How To Ask Your Boss For A Raise: 5 Tips For Success

5 minutes

Asking for a salary increase is something that everyone is likely to do at some point in the...


Asking for a salary increase is something that everyone is likely to do at some point in their career.

However, having to have ‘that conversation’ can feel unnatural and the experience can be intimidating and awkward, even if you have a good relationship with your manager.

Asking for a raise can be intimidating. However, it can be the best way to obtain the compensation you deserve if your job duties have changed significantly or if your performance merits a boost. Standard pay increases range from 3% (average) to 5% (exceptional). Asking for a 10% to 20% increase, depending on the reason, is a way to open negotiations. 

The thought of asking their boss for a raise makes most people feel anxious. If your company does not provide regular annual salary increases and you are not eligible for a promotion, asking for a raise may be your only option. You should understand that asking for a raise is perfectly acceptable, and most company managers and business owners want to take good care of their employees.

If you’re struggling to pluck up the courage to broach the topic of a pay rise, try following our tips below:

Have a Realistic Figure in Mind

When you’re working out how to get a higher salary, it’s important to know your worth so that you have a realistic figure in mind when you begin negotiations.

Do your research to find out if your salary is in line with the market average, establishing what the range of pay is for both newly trained and experienced staff in the role. 

Do this by:

- Using a salary checker – the big recruitment websites such as Totaljobs, Indeed and Reed all have online tools that will show what the average salary is for your sector

- Speaking to a recruiter

- Looking at jobs boards to see what salaries are being offered

- Asking other professionals in similar roles to give you an idea of their earnings

- Check if the market rate for your salary differs depending on where you live in the country.

If you’re offered a smaller pay rise than you hoped for, try compromising by asking about a bonus scheme (if you don’t already have one in place) to increase your earnings based on performance or professional training courses to increase your knowledge and skills.

Build your Case

Gather evidence and prepare examples of your achievements that you can confidently summarise, for example:

- Initiatives you have implemented and their impact on company results

- Extra responsibilities you have taken on

- Innovation you have introduced that is reliant on your skills for success

- Training and qualifications you have gained 

- Your job milestones – top salesperson of the year, say, or winner of a recognition award, or securing the account of a leading client

- How you have developed other team members

- Lack of disciplinary action

The more evidence you can gather to back-up your proposed pay rise, the better. Discuss market factors that justify your pay rise, such as a skills shortage in your sector and high demand for your skills or qualifications.

Ensure you Ask in the Right Way

When asking for a pay rise, keep it professional at all times. Don’t be demanding and don’t speak negatively of anyone else within the business. Start by talking about why you enjoy working for the company and summarise your recent progress. For instance, you should avoid saying things like:

“I work harder than XX and I know that he’s on more money than me.”

This comes across as bitter and you don’t want to be seen as gossiping about your colleagues’ salaries. Speak calmly, reasonably and present your case clearly.

“Thanks for meeting with me today. I’ve really enjoyed being part of the [XX] team. I’ve been working here for [X] years and I’m proud of the contribution I’ve made. As you know, my targets were to [XXX]. I’m excited to share my results with you and discuss my salary.”

Conclude by getting to the point. “Given my dedication to the company’s success over the past 12 months, and my achievements, I’d like a review of my salary. Based on my research of salaries in my sector, my experience and skills, a X% increase is appropriate.”

Timing is Everything

Think carefully about when to ask for a pay rise. Don’t broach the subject publicly as it will put your manager on the spot (and will appear unprofessional); an appraisal, review or other formal meeting is the ideal setting for this conversation. Find out if you are allowed to discuss a rise outside any performance review; if not, you will have to wait. 

If possible, don’t choose a time when your boss is under pressure, or the company is in financial difficulty. More positively, and where you can, plan your meeting for the end of a big project, say, or after you have received an award, passed exams, or achieved another milestone. Request your meeting at least a week in advance and be clear about your objective so they have time to plan too.

Be Prepared to Negotiate

This is a negotiation, so be ready to answer questions, provide further evidence or to receive a counteroffer from your boss. This is where your research and preparation are worth their weight in gold. If you are told that the figure you have requested isn’t possible, summarise why it is reasonable and in line with the market, and ask for an explanation.

Be ready to compromise. Threatening to quit if you don’t get what you want is a risky strategy.  

Instead, find out if there is a package of benefits that the company could offer you to accompany a lower pay rise.

Are you prepared to negotiate a salary with a potential employer? Reach out to one of our team at Franklin Fitch to access our Market and Skills Report for the latest insight on hiring and compensation trends. Or alternatively you can contact our team here if you're ready to hear some of the new opportunities.

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