- Asking for a pay rise can feel like a mysterious and daunting, especially during the current economic uncertainty.
- If you and the business are performing well, it’s always worth fighting your corner.
- But don’t just bowl into a meeting and ask: you need to pitch your request and time it correctly.
- Scroll on for the 6 things you should do to prepare before asking for more money — including steeling yourself for a rejection.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Requesting a pay rise is something of an art, and your success will sometimes depend on factors outside your control like the performance of the business and whether it’s the right time.
It’s daunting at the best of times, and especially at a time of economic crisis.
But it’s still worth fighting your corner, and doing a little prep before you make the request will radically increase your chances of a “Yes.”
We spoke to recruitment and career experts on what you should do to prepare:
Ask yourself if now is the right time
First out start by researching how exactly the company is performing by checking accounts on the company website, public records like the UK’s Companies House, and doing some digging on Google.
“If it’s currently experiencing growth then your manager may be more open to discussing an increase in your salary — especially if your performance contributed to the company’s growth,” says James Reed, chairman of recruiter Reed.
Do your homework
You want to come armed with the knowledge of what other workers (whether in your company or outside) in your role are commanding.
Start by investigating salaries across your industry via job boards or via dedicated salary comparison tools.
“This will give you an idea of what you can reasonably request based on competitor roles to evidence your reasoning,” says Reed.
Why not also speak to your colleagues to find out what kind of figure they’d suggest? “The ‘unspoken rule’ of not discussing pay-related matters with colleagues is a pathology we need to eradicate,” says Natalie Montgomery, career development coach and founder of Almara Consulting Group. Instead she says, “engage in open dialogue with trusted colleagues — ideally within the same role and rank as you.”
Timing is everything
You can increase your chances of receiving a pay rise if you ask at the right time.
“Negotiating a pay rise during your employer’s performance review period is likely to increase your chances of getting one,” says Montgomery, who followed her own advice and did just this early in her career she worked as an executive assistant and was handling an increased workload. “I negotiated a pay rise with my manager during the business’ performance review period, which resulted in my raise taking immediate effect.”
Create a compelling business case
When speaking to your boss, you need to bring hard facts to the table. How much business did you bring to the company in the past year? Did you help grow membership or perhaps reduce outgoings?
Showing some form of data or presentation around what you have achieved so far is really important, says Priya Unwith, group head of people, at digital agency LAB Group. “It shows value to your manager and more importantly gives you a greater understanding of how you can pave your career at the organization that you are in,” she says.
“Draw up a list of some of your recent achievements and identify the knowledge and experience you bring to your role and the direct benefits that has had for the business,” says Reed.
Don’t just focus on what you’ve achieved in the past. Highlight what you will offer in the near and long-term future. “Offering to increase your responsibilities, promising a greater output and taking on other daily duties are all good ways to prove that your pay rise is good value for money for your employer,” says Reed.
Know your worth
Confidence is key when negotiating a pay rise. “The better prepared you are before speaking to your manager or HR, the more confident you will come across in presenting your points clearly and effectively,” says Montgomery. “An employee that knows their worth and how much value they’re adding to their place of work does not go unseen within meetings of this nature.”
If your manager doesn’t grant you a pay rise, which could be due to a lack of funds, consider requesting non-financial alternatives. “You could ask for more paid leave or employee benefits,” says Reed.
Do use the opportunity to find out what you can do to increase your chances of securing a pay rise and discuss possible timelines, says Reed, who adds a final word of advice in that if you decide to leave the business, your existing employer will also be an important reference in any job application and you may meet them again — so it’s important to always remain professional.