How To Ask For A Pay Rise

Published: June 23, 2010
By: Faye Hollands

At this time of year a lot of pay reviews are taking place, and after some turbulent times many people are now feeling better placed to talk to their boss about a pay rise.  However, longevity or the expectation of an automatic annual increase isn’t reason enough to feel confident that you’ll see an boost in your bank balance so it’s important you know how to promote yourself well when it comes to asking for a raise…


If you really want a positive outcome when you ask that all-important question, you need to be thoroughly prepared beforehand.  Walking in and ranting on about how “everyone else is getting paid more” won’t help your case, and in fact will probably do more damage than good.  Just like writing a great resume, or putting together a business proposal, you need to show your boss how you add value rather than focusing solely on what YOU want out of the working-relationship.

Here are 3 simple steps you must take before asking for a pay-rise: –

1.  Be Clear On Your Contributions

Just because you’ve worked for a company for donkey’s years doesn’t mean you deserve an increase, not does simply turning up for work everyday.  If you’re going to ask for a rise you need to be able to clearly articulate what you have contributed to your team and business that justifies why you’re worth more money.  If you can’t do that then why should your boss give you more moolah?

Consider how you have impacted the organisation’s bottom-line – how have you saved or made the company money?  Have clear, specific examples that back-up your request and make sure you have then written down so that you are fully prepared.

2.  Leave Your Emotions At The Door

Getting in a state, crying or shouting won’t help your case.  This is a business transaction and it’s important you view it that way.  If you go into the conversation prepared, with facts and figures to back up your case, you are more likely to leave your emotions at the door because you’ll feel confident in what you have to say.  On the other hand, being unprepared, feeling unsettled and focusing on any frustration you might be experiencing is more likely to lend itself to an emotional conversation which won’t put you in the most professional light.  This is purely business, treat it that way.

3.  Know Your Worth

As well as knowing how you’ve helped your organisation’s value, it’s also important to know what you’re worth in today’s market.   Nowadays it’s super-easy to find out how you’re positioned by checking on-line salary surveys, advertised jobs and talking to recruiters.  Don’t assume you know what the going-rate is – find out the facts so that you have quality information to back up your case.

On top of these 3 key points, it’s also in your best interests to choose an appropriate time to talk to your boss (i.e. not straight after bad results are announced!), forget about making ultimatums unless you’re really willing to stick to them, and always have a back-up plan.  If a pay rise isn’t a viable option think about what you are willing to negotiate on and try to keep an open mind – perhaps extra vacation days, a company car or the opportunity to study might do the trick.

But above all, you’ve got to be in it to win in, which means you need to have the courage to ask.  What’s the worst that could happen?  If your boss says ‘no’ then your situation hasn’t actually changed so you haven’t lost anything, but if you get a ‘yes’ then your effort will be well-rewarded!

Faye Hollands

About Faye Hollands

Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success. To receive weekly articles to improve your career, business and time management skills click here or book your Free Focus Session here.

You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email

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