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Asking your manager for a pay rise can be nerve-wracking, so much so that some people wait for months or even years before asking for what they deserve.
The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with asking for a pay rise that reflects the hard work that you do, but there are some approaches and best practises that will always get better results than others.
Even though your manager has data on the hard work you’ve been doing, you still need to present your case for why you deserve a higher salary and you need to be prepared to negotiate.
This guide will cover: preparing to ask for a pay rise, how/when to ask for and justify it, the right questions to ask, negotiating with your manager and recovering from an unsuccessful request.
You should never ask for a pay rise without preparing for this conversation. No matter how good your relationship is with your manager, they will be expecting you to prove that you deserve the salary you’re asking for and won’t respond favourably if it seems like you did not prepare.
Before broaching the subject of a pay rise, always:
Build Your Case: Look back to recent projects and periods of time where you went beyond what was expected and provided real value for your company. Always use specific performance data when possible.
Know Your Worth: Glassdoor’s Salaries tool gives you insight into what people with your job title in your location are earning. If you are below the normal salary for workers like you, the Salaries tool can be a powerful data point in your negotiations.
Picking the right time to ask for a pay rise is just as important for preparing for this discussion.
When considering a good time to ask for a pay rise, find out when your company’s fiscal budget planning takes place so you can be sure that you aren’t asking for the impossible.
A few great times to ask for a pay rise are:
Annual Performance Reviews: A natural time for this conversation may be at your annual performance review, when the topic of salary is not only timely, but often expected.
After Completing an Important Project: A great time to ask for a pay rise is after successfully completing an important project or showing excellent work.
When Your Manager Is Happy: Asking for a pay rise during a stressful or hectic period will guarantee that your manager is short on time and patience. Wait to ask for a pay rise until the dust has settled and you have, once again, proved your worth.
After preparing your evidence for why you deserve a pay rise and choosing a good time to talk to your manager, it’s important to think about what you’re going to say during your pay rise conversation.
You don’t need to have a strict script, but you do need to be clear and specific in your delivery and it helps to have a few phrases up your sleeve to help guide the conversation.
Justifying your desired salary will be accomplished with specific examples of work done well.
Asking questions of yourself and your manager is important for getting the pay rise that you want.
Questions for Yourself
Questions for Your Manager
If you have chosen an appropriate time to ask for a pay rise and have built your case for a pay rise with specific evidence of your great work, you should expect your manager to give your proposal serious consideration.
You should also expect:
When a manager’s proposal for your pay rise doesn’t match the salary you objectively deserve, it’s time to negotiate for more.
These 5 steps will guide you through this negotiation:
After having a pay rise conversation, it’s crucial that you sustain or even exceed the performance levels that you are using to justify your desired salary.
It’s also crucial that you and your manager are on the same page about any new responsibilities that are coming along with your new pay rise, including:
Sometimes, there will be no room in your company’s budget for a pay rise. When this happens, it’s important to recover gracefully and to set yourself up for a successful pay rise conversation the next time around.
Make a Plan: If you can’t get the pay rise you deserve now, set up a plan with your manager with a specific time-table and specific goals for you to reach your desired salary.
If you have any more questions about asking for a pay rise or calculating the salary you deserve, here are some related articles.