Asking for a Pay Rise: What are the Do's and Don’ts?

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Home > Blog > Asking for a Pay Rise: What are the Do's and Don’ts?

If you feel you deserve a pay rise or even just want one to keep up with rising living costs, asking for it – rather than waiting for it to be given – can be the most effective way of securing a higher salary. Mustering up the courage to make the request can be one of the hardest conversations you will ever have with your boss. So, what should you do to increase your success when asking for a pay rise and what should you avoid?

Timing is key

The best time to ask for a pay rise is on or before your next employment anniversary, before the next budget is approved, or towards the end of the financial or calendar year. Outside of these periods it can be more difficult for your superior to seek funding so you may have your request rejected not because you don’t deserve a pay rise but because the funds simply aren’t available.

Undertake some self-reflection

It is important to ascertain why you believe you are entitled to a pay rise so you can form a solid case to support your ask. It is likely that your boss will ask or even allude to some of the questions below, so you should take some time to self-reflect and prepare factual and unemotional responses.

  • Have you helped the organisation increase its revenue or performance?
  • Have you taken on more responsibilities or duties since you last received a pay rise or commenced the role?
  • Have you improved yourself through study or other professional development?
  • Are you being paid in line with the market?
  • Do you deserve a pay rise quantified by your contributions or do you just want a pay rise?

Plan how you’ll make the ask

Without a plan, it is easy to get sidetracked, emotional or to say the wrong thing when meeting with your boss to ask for a raise.

Prepare a few dot points bolstered by proof of your contributions and achievements and be sure to stick to facts rather than speculating about extraneous issues that are unlikely to help you make your case.

When you feel fully prepared, arrange a short but formal catch-up with your boss so that you have their undivided attention. A request made in passing or as part of another conversation may not carry the same weight as a discussion dedicated to your personal and professional development.

Try to keep the discussion on point. The meeting does not need to be long; you should be able to convey your thoughts and answer any of your superior’s questions within 15 minutes. Be clear, concise and use positive, business-like language that expresses your continued commitment to the organisation.

Be prepared with evidence

You should attend the meeting with your boss armed with evidence that supports your request for a pay rise. Take the time to gather information that proves why you deserve a pay rise. This type of information may include positive feedback you have received from colleagues or senior leaders, figures or other indicators that demonstrate how your performance has improved the business or research on the market that shows similar positions at other organisations (or within your own) receive a higher salary than you do.

You should also make sure you have a figure in mind as your boss is likely to ask you what type of pay rise you are expecting. Be realistic about this number as it could make or break your request.

Don’t offer an ultimatum

Threatening to leave your job if you don’t receive a pay rise is rarely a successful way to secure one. Instead, you should be able to convince your employer of your worth without resorting to aggressive tactics and ultimatums. This is not to say you cannot leave if you do not receive a pay rise, just that it should not form part of your conversation with your boss.

If you get knocked back for a pay rise you should not feel disheartened. Ask for feedback as to why to help you make your next move. If it is a budgeting issue, reschedule your meeting for six to 12 months’ time. If you feel as though your contribution is not being appreciated, it may be the right time to move on.

If you are seeking help with understanding your rights in the workplace, please contact our employment lawyers on (07) 4052 0763.

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