What? You want a pay rise?
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By Cheryl Lyon-Hislop
Well, don’t we all? Once you’ve started work, this can be a tricky area of negotiation. Firstly, ask
yourself, why do you want a pay rise and list your reasons, but please don’t just state that it’s
because you want more money to buy a car, or to go on holiday. That’s hardly a successful
Your reason may be clear. If you see a huge differential between your pay and that of co-workers,
you would stand a better chance of being successful, if you were performing as well as, if not better,
than they are. Maybe they have a different or scarce skill set that isn’t obvious. This is why you need
to do your research.
There are all kinds of salary checkers available on the internet. Look at advertised roles in your
industry as well, but benchmark capability and knowledge as well as salary.
Be honest when you do this and try not to over-elevate your skill levels! Also bear in mind, that
some countries, e.g. the UK, have legislation in place in the form of Equality Act 2010, where equal
value should equate to equal pay. If this applies you, you can add this as a bargaining point.
- Company Pay Review Process
This may be obvious, but are you familiar with how your company rewards you? Some companies
have fixed review points during the year, or have a determined pay increase in percentages for
differing levels of performance. Any salary increase for you will depend on how well your sector and
employer are doing too. You also need to be aware of what constitutes exceptional performance as
well as poor, to be in with a chance of making the pitch realistic. Be prepared to compromise if there
genuinely isn’t the salary budget; ask for training and development, or other benefits instead.
We’re talking about pulling together letters or emails of praise, customer testimonials, and previous
Performance Review ratings. With most managers, you’ll need an arsenal of proof!
Once you have practised a well-documented pitch, don’t be nervous as it will reduce the impact of
your case immediately. Ask for what you want and add a little more than that. The chances are, if
your manager is going to say ‘yes’, they may bargain too, and you might get the rise you hoped for
anyway. Try this tactic if you have gathered evidence to show you aren’t being paid market rates.
Just don’t be completely unrealistic, it might be more than your manager earns!
- Pick an Appropriate Time and Place for the Conversation
Set up a meeting in advance and highlight the fact you want to talk about your role and rewards. It is
much better than ambushing your manager, at what could be a busy time for them, and when they
haven’t had time to get into the zone of the conversation. Don’t elaborate too much, or state you
are going to ask about a pay rise. Also don’t allow the meeting to be postponed either; that is
Try to take the meeting somewhere neutral and private, and book the room yourself, so there is a
sense of equality, rather than hierarchy.
If you have done all of that, the less likely you’ll get a response similar to the title of this blog!
However, getting a ‘no’ could be more useful than you think. Managers should always explain why
someone didn’t get a pay rise. If that doesn’t happen, you have to ask what your manager what you
have to do to get what you want next time. If you get an unexplained ‘no’ it could confirm what you
already suspected – it is time to move on. Don’t make any threats to leave, but start job-hunting
armed with the knowledge another company out there will value you more than your current one!