The dos and don'ts of asking for a pay rise

By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

26 May 2016

According to recent research, almost a quarter of UK employees who feel underpaid would rather find another job than ask for a pay rise. Even so, more than half of those surveyed plan to do just that in 2016.

If it's gotten to the point where your performance outstrips your pay, follow our guide to the dos and don'ts for making your case for a bigger wage packet.

Do... Find out what you're worth

If you are already at the top end of what your contemporaries earn then your pay is unlikely to go any higher.

Be sure to check out job listings for similar positions to your own. The advertised salaries will give you an idea of the market standard and what you should expect.

Websites like PayScale will also do a free comparative analysis of your salary based on your experience, hours, benefits and qualifications.

Open negotiations at a reasonable upper value so your manager has somewhere to go and remember your company size and location will be a factor.

"Given my skill set and level of experience, I would hope to be earning something closer to this number. Does that seem negotiable to you?"

Don't... Pick a bad time

Make sure you schedule a chat with your boss when they won't be distracted by other things.

The obvious opportunity to discuss pay would be at your performance review but, depending on your workplace policy, that may be some time away.

Making an appointment towards the end of the calendar or financial year may make it easier as your company will be taking stock of their assets and forecasts anyway.

Avoid Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. If you know about specific deadlines they are working to, wait until they have passed.

"Can we put something in the calendar for a one-to-one? I have a few things I would like to discuss regarding my role within the company."

Do... Come prepared

Enter the meeting with a clear list of your recent achievements.

If you have taken on more responsibilities or been involved in notable projects, present a case for the positive impact your hard work has had. Has fee income in your division increased? Has productivity risen?

Keep your original job description in mind. If you have clearly gone above and beyond, emphasise your expanding role.

Also keep a record of any instances where you were singled out for praise, either by your manager, a colleague or a senior member of staff.

"I feel like my work has been to a consistently high standard and I hope that is something you agree with as my manager. On this project, for example, I have undertaken a lot of responsibility and have yielded good results."

Don't... Give an ultimatum

Even if your decision to remain at the company relies on getting a better salary, you don't want to leave on a bad note.

Feeling undervalued is never a good thing but threatening to leave if your demands aren't met will come across as aggressive and immature.

Bear in mind that if you decide to find employment elsewhere, you will likely be relying on your current manager for a reference.

Try to get feedback on the reasons for turning you down and take them under advisement.

"I am sure you can understand that I want my efforts to be recognised in some way."

Do... Discuss alternatives

A pay rise might not be in your manager's power to give you.

If this is the case, be sure to set a date for future discussions when the company is in a stronger position or the budget has more wiggle room.

However, if you have been able to make a good case for yourself, there may be other options open to you.

Extra holiday time, more flexible hours or even company shares can make attractive alternatives when put on the table.

"Could we come to a compromise on a different kind of reward? Are there any extra benefits you think I may qualify for?"

Don't... Forget to follow up

Whether you get a yes or a no, it's a good idea to create a paper trail.

Compose an email confirming any amount, timeframe or compromise that was agreed upon. This will act as a reference should any problems arise.

If you decided to meet again at a later date, put the appointment in writing.

There is, of course, also a chance that your pay rise could be backdated to when it was first agreed!

"Thank you for taking the time to discuss this. I will forward you my notes, just to make sure we are on the same page."

Have you ever asked for a pay rise? Tell us how you approached it in the comments below.


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