Your responsibilities have increased. You’re convinced it’s time for a pay rise but don’t want to barge into your boss’s office and demand more money.  What’s the best way to ask for a raise?

Conduct research

To determine what you’re worth, start with some research. Check job sites online and recruitment ads for comparable positions and see what salaries they’re offering. If you’re working through a recruiter, talk to them about salary ranges.

Assess why you deserve more money

Take time to formulate a case for a pay rise. If you can clearly articulate why you deserve one, you’ll increase your chances of securing one.

Be specific. General statements like ‘I work hard’ don’t cut it. Show how you’ve exceeded targets by x amount or brought in new business worth x amount or quantify your contribution in other ways to be more convincing. Figures and examples work well.

If you can’t quantify what you do with concrete stats, develop examples that illustrate how you’ve improved the business, say by introducing new work practices that have increased efficiencies.

Always mention increased responsibilities and duties if this applies to your position.

Make an appointment with your boss

Make an appointment with your boss, being clear you’d want to talk pay. Give your boss lots of advance warning.

Think about timing. There’s little point in making an appointment during a peak period or on a day when your boss has back-to-back meetings or is under the gun with an important deadline.

Be strategic. If a major initiative that was hugely successful is done and dusted, and you were part of that initiative, then this might be a logical time to discuss a pay rise.

Be realistic

If you propose an unrealistic pay increase proposal, be prepared to be knocked back. Again, research and/or talking to a recruiter will help you decide what’s feasible. The last thing you want is to leave your boss with the impression that you’re simply greedy and wildly unrealistic.

Prepare your pitch

Write down your arguments and the rationale for your request. Include the facts, have supporting documentation, gather appraisals, have your research on hand.

Practice your pitch so you come across as confident when discussing matters with your boss.

Having prepared notes and practising in advance will help you stay on track if your boss tends to stray off topic. No matter how many times they stray or try to fob you off, you’ll be able to refer to your notes to stay on track.

Think laterally

If your company isn’t in a position to pay you more money, think about other rewards or benefits you can negotiate, such as additional leave, a nine-day fortnight or training.

Never threaten

Don’t react badly if your boss says no to your pitch for more pay. Don’t have a fit. Don’t offer an ultimatum or threaten to leave (your boss may just take you up on this). Don’t get emotional and express your bitter disappointment.

Remember, your boss may need some time to process and figure out what options are available. If they think you’re a good employee they’ll do what they can within the constraints of the business to work things out.

If things don’t work out, be professional by thanking your boss for their time and then assess your next options, which could involve moving into a new job elsewhere.

Final tips

  • Don’t barge into your boss’s office and demand more money, as stated at the beginning of this article. Putting your boss on the spot will not be favourably received.
  • Read your company’s pay confidentiality policy before you compare your wage to someone else in your organisation performing the same or similar work. Chances are it’s a breach of company policy to talk openly about what you have heard a colleague is being paid. It could even lead to getting fired.
  • Being in a company or in a job for a long time isn’t a reason for a pay increase, if you’re performing the same duties at the same level as you always have.

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