By Debbie Holden 23 Jul 2019 7 min read

How to ask for a pay rise


Ever wondered about asking if you were worth more, but couldn’t pluck up the courage to do it? Asking for a salary raise means stepping way outside of the comfort zone for many. In an ideal world, your boss would notice all the hard work you’ve done, and give it to you off their own back. Sadly, that’s just not the case in real life.

Want a raise? You’ll need to ask for one. But how can you be sure that asking for one will guarantee that you get it? Well the blunt answer is, you can’t. But approaching the discussion will help your employer to understand that you aren’t happy with your current salary – and provided that you approach it in the correct manner, there’s a very strong chance you can make a difference to your salary. Read our tips below to find out how to ask for a raise:


Pick an appropriate time to ask

The phrase ‘There’s a time and a place’ fits well here. Choose your timing carefully, and consider the following:

  • Financial health of the company: Is your organisation thriving? If not, this might not be the ideal time, particularly if they are making cuts to jobs. Search the company’s financial reports online to give yourself an idea of its health.
  • Consider your manager’s workload: Is your manager under a lot of stress, or focused on too many things right now? Paying attention to their moods and identifying how when they are in a better headspace will be useful for your conversation about compensation.
  • Time of year: In many businesses, there are set periods of time when it is natural or convenient to talk about pay. Many employers conduct annual or quarterly reviews with employees. If you have one coming up, your employer might already expect to discuss your compensation, so don’t force it unless you feel you have a stronger case to do so. The end of the fiscal year could also be the ideal time to approach the discussion.
  • Project/task completion: Have you completed a large project or significant task? Reflect on your recent accomplishments to understand the impact you’ve had on the company. Have you just reached an impressive milestone or exceeded an important goal? Be sure to document the details as proof of your value – results will go down very well here too.

Benchmark your salary

It’s very important to know your worth. Have you started looking for similar jobs only to find that they pay a better salary? It’s perfectly appropriate to discuss this as a point with your manager – perhaps they didn’t benchmark the role when you started with them. Bringing this to their attention could spark a positive discussion.


Share your goals

Noone ever asked for a raise and got one without having any reasoning behind it. If you’re confident you deserve a salary, the next stage it to prove your worth to your employer. Any major projects or tasks achieved over the last year, or six months for example, should be clearly highlighted, and preferably will be related to the growth/advancing of the company. 


Take on additional responsibility  

A good trigger for approaching a salary discussion is if you’ve taken on more responsibility at work. While you might be thinking you have enough balls to juggle, showing your ability to carefully time manage in order to accommodate more work shows a clear increase in responsibility and maturity.


Focus on why you deserve it (not why you need it)

Everyone would like more money. But the reasons why you feel you deserve it are much more important than why you need it. Never discuss your personal circumstances when discussing a raise – this isn’t a concern of the company, with regards to your salary. Your focus should be set on explaining to them how you have impacted their business. By presenting the value you’ve added, you prove what you’re worth.


Be open and honest

If you feel you’ve made a difference to the company, be open about this. There’s no shame in highlighting how essential you are to the company. You should be honest if you are not happy with your salary, particularly if it’s promoted negative feelings or thoughts about changing jobs. Communicating this subject with your employer will also strengthen your relationship, by helping them to understand your ambitions.