How to ask for that pay rise

Biting the bullet and asking for a pay rise can enhance your career as well as your pay packet by showing your boss that you take your job and career seriously.

3 Oct 2017

Talking about money is often still a taboo subject, particularly at work. But being a good worker who never asks for anything won’t get you anywhere. Biting the bullet and asking for a pay rise can enhance your career as well as your pay packet by showing your boss that you take your job and career seriously. And knowing how to best tackle the process can have a big impact on your success.

Schedule a meeting

As daunting as discussing a pay rise face to face may be, this type of conversation is best discussed in person. Don’t strike up a conversation with your boss in the elevator though, schedule a meeting with them so they have time to prepare.

Highlight the reason for the meeting in the email, that way your boss will know what to expect and you can get down to business straight away. If you’re not comfortable scheduling a meeting for a ‘pay rise’ try using some softer language like ‘salary review’ to take the edge off.

Be prepared

Do your homework. Don’t go into the meeting without a clear idea of how you’re going to argue your case. Your boss isn’t going to give you more money just because you asked for it. You need to prove why you’re worth the extra investment you’re asking for.

First, research the current pay rates in your industry and highlight if you’re being paid below the industry average. Then, use clear examples to demonstrate how you’ve gone above and beyond in your job by using initiative, improving business or supporting the wider team. It also helps if you can quantify your contributions. For example, by increasing sales, implementing cost savings, or exceeding targets.

Know your worth

The other thing you need to prepare is exactly how much you’re going to ask for. Don’t just go in and ask for a pay rise, be specific and have an exact figure in mind that you’re asking for. If you’ve done your industry research you should have a good idea of what your experience and skills are worth, so use that to guide you to a specific number.

You also need to decide on your negotiation technique. Will you ask for what you want up front and stand firm, or will you ask for more than you want and be willing to negotiate down?

Communication is key

The way you communicate during your pay review is also important. Although this can be a tricky subject, if you remember to stay calm, relaxed and in control you’ll have a better chance of getting the result you want. Don’t overstate your case. Name your terms, outline your supporting evidence, allow your boss to have their say, and be willing to compromise if things don’t go your way.

Make sure you stay in control and frame the conversation as a business proposal rather than a personal conversation. Above all else, don’t get defensive or angry and avoid using emotional language such as ‘I want.’ Instead, use matter of fact phrases like ‘I’ve achieved’ or ‘I deserve’.

Don’t give ultimatums

It’s not advisable to threaten to leave unless you intend to follow through on the threat. Your manager won’t enjoy being backed into a corner and if things don’t go your way, you’ll either have to quit an otherwise good job or eat your words and stay.

What if they say no?

Most managers don’t want to lose good employees so if your request is reasonable they’ll most likely try their best to accommodate it.

If you do get a ‘no’ make sure you ask for an explanation. Something along the lines of ‘what would I need to do to receive the pay rise I was looking for?’ would be a good start. If your manager seems on board but says a pay rise is out of the question, there may be other things you can ask for. More flexible hours, additional training, or a computer upgrade might be things they have the capacity to deliver on.

Finally, make sure to schedule in a time for your next pay review in six or 12 months time. Show your manager you’re serious about this and they may reward your persistence with a pay rise in the future.

How to improve your chances

Improving your qualifications and skills can be a great way to improve your chances of getting the pay rise you want. Whether it’s completing a short course that complements your skills, having your existing skills recognised through RPL, or upgrading your skills through a higher level qualification, TAFE Queensland can help you progress your career and get that pay rise you deserve.

If you’re ready to enhance your qualifications then check out our full range of courses or contact us today.

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