How to ask for a pay rise

Posted October 13, 2011, by Elizabeth Fenech

Asking for a pay rise is one of the more delicate conversations you'll ever have with your boss. But before you storm into the manager's office waving your latest bank statement, there are a few things you should do to prepare.

Do your research

Build up some knowledge about the average wage and conditions of your industry, and establish how well you are paid in relation to market norms. You should do this at home, not on company time. You're trying to prove to your employer that you're a valuable employee, not one who can't be trusted with a corner office and an Internet connection. Keep in mind that your boss probably isn't going to be thrilled to be honouring your requests for more money if you're already tipping the top of the salary scale. If you think you have a case, it's important to have a reasonable figure that you would like to earn in mind.

Get your facts straight

Understand the process your company has in place for granting pay rises and make sure you go through the official channels. Your request is more likely to be heard if you ask the right person at the right time. If reaching KPIs (key performance indicators) is a must, then asking for a rise when you are not performing to the required level is a waste of time. Better to work on and improve your results first.

Make an impression

Have you gone the extra mile for your company or do you sneak in extra-long lunch breaks? Keep in mind that you don't necessarily deserve more money for doing your job well – that's what you're being paid to do. Impressive things to list could be extra hours you've worked voluntarily, revenue you've raised, initiative you've shown or customer satisfaction you've achieved.

Be professional

Make an appointment to see your manager at a time that is suitable for him or her. In the meeting, thank your manager for taking the time to see you, then get straight to the point. Set out your position by listing the achievements on your list logically and succinctly.

A good strategy might be to ask for more work and responsibility and link this to a pay rise, rather than simply asking for more money to do the same job.

Leave your inner drama queen at home

For you, an extra hundred dollars a week might be an emotional plight, but for the company you work for, your salary is purely a business decision. Think like a business strategist to decide on the best, most effective points to make. Don't threaten to leave or leak company secrets to the local paper.

If you get the thumbs down

Increasing your salary might seem simple to you, but getting it can be dependent on much more than just your performance. Companies must take into account factors like industry growth and the state of the economy. If your request for more money is declined, ask politely for an explanation. Be prepared to negotiate – what you might not get in cash you may be able to get in a company car or extra holidays.

Take courage

To use an oldie, but a goodie, you'll never never know if you never never go! If you honestly believe you have a reasonable basis on which to negotiate your salary, give it a go. Companies value good employees and good managers recognise the benefits of keeping good staff and treating them fairly.

Elizabeth Fenech

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