How to Get a Pay Rise

How to Get a Pay Rise

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Psychologists have long proclaimed the common phrase that “the fear of rejection is one of our deepest fears.”  We all have an incident in life where we’ve faced rejection, with relationships topping the list. And, just like relationships, careers, too, have their fears of rejection.

When applying for a job, we fear getting a rejection in form of a regret. However, unlike job applications, where the applicants are many and you are all competing for the same position, employees fear facing rejection for requesting for a pay rise. So, most employees are often searching for material on how to ask for a pay rise.

As you select a course from the available online business courses, you’ll be lucky to get a job. How will you negotiate for your pay rise?

1. Plan Early

Preparations for a pay rise start before you ask for one. If you’re working for an organisation that has regular reviews, capitalise on them to lay the foundation for the pay rise request. It doesn’t hurt to ask your manager to review you, especially if you’ve been handling a big project. You can arrange a “pre-request” meeting and use it to lay the groundwork for a pay rise discussion.

2. Set Your Targets

If you have an opportunity of having a “pre-request” meeting, use it to set the targets you’ll achieve to justify your pay rise. Your goals must be precise, clear and documented. So, have a checklist of actionable points that you can use to plan how you will work. Ensure that your targets are SMART, meaning that they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Also, allow your boss to dictate most of the targets, but ensure that they are attainable. Don’t let your boss set any goals that you cannot achieve.

3. Hit Your Targets

Wow, you now have your goals, collaboratively done with your supervisor. The ball is in your court. With a performance appraisal framework available, you now need to focus on how you will meet the realistic targets.

If, by any chance, you haven’t attained your targets by a particular time, don’t give up. Just approach your boss and set new goals in light of your progress. Alternatively, you can wait for an impending evaluation and justify why you failed to meet the target. However, choosing the latter option demands that you honestly prove that there were disruptive circumstances that derailed you. Also, you can vividly explain that even though you didn’t meet the target, the wider industry also faced some challenges.

4. Determine the Best Timing

First, acknowledge that your manager may not be in a position to give you a pay rise. Typically, managers have to wait for approval from other sections of the company and have minimal control over the timing of your possible pay rise. So, take time to know when your company is structuring its budgets, and schedule your request around that period.

Make good use of the time you are waiting to make your request to excel. The period offers you a chance to approach your supervisor about an additional project you want to tackle. You can use the time to create an impressive portfolio that you will showcase when you finally face the boss.

5. Request for a Pay Rise

Research from recruiting software company Jobvite reveals that “only 29 percent of job seekers negotiated their salary at their current or most recent job.” The findings show that a whopping 71 per cent of employees are not negotiating their salary. After the negotiating, 84 per cent of those who asked for a higher pay succeed in getting it. Interestingly, most of the workers have no clue on how to ask for a pay rise.

If you have followed the first three steps, know that you’ve surmounted the significant hurdles before asking for a pay increase. Try not to slip in any of the above three steps. Find an appropriate time to make your pay rise request. Preferably, schedule a regular interview, but if that isn’t forthcoming, let your manager know in advance that you want a meeting.

Book an interview with your manager with the agenda of reviewing your past few months’ performances, of course knowing that you’ve hit your target. If your manager is consistently reviewing your work, he should be knowing that you are consistently hitting your targets. So, by giving your manager a hint of the agenda, you psychologically prepare him to reward you.

6. Make a Sound and Strong Case

As mentioned, if you have a proactive manager, he should have known your progress by now. However, the reality is that we never choose our managers. Therefore, you have to remind them about the targets you jointly set in your previous meeting. Then, show them that you’ve succeeded in meeting them over the specified period. Make your presentation as factual as possible to make your manager see that you are determined to have a good outcome.

7. Focus on Negotiating

Negotiating is not an easy process but it works. But remember that you are negotiating, not giving ultimatums. Don’t approach the negotiating table with a fixed mind. Instead, go there ready to settle the discussion, based on your results. Also, it is standard for performing employees who experience failed salary reviews to terminate their contracts for greener pastures. But, you shouldn’t approach your boss with such a mentality.

During the negotiation, try to be pliable. Use available industry data to drive the conversation towards a middle ground.

Permit the discussion seesaw, with you conceding and asking the employer too to make concessions. Always keep everything positive by using phrases such as “No problem, if you’re not comfortable with that, how about this?”

8. Think as a Manager

As already mentioned, managers don’t have an ultimate say on salary increments. And, even if they have the power to award you a pay rise, they quickly deflect such discussions. Factors such as harsh economic times, tight budgets, and maintaining equity may limit the manager from giving you a pay rise.

Remember, you are the one who has initiated the pay increase meeting. So, it’s your responsibility to provide a sufficient justification for a salary increment. On the other hand, your manager will focus on using any excuse to justify why a salary increment isn’t appropriate at that moment. To justify an increase, carry out some research as a backup and make an excellent presentation.

Start by carrying out external research. Establish the mean salary for your job within the industry. Narrow down the research to find out what employees earn in your rival companies. However, avoid mentioning specific names during the negotiations because that may completely deflect the conversation. Instead, refer to salary levels in “role A” or “industry B.” If you can make such a presentation, backed up with facts, you will win the heart of your boss and push him to justify those figures to his superiors.

In addition to external research, carry out internal research. Try to foresee the challenges your manager may bring to the negotiating table as reasons why an increment isn’t possible. Show your manager how you can help in any of those challenges, to his advantage and that of the company.

In summary, try to put a strong case on why you need a higher compensation. Don’t restrict yourself when negotiating, but use your track record to illustrate the future value you will bring.

Ensure that you have a perfect concluding statement that will remain etched in the mind of your boss. Preferably, make a comment that goes like, “it’s been great for the X achievement I’ve made in period Y, but I’m certain I can contribute more in the Z area.”

Conclude by thanking the manager for giving you the time to discuss the pay rise. Mention, too, that you’ve gained from the discussion.

9. Have a Contingency Plan

Despite your excellent presentation and proven track record in meeting targets, your boss may deny you a pay rise. However, that doesn’t mean that you resign and leave the negotiating table empty handed. Try to figure out what you will accept and propose it during the meeting. You may consider requesting for a higher car allowance, a special holiday, or even an enhanced medical cover.

10. Keep Smiling

If you don’t get what you want, don’t throw tantrums at your boss. Issuing threats and ultimatums is unprofessional and may limit you from accessing future opportunities. Once you realise that earning a pay rise within your organisation isn’t feasible, you may opt to switch jobs. So, ensure that you maintain cordial relations with your boss, always.

11. Work Harder

If you realise that you have nothing to use as a bargaining chip for a pay rise, other than the notion that you deserve one, then its time you took more responsibility around your company. After some time, you’ll have a portfolio of achievements to use for bargaining.

Conclusively, the relationship you have with your manager determines how to ask for a pay rise. So, you can always make some tweaks to suit your organisational structure, company policy and any unique circumstances.


Nordstrom, D. S. (2018, May 09). 5 Things You Need To Know Before Asking For A Raise. Retrieved May 03, 2019, from

Cvijetic, Z. (2016, October 05). A 5-Step Plan That Landed Me A Promotion And 40% Raise… Retrieved May 03, 2019, from

Hanson, R. (2016, October 12). 8 Steps to Getting a Pay Rise. Retrieved May 03, 2019, from

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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