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Tips on How to Ask for a Pay Rise At Work

Updated on July 18, 2011

How to Ask for a Pay Rise

A lot of people wonder how to ask for a pay rise, and the vast majority get no further than wondering, which means they often end up dissatisfied or feeling under-valued because their boss 'obviously' hasn't realised their worth.

What these people fail to realise is that a pay rise is not a right - it must be earned. The most the majority of employees are entitled to is an annual pay review ~ and if the review finds that the pay being paid is fair then so be it.

Jobs are offered at a particular rate of pay and if you acccept the job you accept that rate of pay. Doing the job to the best of your ability only entitles you to that pay - it is after all the job you have been employed to do.

The point is saying this is that if your reasoning for wanting a pay rise is simply 'cause I haven't had one this year' then you're unlikely to get one now.

So if you're serious about wanting a pay rise you need to realise that the onus is on you to prove why you deserve it - and this proof falls into 2 main categories:

  • Providing value to the company
  • Market Value

 

Do You Deserve a Pay Rise - What is Your Value to the Company

Remember, you are paid for doing what is in your job description, so if that is all you are doing then from an employers point of view you can understand why they would be loathe to give you a pay rise simply for doing your job.

What you need to be able to show is what you are doing above and beyond the confines of your job description - and importantly what impact your actions have had on the company i.e. where have you added value.

Examples may be over-hauling a admin system to increase efficiency, taking on extra responsibilities during the absence of another staff member, clinching a contract or training other members of staff.

You need to be able to state what you did, why you did it and what the on-going value to the company is.

Check Your Market Value

If you pass the first hurdle of being able to show that you are operating above requirement and therefore potentially worthy of a pay increase the next step is to demonstrate you have considered what that pay increase should be.

Think of the 'asking for a pay rise' process as an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to think rationally and objectively and to put together an effective proposal.

Be prepared for your employer to ask you what you would consider a fair pay rise to be. Your employer isn't asking because they're lazy and don't want to work it out themselves, they want to see if you can demonstrate objectivity when it comes to your own skill level.

When coming to a decision about what you believe a fair pay rise would be there are various tools at your disposal you can use:

  • Salary surverys - if you can't find an exact job match use the closest level you can. Use a variety of companies and employment sectors and highlight variations and potential reasons for these.
  • Search job sites for similar positions being advertised in your area or within commuting distance to get an idea of market rate.

 

What To Do If Your Pay Rise is Turned Down

If your request for a pay rise is rejected ask why. It may be that it's bad timing and there isn't money in the pot at that time, or it may be that the process ends with the decision that you are being paid fairly after all.

One thing I would advise is that you think about this situation before you start the process - and you think about what you would do if your request is turned down i.e. will you stay, or look for another job.

Under no circumstances should you threaten to leave if you don't get your pay rise.This is probably the quickest way to finding out just how dispensable you are, and leaves you in a very vulnerable position.

Be professional at all times, and remember that if the result isn't initially what you wanted but spurs you on to bigger and better things then you achieved your goal.

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