How to Ask for a Pay Raise

Download How to Ask for a Pay Raise

Post on 21-Jul-2016




2 download

Embed Size (px)


How to Ask for a Pay Raise


  • How to Ask for a Pay Raiseoriginated by: Liz, Sara, Dvortygirl, Anonymous

    The best approach to asking for a pay rise is to plan; simply leaping over the abyss of an opportunistic moment will rarely produce a successful outcome nerves, discomfort, and lack of preparation will trip you up. Knowing why you're of more value to the company and having a case prepared in advance will set in much better stead and even if the answer is initially no, your enthusiasm and clarity will be remembered for future opportunities. If you feel like you have been doing an excellent job at work, don't be afraid to approach your employer for a raise; here are some suggestions on how to go about doing it.


    There's always room for star performersUnderstand your chances. For starters, once you've negotiated a pay deal with your boss, it's harder to ask for more. Your boss assumes you're happy with the amount you're getting and isn't going to be favorably disposed to adding more financial burden to the company without good reason. On the whole, getting a pay rise in most industries is hard to achieve unless you have leverage. And that leverage can consist of such things as getting another job offer or doing above and beyond your job description, consistently, effectively, and regularly.

    o If you are a "star employee", a good company will often be able to find a bit extra to keep you satisfied. Be aware that it is a fairly standard tactic to tell you that the business is already over its annual budget, to try and deter you from asking. This means that you need to know your worth asassessed against objective criteria (see below), and be persistent.

    o Be realistic. During a recession period, some companies will not be able to provide pay rises without endangering your entire job. When assessing any concern raised that they're already "over budget" and suffering as a result of the recession, cut-backs, or any other reasons, do some background research on the realities of this before pressuring too much.

  • o Be careful using another job offer as leverage. Your boss may call you on it; it's important to really have such a job offer and to really want to take that job if you're rebuffed by your boss in the current job. You may have to walk that plank!


    Have confidence in your valueDon't be afraid. Despite saying that it can be hard to get a pay rise, it's just as important not to fall into the mindset of not asking for a pay rise, ever. In particular, women are often afraid to ask for a pay rise because of the impression that it's important not to appear too demanding or pushy. Allowing this type ofpervasive thinking won't win you a pay rise by proxy. Have confidence in your worth (see below on howto assess this) and value yourself. See this as an opportunity to show that you care enough to develop a career trajectory that favors your workplace as well as yourself.

    o Negotiation is a learned skill. If you are afraid of this aspect, take some time out to learn it and practice implementing it in a variety of contexts before approaching your boss.


    Has something you've done risen above all expectations?Choose the right time. Successful requests are all about good timing. It doesn't make sense to ask for a pay rise when you've not yet demonstrated anything amazing for the firm you're working for, no matter how little or long you've been with it. And asking for a pay rise based purely on "time done" is dangerous because it makes you appear like a timekeeper rather than someone interested in the company's progression. Keep in mind:

    o Demonstrable increased value. What have you done within a demonstrable time period that has made you more valuable to the firm or organization? It's never good enough to use time as the reason for a pay rise; never say to your boss: "I've been here for a year and I deserve a pay rise". Your boss will be likely to respond, "And so what?"

    o Success is key, not time done. The time is always right when your value to the organization is clearly high. This means seizing the iron while it's hot and asking for a pay rise off the back of excellent successes such as holding a highly successful conference, getting fantastic feedback, getting a big client signed on, producing outstanding work that outsiders have praised, etc.

    o Don't choose a time when the company has just posted major losses. 4.

  • Search your workplace's policiesKnow your company's policies. Does your company require annual performance reviews to determine your salary? Do salaries advance according to a fixed schedule or rank? Who can make the decision (or ask for it to be made)? Read the employee handbook (and company intranet, if you have one), or better yet, talk to someone in Human Resources.


    Do some research in the relevant fields onlyKnow what you're worth - objectively. It's easy to believe you're worth more, especially if you feel as if you're giving 110 percent every day but you need to demonstrate this objectively by assessing your worth against others in the same industry. Find out the usual salary range for those who do what you do in your region or area. Know what others doing the same as you in your industry are getting. While this is something you should already have known since commencing the job and have negotiated a salary level accordingly, if your role and responsibilities have changed since taking the job, look to similar levels in the industry to see what they're being paid for similar work. This can help you to build your case but should not be used as the principal reason for your wanting to get a pay rise. It informs you about your worth, not your boss and your boss won't view this as a real reason to give you a raise. Whenlooking for this information, take into account:

    o Your job description, responsibility, including any management or leadership tasks;o Years of experience and your seniority in the company's line of work;o Your education; ando Your location.


  • Prepare a list of your accomplishments. This list is part of the process of knowing your own worth, as well as providing the groundwork for making your case and defending your request. While some people believe it's helpful to write down the accomplishments to present to your boss, others believe your accomplishments should already be evident and you should only need to remind your boss verbally. It depends on what you know about your boss's preferences, your relationship dynamics with your boss, and your own level of comfort with reciting your accomplishments verbatim.

    o If you're choosing to convince your boss verbally, memorize the list.o If you're choosing to present a written copy to your boss for his or her reference, have somebody

    proofread it for you first.7.

    Take time to prepare your case; think through all the positivesMake your case. Pay particular attention to projects you've worked on, and how you helped solve any problems that arose. This case should clearly and simply demonstrate why you're worth more money to your employer, including demonstrating how business operations and profits have improved since and because you've been a part of the company. This is about far more than just doing your job well, something you're already expected to do; you should be doing around 20 percent more in your role than when you started it or last had a pay increase. Demonstrate that you've made an important and remarkable difference and will continue to do so, focusing on the positive things you've done for the company. Some questions to consider when developing your case include:

    o Did you complete or help to complete a tough project? And get positive results from it?o Did you work extra hours or meet an urgent deadline? Are you continuing to demonstrate this

    type of commitment?o Did you take initiative? In what ways?o Did you go beyond the call of duty? In what ways?o Did you save the company time or money?o Did you improve any systems or processes?

  • o Did you support or train others? As Carolyn Kepcher says: "A rising tide lifts all boats", and a boss wants to hear that you've helped others.

    8. 8

    Make it easy for your boss to say "Ah-ha!"Give your boss a plan. As part of making your case, also present your boss with a plan. Your boss is busy, and in many cases, your boss wants to be saved the hassle of interviewing new people for a role, so if your pay rise would ensure that you continue to fill a gap that would otherwise require a new hire or review of existing positions, it's a huge relief to a boss to find that not only are you ready to take up the challenge but you've already got things underway and prepared for extending it. Explain the logical progression of how the over-and-above goals you've already achieved will result in good future progressfor the company and what objectives you have in mind for achieving this. This tells your boss that you'realways one step ahead, thinking about where the company is headed.

    o Think about the level of pay rise you're looking for. Here it's important not to be greedy and to remain realistic. The usual tactic of negotiating from a much higher point isn't as good an idea with salary increase requests because your boss might think you're being ridiculous. Stay within the realms of reality and break it down so that it doesn't seem too huge; for example, explain it asbeen an extra $40 a week rather than $2,080 per year.

    o You can negotiate for more than just a pay raise. Maybe you're happy to take other things in lieu of money, such as stocks or shares in the company, a wardrobe allowance, rental assistance, or even a promotion in your title. Ask for a company car, or a better one. If appropriate, talk about benefits, titles, and modifications to your responsibilities, management, or assignments.

    o Be prepared to compromise and haggle. Even though you haven't given your boss an unrealistic figure, still expect some bargaining to go on if your boss is receptive to the request.


    "Can I see you for a moment?"Set time aside. If you just walk up and ask for a raise, you'll seem unprepared, and like you don't deserve one. You don't have to give too much advance notice but do seek privacy and a moment that won't be interrupted. For example, when you walk in to work in the morning, say: "Before you leave, I'dlike to speak with you." Or, make an appointment if your boss is really busy or disorganized. And remember, a face-to-face request is far harder to turn down than a letter or email.

  • o Be confident, not arrogant, and be positive. Speak politely and with clarity. And be prepared to get it over and done with while maintaining good composure and self-control; keep in mind that it probably won't be half as bad as it feels before asking!

    o Start by saying how much you enjoy your job, then launch into discussing your achievements and your desire for a pay rise. Inject yourself into the discussion by being personable, to make that human connection with your boss.

    o Once you've explained why a pay rise matters to you, launch straight into the benefits for the company and your boss. Follow your plan.

    o Wait for your boss's response. If it's an outright "no", see next step. If it's "I need time to think about this", try to pinpoint a future time for reopening the discussion. If your boss agrees immediately, say something like "Don't say yes unless you mean it" as a means of encouraging your boss to repeat the agreement and reinforce it in his or her mind, and then proceed to "hold your boss" to it (see below).

    o Thank your boss for his or her time.10.

    Thanks for hearing me out.Be persistent if the answer is no. Even if your boss says no, your desire for a pay rise is now out in the open and your boss has to be concerned about the chances that you might be looking elsewhere for better paid work. If you are a star employee, keep performing excellently and ask again in a few monthstime.

    o Don't get emotional or take it personally. Thank your boss for listening.o Ask your boss what you can do to make it easier for him or her to consider giving you a pay rise

    in the near future. This demonstrates your persistence and your willingness to take your boss's opinions into account. It may be that both of you can agree on increased responsibilities and activities over a certain time period that gradually leads to a new role and a pay increase; think laterally.

    o Send a follow-up email saying thank you. This provides a dated, written record that you can remind your boss of in future negotiations.

    o Be pragmatic. If you're shooting higher than your company is willing to pay, maybe it's better to apply for a different position that has a higher salary, either with your company or another one, rather than trying to go down the route of a pay rise or creating a new role? Think this possibilitythrough carefully.

  • 11.

    Hold your boss to the promise. If the answer was yes, there is often one final hurdle and that is actuallyreceiving the paperwork confirming the pay rise, and the actual payment. Things do go wrong, such as your boss feeling under pressure from higher up to maintain budget constraints, etc., and sometimes back-pedaling is the end result, or simple forgetfulness resulting from your boss's busy workload. To allay this possibility, know how to hold your boss to the promise.

    o Mark Palmer and Scott Solder suggest that you do this by: making your boss feel bad about reneging (for example, mentioning someone you know who asked for a pay rise only to have a boss take it back and how staff morale plummeted); reinforce it by asking such questions as when your boss will implement the pay rise and if there is anything you need to sign off to put it into effect. Or go one step further and tell your boss: "I guess that you'll have this arranged by the end of the month after you've approved the paperwork, etc." this paints your boss's action picture so that he or she doesn't have to. And finally, Palmer and Scott suggest that you go "over and above" by giving your boss more than they're expecting from you, such as a thank you email,or a shout to lunch to say thanks.

    Tips Many companies subscribe to industry salary surveys. Ask your boss to consult that information when

    determining your new compensation, especially if you think your pay has lagged behind that of your peers. It will lend credence to your well-researched comparisons.

    Improve your qualifications, if you can. You don't have to wait around or make your case on seniority alone. Better qualifications mean that you can offer more to your employer. Take a class, get a certification or license, or take the initiative to learn new skills on your own. Then, use these achievements to demonstrate that you're worth more than you used to be.

    Prior to asking for any raise or increase in compensation, be sure that you've handled any and all projects, jobs, and issues on your plate. Asking for a raise in the middle of something you're currently working seldom works. Remember that timing matters!