Career guides
3 min

How To Ask For A Payrise

Asking for a pay rise is something none of us likes to do, we are not very accustomed to talking about money, and it’s often a taboo subject. However, when it comes to your career, you must have conversations about salary and become comfortable with doing so. Pip Jamieson, founder of The Dots says: “No one ever got fired asking for a pay rise! The worst thing that can happen is you just don’t get what you ask for”.

According to the Office for National Statistics, UK workers received an average pay increase of 3.3% at the end of 2018. To justify the extra cash you’re asking the company for, you will want to feed the right time to plead your case, and prove you have earned it.

Career Tips

1. Know Your Worth

It is important to take the time to work out how your salary ranks. This way, you will have all the information you need to make your case.

Supply and Demand: Your industry may be facing a skills shortage, if so this may be enough to push up your rate.

Transferable Skills: You are not only valuing yourself for the job you’re in – you’re valuing your potential. Could your skills earn you earn more in another industry?

Experience: Are your client relationships strong, and do you have training experience? Are you the go-to person for insider knowledge? If so, these things get you above and beyond and might justify a higher-than-average salary.

Speak to us: We are experienced at negotiating deals for candidates and will have a strong idea of what businesses close are willing to pay.

2. How to make a case for your pay rise

When you have a good idea of your value, try and look at the specifics. Being able to explain exactly why you think you are worth more is essential in convincing management to give you that pay raise.


Time to think about the measurable result and qualifications you can bring to the table.

  • Training and qualifications
  • Technical skills – are you the only one who can do something?
  • Job Milestones – Have you got consistently high sales figures, won new clients or made financial savings?
  • New innovations- Have you helped introduce new software, systems or management structures? If so, the company may rely on you to keep them running smoothly.

Soft Skills

Aside from facts and figures, soft skills are important to any company

  • Teamwork – If you are the key to making your department tick. If so, make sure you have examples of your worth such as conflicts you have settled
  • Timekeeping – If you are always on time and manage your time well, it shows dedication and sets others a positive example.
  • Flexibility – Are you willing to travel, work overtime if necessary and adapt to client demands?

3. Market Value

Are there any specifics in your industry, region or job that make you hard to replace? These can work to lift your market value.

  • Skill Shortages – Which industries are facing major skill shortages, are they going to be keen to keep you?
  • Job Adverts – Are there lots of adverts for people like you?
  • Transferable Skills – Your skills could be very valuable in other roles.

4. Industry Reputation

This is about showing your boss how respected you are in your field.

  • Publicity – Articles about you or that you have written or any awards you have won.
  • Professional Social Media Profiles – Is your LinkedIn followed by many industry people showing your influence is valued?
  • Contact recruitment consultants or rival businesses – Have you been headhunted or approached by other businesses or agencies?

5. Timing is Everything

It is best not to ask for a pay rise more than once a year, so pick your moment to ask wisely.


Be ready for negotiations. Tie up loose ends like unfinished projects or something you have put on hold. Be proactive, think about your role, and note ideas about your future at the company. You could even ask them to email your boss good feedback on your work.

When is the right time?

The best time might be during your performance review, especially if you have pulled off any impressive accomplishments since your last review. The end of the financial or calendar year is another time to discuss pay. These are times when the business is assessing results and may be amenable to making salary increase decisions.

6. What if there isn’t a good time?

Sometimes there isn’t a natural moment to ask for a pay rise. If you have to schedule a meeting yourself:

  • Book at least half an hour for a proper discussion
  • Avoid meeting close to project deadlines or other stressful dates
  • Meet just after lunch – after morning stress and before the afternoon starts
  • Avoid mentioning pay when booking the meeting

Presenting the request

It’s natural to be nervous, but if you have prepared your case, there are many ways to stay in control.

What to say

  • Talk about the skills and successes you’ve documented – without bragging.
  • Ask for more than you expect, but don’t be unreasonable. If they agree immediately, you will be left wondering if you could have got more. You also don’t want to seem greedy and ill-informed.
  • Don’t threaten to quit unless pay truly is a deal-breaker. Be ready to listen and compromise.

How to behave

  • Make sure you dress the part and show your aspirations to help your boss visualise you in a more senior role.
  • Be aware of your body language. Mimicking posture and gestures engage a person, helping to get them on site.

What to expect

  • There will probably be some resistance, so make sure you have a good argument.
  • You may not get an answer right away. The bigger the company you work for, the longer the process will take. Make sure you ask to be kept up to date.
  • If you are considering your options or have a job offer on the table, you might give them a deadline for their answer. It applies some pressure and makes them more likely to act.

7. Alternative Expectations – promotions, benefits, and perks

According to a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, most workers now care more about meaning and fulfilment than money. If that is you, discussing a pay rise might be a good time to discuss career progression or work-life balance.

Role Changes

If your company can’t offer more money, they may be able to improve your working life in other ways, so try and be open to discussions in the following areas:

  • Workplace development – You may be offered training to reach the next level in your career.
  • Work-life balance – More flexible working hours, more holidays or the ability to work from home.
  • New responsibilities – Taking on a new challenge or making a job description clearer and less stressful can make your role more pleasant.

Company Benefits

Non-cash forms of remuneration can sometimes work out better than a salary increase, depending on your situation.

  • Performance-related bonuses – These may be delivered when you hit certain targets.
  • Pension Contribution – Increasing pension payments now could have a big impact on retirement funds
  • Company Car – This can be a useful perk if you don’t want sole responsibility for financing, maintaining and upgrading your vehicle.
  • Travel allowances – Some companies will cover the cost of public transport
  • Healthcare – Private health or life insurance and gym memberships can be a worthwhile perk

8. What should you do if you don’t get a pay rise?

It is not necessarily the end of the world if your request is refused; there are still tried and tested pathways to greater recognition and reward, whether you’re looking for more money or considering getting a promotion.

Professional study is a good way to improve employability and earning power. Try asking your boss if they’re willing to invest in your development instead; if so, this might open up your career path more. Local job centres, industry-specific organisations, and unicorns can help you get the qualifications needed to improve your prospects. They may even help you entirely retrain for a new role or industry.

9. How to ask for a pay rise – eight short steps to success

  1. Calculate your market value by comparing your job with similar roles elsewhere.
  2. Build a business case around quantifiable, demonstrable skills, qualifications and workplace results.
  3. Tie up loose ends that could count against you, like unfinished projects.
  4. Time your request to fit in with employee appraisals or company year-end. Your boss will be in a better position to make a decision.
  5. Make sure you arrange a meeting of at least half an hour with your boss, ideally during a stress-free spell, so you have enough time and energy to make your argument.
  6. Present your case clearly and unemotionally, being reasonable and ready to compromise throughout the meeting.
  7. Consider any offers seriously. Benefits, perks and on-the-job training may be just as valuable as a salary increase.
  8. Plan your next steps, just in case your request is refused. That could involve new training and study or look for a better role elsewhere.

If you would like any more advice, then don’t hesitate to get in touch

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