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The secret to getting a pay rise

MoneyMagpie team 15th Jul 2019 3 Comments

Reading Time: 6 minutes

How do you pluck up the courage to ask for that dreaded pay rise?

Is it even possible in these low-pay, post-recessionary times?

If you feel you’ve waited long enough for that much-needed cash boost, here’s how to go about getting it.


The wages situation

In the UK there has been an increase in work opportunities and employment has improved significantly since the financial crash.

Wages are going up slightly, though in real terms they’re still not at the point they were in 2007.

So, it’s not the easiest time to ask for a rise but it’s not impossible to get a pay rise, depending on the company you work for.


How to ask for a pay rise – step by step

We’ve spoken to award-winning business author Catherine Kaputa for tips on how to get a pay rise.

The secret to getting a pay rise

1. Do you think your boss is a mind-reader?

Most people think that if your boss sees you working hard they’ll just hand a pay rise to you or give you a pay rise when you have your pay review. It doesn’t work that way unfortunately.

It’s much more likely that your boss is busy thinking about his or her own pay rise!

So first easy step, schedule a meeting with your boss asking to discuss your pay.


2. You are the greatest…aren’t you?

So the scheduled meeting has arrived…don’t be daunted!

  • Have some confidence and most importantly express to your boss what you are doing right and how you are helping the company to develop and grow.
  • Emphasise how and in what ways you are benefiting the company and making your fellow employees lives easier.
  • Are you exceeding expectations and being applauded on your performance? If yes, this is a good sign and shows that you are succeeding in your role, doing a great job and hopefully on the road to getting a good pay rise.


3. Show your evidence

It’s a good idea to keep a diary of your everyday working life and record when you have gone one step beyond for the company.

Look closely at your job description and make a list of any additional tasks you do.

  • Are you taking on extra responsibility and being supportive of co-workers and new team workers?This will contribute significantly to a pay rise when you have personal annual reviews with your managers and pay reviews.

Simply, make sure you have supportive, effective evidence if you are going to ask for a pay rise.

Interestingly, men are 8 times more likely to ask for more money during a salary negotiation than women. So if you’re a woman reading this….man-up!


4. Remember that fortune favours the brave

You won’t get paid more unless you ask for it.

Summoning up the courage to ask for a pay rise can be very difficult for some people.

However, you may well be entitled to a rise and you have nothing to lose by asking.

Remember it is your right to ask and it is a reasonable request. So get out of the mind set that nice people don’t ask for a pay rise! 

Asking pays off. On average, people who ask, get a 12% bump over what they were initially offered


5. Eyeball ’em!

Make sure you ask your boss in person for a pay rise.

This will show you are the type of person who can negotiate in a professional, business environment and shows you can be assertive in a fair, respectful way.

Just sending a pleading email won’t get you anywhere. In fact it’s generally easier to fob people off on email than it is in person, so pluck up the courage and get that meeting!


6. Er…don’t buy that Ferrari right away

Don’t expect a pay rise instantly.

Even if you feel you deserve one, there might be a particular process the company you work for has to go through in giving employees a pay rise.

  • Ask your boss for a pay rise, but not for now – ask for it to be awarded to you in six months time or, ideally, a shorter period. This shows that you are being reasonable: you have expressed what you want and are willing to work for it. Also, put it in your diary to remind them about it after that period of time.
  • It might be the case that your boss will set you objectives and goals to meet in order to get a rise. Agree on these objectives with your manager, do these and you will hopefully be on the way to getting a higher income.
  • When asking your boss for a pay rise “put the figure you want on the table and ask what you can do together with your manager to get you that figure. Chances are you’ll be given more responsibility and targets to hit in order to achieve the increase


7. Pester, pester, pester

We are only human and we all forget things.

Make sure to email your boss monthly, reminding them of your agreed set objectives, and detail how you have been achieving and working towards meeting them.

Importantly, this will keep the agreement fresh in their minds, demonstrate that you’re committed and shows your progress.


8. Love your company

Many companies have core values so make sure you are knowledgeable about them and talk about how you are fulfilling these in pay reviews with your manager.

Also, make sure to emphasise how you have grown throughout your time at the company. Have you met your set targets and goals? Tell your boss about them.

In other words, make sure you sell yourself

Nervously Allen (CEO of global accounting firm Deloitte) made the decision to confront her boss over the missed promotion, telling him she had done, ‘A, B, C, D successful projects last year’. Her boss responded, ‘Sharon I didn’t know you had done all those things, you never told me’.

She never made that mistake again!

So go ahead and be vocal about your achievements within the workplace.


9. Loyalty doesn’t always pay

When you present your personal pitch for a pay rise, it’s good to have researched similar roles to yours in other companies.

  • Why are they earning more than you?
  • Highlight this to your boss and emphasise that you are performing similar duties and exceeding expectations.
  • Also keep a record of certificates, training courses and, prior to performance reviews, research how the company is doing.
  • Some companies give pay rises on your knowledge of the company’s results and their success, as this shows you have a strong interest and are enthusiastic about the company you work for.


10. Get that cash

The last step is simple.

Arrange a meeting with your boss to review your progress and agree on a pay rise.

Top Tip: Enjoy your pay rise when you’re rewarded it, but remember the importance of saving a bit too. In fact, one really good way to get rich over the long-term is to live one pay-rise behind. So continue to live as if you were still earning what you earned before and invest the rest.

For more tips from Kaputa on how to get promoted, get paid more and be successful take a look here.


If a getting a pay rise really isn’t possible…

Marketing expert, Razwana Wahid, an online business blogger and trainer says ‘When you first ask for a raise, 90% of the time you’ll be told there isn’t any room in the budget for it’.

She encourages workers to keep pushing for it or for other benefits if a pay rise really isn’t possible.

Negotiate with your manager and ask for other possible benefits such as:

  • Additional holiday days in the year
  • Working from home or other more flexible working arrangements
  • Training or qualifications the company pays for
  • Change in working hours – eg. starting earlier and finishing earlier to pick up the kids
  • Possibilities of a financial bonus after a successful project – not an increase in salary but a one-off reward payment for your hard work
  • Sabbatical period where you can do something different (eg- start a side business!)


…and don’t forget you can make extra cash

…even while you’re doing a full-time job.

If you’re interested in making more money on the side have a look at our popular article 44 ideas to make more money…

Also,  if you’re looking for work take a look at our article on how to write a killer CV and another one with 16 top tips if you’ve lost the confidence to go for jobs.

Have you managed to get a pay rise? Maybe you’re just getting ready to pluck up the courage? Tell us in the comments section below!


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4 years ago

A useful article for dealing with this situation.

Keith Clarke - Life Coach X
Keith Clarke - Life Coach X
9 years ago

Some sound advice here. The only one I would disagree with is the using additional tasks as extra responsibility. Doing additional tasks is NOT the same as having more responsibility. There are many reasons a job may have evolved over time and you may find you are doing more ‘tasks’ than before. Chances are, everybody else is too. However if the level of responsibility around the tasks and the number of hours you are spending doing them hasn’t changed, chances are you boss will see it the same way. You haven’t actually taken on extra responsibility. Getting involved in things… Read more »

Marc Crosby
9 years ago

Thanks for this Keith, some really good info!

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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