How to ask for a pay rise

How to ask for a pay rise

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Asking for a pay rise is never easy

Asking for a salary increase can be daunting. It’s never easy to approach your boss and ask for more money, especially when budgets are tight. Some find it awkward while others worry that asking for a raise will make them appear demanding. But it doesn’t have to be that way.   
The reality is that asking for a pay rise is a necessary step for anyone who wants to maximise their worth and achieve their financial goals. It shows your employer that you work hard at the contributions you make to the organisation, are committed to your job and want to be compensated for your efforts.
So why is it so difficult to ask for a pay rise? Some people just simply don’t know how to best approach it. From preparing your case to having a contingency plan, we can help you navigate this tricky step in your career.   
Being able to ask for a pay rise is more important than ever. Our Hays Salary Guide demonstrates that the overall value of pay rises is increasing and 95 per cent of employers plan to increase salaries this year. The value of individual salary increases is rarely set in stone, so to make sure you maximise the value of yours, by being prepared for this conversation with your boss.  

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Learn how to ask for a pay rise

Learn how to ask for a pay rise from the experts at Hays in this online video. Discover practical tips and advice to further your career in Australia today.

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Your six-point plan to prepare for a pay rise request. 

1. Prepare your reasoning

For your salary increase request to be successful, you first need to demonstrate to your boss why you deserve the raise. 
It’s not enough to simply point to the increased cost of living. Instead, you need to ensure you have specific and quantifiable evidence to present when asking for a salary increase.   
Start by considering what you’ve achieved since your last pay increase that warrants a raise today? Prepare a list of recent achievements that exceed your current set objectives. It may help to look back at your last performance review or your original job description. Then list any changed or increased work volumes or duties you’re now undertaking and extra projects you’ve been involved in.   
For each accomplishment, align it with how it benefitted the organisation. The aim is to provide strong evidence to justify a pay rise, so focus on outcomes. For example, perhaps you have brought in 22 per cent more business year-on-year, are managing a 25 per cent increase in the overall volume of work or were involved in a project that exceeded objectives. 
Be proud of your work and include examples of achievements that you are particularly proud of. This could include a major milestone you achieved, successful teamwork, or a process improvement that has long-term benefits. 
Whatever evidence you gather, remember to demonstrate the greater value you now bring to your employer.

2. Research comparable salaries  

Next, research the salary you feel your performance and results are worth by reviewing recent salary guides. This allows you to back up your request with evidence from the current market and demonstrate that the salary you are asking for is in line with your market value.

Our Hays Salary Checker is a quick and easy tool that helps you understand typical salaries and your potential earnings based on your job title and location.

3. Set a meeting and keep calm   

Once you have your evidence gathered, ask your manager for a meeting to review your salary. Don't spring this meeting on your boss. Instead, book a time with your manager and let them know that the objective of the meeting is to present your case for a salary review.   
When it comes time for the meeting, maintain a professional manner. Try to avoid becoming too emotional and don’t discuss any personal reasons for why you might need extra money. Instead, present the business evidence you’ve gathered to support your pay rise request. If you’ve gathered appropriate proof, your grounds for an increase will be hard to ignore. List your evidence to help keep the meeting on track, and to write yourself notes to refer to.
Don’t expect an answer straight away when asking for a pay rise. Your boss will likely need to review their budget, talk to HR and compile any necessary documentation before a potential pay increases become official.   
At the end of the meeting, let your boss know that you’ll follow up with an email summarising your request. Your email should cover the main points you presented and discussed. This provides a written record of the conversation and ensures there’s no room for confusion or misunderstanding. 

4. This is a two-way conversation  

Coming to the meeting with high expectations of big increases could put your manager on the back foot. You want a positive reaction from your manager when asking for a pay rise, so present your reasons, and then actively listen to their feedback. 

You will have your own points you want to get across but be mindful that this is a conversation, and your manager may have valuable feedback for you that can be used to work towards more success in the future.

5. Be willing to negotiate  

Your boss may want to negotiate the value of your salary increase, so be prepared to discuss the salary you feel your results, and market value, are worth. Throughout this conversation, remember your justifications for asking for a pay rise in the first place. 
Also, consider how much you are willing to compromise – it can help to have a salary range in mind instead of a single figure, with a top and a bottom amount that you think would be fair. 

6. Have a contingency plan  

You should also have a fall-back position in case your employer cannot afford to increase your salary at this point in time. For example, can you agree on a date for pay review in three or six months time? Or could your boss instead offer additional benefits, such as paying for additional study or membership of a professional body, or providing you with extra annual leave?

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How to ask for a raise with another job offer  

A tactic that’s often used to negotiate a pay rise is to leverage a job offer from another organisation. This can be risky because, even when going about it professionally, you are essentially indicating that you intend to leave unless your employer offer you a higher salary.   
Some argue that this tactic is unethical, while others say there’s a time and place for leveraging another offer when your reasonable requests for a pay rise have been repeatedly denied.   
Regardless of your view, if your employer won’t budge on your salary despite your best efforts, it may be time to consider your options externally.  

Consider upskilling  

Learning new skills demonstrates to your employer that you’re not just committed to excelling at your current job, but you’re eager to offer even more value to the organisation. Achieving a pay rise is often easier if you take on greater responsibilities thanks to the additional training you’ve undertaken. Hays Learning offers free learning resources that can help you upskill to remain competitive in your industry.

How often should you get a pay rise?

Typically organisations will perform an annual review of an employee’s performance as well as their salary, they are not obligated to deliver a pay rise in these reviews. Other organisations may be more flexible in their approach to this, so there is no one answer to this question.  
You should also only look to ask for a pay rise after you’ve been with your current employer for more than a year. This allows you time to prove that you’re a valuable asset to the organisation. 
If you’re unsure of when you should be asking for a pay rise, see if your skills put you in line for a salary increase by visiting our online Salary Checker to view the highest, typical and lowest salaries for your job.   

Ready to ask for your next pay rise?  

Following these tips on how to ask for a pay rise will help ensure you’re adequately prepared for your next salary discussion and make the best case possible. Remember to project confidence and, no matter what happens, maintain a positive, professional attitude.