How to ask for a pay rise can feel like an awkward thing to navigate. Talking about money is not something that we are usually accustomed to – in fact, you probably avoid it at all costs. But when it comes to your career, having conversations about money is a necessary evil.
Put simply: you get paid for the work that you do, and if you feel as though you’ve outgrown your salary through consistently working above and beyond your role, you have the right to ask to be compensated for it.
Pip Jamieson, founder of The Dots says: “No one ever got fired asking for a pay rise! The worst thing that can happen is you just don’t get what you ask for”.
Whatever has been holding you back previously, let go of it, 2019 could be your year. “Companies in the UK are desperate for skilled talent right now, so there is no better time to get paid what you deserve”, Pip says.
But how do you go about broaching the subject of a pay rise with your boss? Here are some tips from experts in the know…
1. Know your worth
Pip advises that before anything else, you should work out how your salary relates to the wider market. “There’s a myriad of salary surveys out there that can help you benchmark what you should be paid,” she says. “Simply do a bit of Googling”.
2. Do it in person
No matter how tempting, “don’t ask for a pay rise over email”, Jo Coombs, CEO, OgilvyOne UK says. “I know it can be difficult to talk about money and your own worth sometimes, but I always respect someone who is prepared to talk to me face to face rather than hide behind email.”
3. Pre-warn your manager
Sally Bibb,author of The Strengths Book: Discover How to Be Fulfilled in Your Work agrees. “If you surprise them he/she might give a knee-jerk reaction and say ‘no’”, she says. “Email them summarising your request and rationale, and ask for a meeting with them to discuss.”
4. Timing is everything
Choosing the time you talk to your boss about your salary could be key. Think about the bigger picture. For example, when do budgets for the year get laid out?
“Timing is everything”, Jo agrees. “Find out when raises are granted as this will indicate the time when the most money will be in the pot, but also be opportunistic – if a peer has suddenly left your bosses may be nervous about losing someone else – it’s always worth asking then.”
5. Don’t wait too long
Jo says, “A lot of people ask for a raise during their annual review – this is most likely to be too late.”
6. And don’t be greedy
Sinead Bunting, VP of Marketing Europe at Monster expresses that it’s important not to “ask more than once a year as you’ll come across as unrealistic, if not unreasonable in your boss’ eyes.”
7. Think about your boss’ schedule
Pip also advises to “try and find a time when your boss is stress-free and not under any time pressure. People are much more amenable to requests when they’re in a good mood!”.
8. Write a script
“The classic mistake is to whinge that you’re not being paid enough and/or you need more money for your social life”, Pip says. “Instead, prepare a little script ahead of your chat highlighting the value that you bring to the business, how you love what you do, but feel that you’re now worth more.” Jo also suggests to “prepare for every possible scenario your boss could use to not give you what you want.”
9. Summarise your past successes and future plans
While highlighting your successes is important, don’t forget to look forward. Sally says: “This reminds them you are useful to them, can be relied upon and are proactive.”
10. Think about your delivery
“You’ll probably be nervous”, Sinead admits, “but make sure to sit up straight, make eye contact with your boss and don’t fidget. Confidence is key, so speak slowly and deliberately, and use hand gestures to reinforce your points if this is your natural style. Don’t giggle nervously or allow your gaze to wander round the room or cover your mouth while speaking – these are all suggestions that you are uncomfortable or insecure about what you’re asking.
She adds: “Don’t feel the need to fill in any silences or ramble, wait for a response to your questions and put the onus onto your manager to respond. The more certain you are of what you want to achieve and the more convincingly you can present your value, the better your chances of achieving the pay rise you’re looking for.”