How to get a pay rise - a few simple steps

Posted on 15 December 2012

In order to ensure success it's important to do some research and to prepare your case for a pay rise in advance. The more prepared you are, the more likely you are to come out of a pay review meeting feeling a lot happier.

Here's a simple guide at to improve your chances of getting a well-earned pay rise.

Before you start:

Know what you're worth in the market

  • check market rates for your skills, education and experience in your city
  • is your industry and job function currently in demand?
  • realistically, are you an above average performer?

Know what your role is worth to the company

Regardless of how smart you are and what your potential is, there is limit on how much the company can pay for any particular role. Maybe you've got a good degree and think you'd be a great manager - that's not going to matter if you're currently employeed as an analyst. You can't expect a manager's pay packet until you're promoted into an actual managerial role. Your best bet here is to aim for promotion by actively taking initiative and consistently taking on more responsibility than what your current role demands.

Align your goals with those of the company

  • ensure your goals are aligned with those of the company, at least over the medium term
  • your boss needs to feel that you're going to stick around, be happy, and continue contributing well to the growth of the company

Have leverage!

It really helps if your company needs you to stay

  • build unique product knowledge
  • build excellent customer relationships
  • be inspirational and innovative

Of course having another job offer can help, though this can backfire at times as it may seem that you're not very committed.

Have the support of high-level managers and colleagues

  • network well - make sure your boss's boss knows about you
  • make your boss look good - that way they're more likely to talk positively about you to other managers

Choose your timing carefully

  • you've got a better chance of getting a pay rise after having a string of wins on the job (+ make sure your boss knows about them)
  • choose a time when the company is on a roll
  • avoid pushing for a pay rise after the company has lost a key contract, or just before big employee holiday expenses

Build a case for a pay rise:

Document your successes

  • do you consistently complete tasks ahead of schedule? Prove it!
  • is your work always of a high quality? Prove it!
  • do you go beyond the call of duty, putting in extra hours to ensure success? Prove it!
  • have you saved the company money? Prove it!

Gather endorsements

  • ask for endorsements from business partners and colleagues

Having written endorsements of your professional work ethic and accomplishments gives your boss some ammunition when justifying your proposed salary increase to upper management.

Establish what salary to aim for

  • be clear in your mind about what amount of pay rise is reasonable
  • don't ask for too much, else you'll come across as greedy, arrogant or out of touch with reality
  • but, don't undersell yourself either
  • be prepared to negotiate a little
  • try the salaries income calculator to work out what your cash-in-hand would be for a variety of different salaries

Go for it!

Schedule a pay review meeting

  • chose the right time to approach your boss - it's best if she's in a good mood and not overwhelmed with work
  • ask for some time within the next couple of days to discuss your future in the company. Don't expect your boss to drop everything and give you a pay review right that minute (be prepared, just in case!), but don't let your boss push back more than a week away.

Present yourself well during the meeting

  • be positive, tidy, and responsive
  • start with some small talk (not too much) and reinforce how much you enjoy working at the company, with all of the opportunities and challenges that it offers
  • mention some of your achievements and show that you're keen to do even more

Ask for the raise

  • let your boss respond, even if there's a big pause
  • your boss may need to "check with upper management", but try to get his or her support during the meeting and put a timeline on getting an answer

Express your thanks

Whatever happens, thank your boss for listening to you, and leave the meeting with a positive attitude

Make your own luck!


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