How to Ask for a Pay Rise

A question we are frequently asked by both clients and candidates is how to successfully ask for a pay rise. Negotiating a pay rise will always be a personal challenge, whether you are a Director or at the beginning of your career.

How to ask for a pay rise in the uk

Does the thought of asking for a raise make you nervous? It shouldn’t. Whether you feel you deserve a higher salary due to your increased responsibilities or the market value for your role has gone up, 

According to a UK survey, 55% of employees said there were unwilling to ask for a raise, because they:

  • Didn’t know what to say (16%) 
  • Didn’t want to appear greedy (15%)
  • Worried they would be turned down (12%)
  • Were just scared of having the conversation (12%) 

 

At Signature, we have successfully coached dozens of people through this process, giving them the tools to instigate this conversation. 

Although the outcome is not always an immediate pay rise, at a minimum, this facilitates further conversations regarding career development. 

how to negotiate a pay rise uk

How to negotiate a pay rise 

  • Research and preparation – these are the keys to facilitating a successful outcome. Ultimately, the employer must agree that your contribution to the the company is worth more than your current remuneration.
  • Understand the process – take into account the pay practices of your company. If the standard practice is to offer salary increases once a year after an annual review, then that is the time to bring up the subject. If your company has a more flexible approach, then you will likely be able to make an approach at any time. 
  • Benchmark your role – research the job market for positions similar to yours using online salary checking tools. Be mindful not to base your research on your job title alone, also take into account your actual responsibilities and expectations of the position in your local area.
  • Establish grounds for a pay rise– consider the contribution you make in your role to guide how you will present the request to the decision maker. Building a strong argument to support your request will require you to detail the specific reasons you think you deserve a pay rise.

What not to say when asking for a raise

When asking for a raise, it’s important to be mindful of what you say to avoid damaging your chances of a successful outcome. Here are some things you should avoid saying:

  1. Comparing yourself to others negatively: Avoid making negative comparisons to your colleagues and focus on your own achievements and contributions instead.

  2. Negative comments about the company or management: Criticising the company, your colleagues, or your superiors will only reflect poorly on you.

  3. Being inflexible: Be open to a constructive dialogue and consider alternative forms of compensation or benefits if an immediate salary increase is not feasible.
  4. Demands: Instead, make a compelling case based on your achievements and market research

Asking for a raise

Don’t just ask for a raise, you also need to:

  • Document measurable results – list your achievements and the benefit these have brought the company. Specific facts and figures will help make a strong case. Document cost savings, productivity improvements, notable staff development, important projects completed and any other ways that you have contributed more than your job required.   
  • Be specific – set a pay increase goal that you can demonstrate corresponds to the contributions and additional responsibilities you have documented. Use your research to make sure that you are asking for a pay rise that matches your job and performance.
  • Book the meeting – choose the right time to approach the decision maker, taking into account their current workload/deadlines. A relaxed person is far more likely to agree to your request. Be considerate about when you schedule the meeting. Consider avoiding Mondays and Fridays. One survey identified Wednesday as the day on which employers are most likely to be receptive, but think about the rhythms of your workplace before you make your choice.  
 

How to ask for a pay rise in an email

Emailing your manager to let them know that you wish to discuss a raise is a good way to get the ball rolling without waiting for a performance review.

It’s a good idea to put your request in writing, whether it’s an email or printed letter. Write down all of your accomplishments at work and highlight where you’ve met or exceeded expectations.

how to ask for pay rise example

How to ask for pay rise example

 

Here’s a template for asking for a pay rise in an email:

Subject: Request for Pay Rise

Dear [Manager’s Name],

I hope this email finds you well? I wanted to request a meeting with you to discuss my salary, as I have been working at [company name] for [amount of time], I feel that my contributions to the company have been significant and I believe that I am due for a pay rise.

Before requesting a pay rise, I have taken the time to research the market rate for my job and industry, and based on my experience and skills. I believe that my current salary is below the market average and I am therefore requesting a pay rise to bring my salary in line with industry standards.

With a proven track record of [specific accomplishments or contributions to the company], I believe that my work has added value to the organisation. With a raise, I will be even more motivated to continue delivering outstanding work for the company.

Please let me know when we can schedule a meeting to discuss this further. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, 

[Your Name] 

Asking for a raise

Be upfront about the purpose of the meeting, telling them that you want to talk about your future/next steps and giving them time to prepare. Think about providing them with a written case in advance.

  • The conversation – be straightforward in the way you deliver your request; explain that you are asking for the rise at this time because of your accomplishments, the contributions you have made, and the additional responsibilities you have taken on. 

You should be prepared to present the research that supports the request; include the industry and salary research, and evidence of your measurable contributions.

Do not be afraid of having a difficult discussion and consider in advance how you will respond if you are refused, or awarded a lesser increase. Prepare to ask what you need to do to be eligible for a rise, or the increased rise that you had in mind. If you are refused, be positive; make it clear that you appreciate any feedback and demonstrate that you are acting on it. 

  • The follow-up – Follow up with an email thanking the decision maker for their time; if relevant ask for your request to be considered when future budgets are drawn up. Be gracious and work hard to be seen as an invaluable member of the team that they could not be without.     

You will impress if you work through initial disappointment and remain committed to a cause. You might not get what you want this year, but if you play it the right way you can set yourself up for a better chance of success next year. 

 

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