of saying “I was hoping” or “I just wanted,” be assertive and precise. Do say “Ideally, I’d need a salary of £X.” It makes it look like you know what you’re talking about.
Good luck and we hope you get the pay rise you deserve for your chosen field!