How do I ask my boss for a pay rise?

It’s more common than you’d ever imagine – you feel like you’ve performed over and above your desired targets, and you feel like your position in the company is now worth more than what you initially accepted. Luckily, we’ve put together a few key tips to ensure that when you sit down to chat about a potential pay-rise, both yourself and management are feeling positive, are understanding, and that you’ll reach a mutually beneficial outcome.


Stage 1.  Understand what was/is expected of you, at your current salary level, and look at any KPI’s (key performance indicators) that you may have. From here, you can calculate just how far you’re over-achieving. For example:

  • You accepted a job 12 Months ago as a Sales Executive at £18,000/year, on the basis that you’d be able to generate £7,500/month in revenue for the organisation.
  • You’ve actually generated an average of £10,000/month in revenue for your company, and as a result, have over achieved by 33%.
You may feel like you’re going above and beyond, but without working out just how much extra you’re doing, your requests for any form of gratification or remuneration could be denied. It’s down to you to prove your proactivity by working things out, and supporting your case.

Stage 2. Be reasonable. In this example, simply by over-achieving by 33% doesn’t mean that you should expect your salary to increase from £18,000 to £24,000 just like that. This, however, is a great starting point for negotiation.

“After overachieving by 33% across the last 12 Months, I do think asking for a 33% pay rise would be unreasonable. What I feel is fair, is that I request a £21,000 basic salary moving forward, which will allow us to meet in the middle of what I’m currently being paid, and what my overachievements suggest I should be paid.”

Stage 3. Timing. Be sensitive when requesting a time to sit down and discuss your salary with your line manager. It’s probably not the best idea to book two hours out of your day when you’re in your busiest period. Equally, if you feel like Friday afternoons are the quietest periods for yourself and your organisation, ask to sit down then. It’ll allow you both to sit down with a clear mind, and to justify, negotiate and come to an agreement properly, with clear minds, rather than rushing through the meeting so that you’re not missing any future deadlines. Equally, an annual review is a great opportunity, and probably the most popular time for employees to review performance, request package/salary changes, and to look ahead into setting up the next 12 months.


Stage 4. Listen. You may feel like you’ll have to pitch to your manager for hours-on-end to convince him to offer you a pay rise, based on your overachievements for the previous twelve months. In-fact, this will actually be quite the opposite. Create a calm, strong case for your pay rise using the above points, and listen to what your manager has to say. Listen to any objections you may receive, and listen to any barriers that may get in the way of this pay-rise. If you’ve properly reviewed your performance, and have been reasonable in what you’re expecting, you shouldn’t see many barriers or objections, but by listening to the other half of the conversation, you’ll be able to understand a third-party point of view, and to receive external analysis on your performance too. Asking for a pay-rise is simply a conversation, based upon justification, with a spicy touch of evidence.


Stage 5. Remember. Remember that money isn’t everything when it comes to being happy in your job. Right now, it probably is key for you, but three months after you’ve received your pay-rise and you’ve run out of holiday days in the year, or have found out that your bonus targets are unrealistic, or you’re not receiving any gratification of the work you do, the sweet taste of your pay-rise has suddenly become bitter, when you realise you focused primarily on money.

Be sure to understand what your happiness triggers are, and be sure to create a matrix of offers that satisfy these. This could include things like a £2,000 pay-rise, and an extra three days of holiday/year. Or this could be keeping your basic salary the same, but significantly increasing your annual bonus, as you know you’re overachieving, and that it’s a realistic goal.
As an overview, be sure to:
  1. Calculate your overachievement.
  2. See both sides, be reasonable.
  3. Timing. Be understanding of when to have your meeting. Don’t let it hinder daily operations.
  4. Listen. Listen to barriers, objections, solutions.
  5. Remember your long-term triggers. (Select Jobs) is a UK job search platform allowing jobseekers free, quick and unlimited access to the newest jobs on the market, and allowing Recruiters a Job Advertising platform that’s the first of it’s kind in the online talent attraction/candidate generation industry.

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