How to improve your chances of getting a pay rise

Rebecca Siciliano, Managing Director of Tiger Recruitment, gives some top tips for improving your pay packet.

how to ask for pay rise


The increased cost of living has been a hot topic over the last six months. Food and energy prices are at record highs, and that’s before we’ve even looked at rising rent and mortgage rates. To cushion the blow, many may be feeling in need of a pay rise. However, ask and you shall receive doesn’t always apply, with our research showing that less than half of workers who asked for a raise last year were successful.

The issue is that people often rush into pay discussions without doing their homework. There’s nothing worse than someone asking for a pay rise because they heard a colleague got one. You need to present a solid argument backed up with evidence. So, what qualifies as a credible case?

You’re being underpaid and can prove it

Don’t claim you’re being underpaid without doing your research. Find out the typical salary range for your role, region, and seniority, consult independent salary benchmarks, or speak to a recruitment consultant. They’ll soon tell you what someone with your skills and experience can expect to earn in the current market.

You’ve taken on new responsibilities

If your role has expanded since your last pay review, your salary should increase accordingly. Be prepared to talk about the extra duties you’ve taken on beyond your original job description and the results you’ve had.

You’ve contributed to the company’s success

Has one of your ideas made or saved the company money or improved efficiencies? Have you won a new client or project? If yes, a pay rise could be justified. To improve your chances, gather evidence of what you did and any positive feedback you received, and quantify it with data. For example, I won two new projects and generated £X in revenue in the past year. The more tangible you make it, the easier it’ll be for your manager to convince the big boss.

You’ve acquired new skills

Achieving a professional qualification or gaining a new skill can improve your worth – particularly if you can apply your newly-acquired knowledge to your role or the company more broadly. A willingness to learn shows you’re self-motivated, which any employer will look on favourably. Say you’ve just completed a project management course. Outline how it will help you take on more responsibility, meriting an increased salary.

The time’s right 

The best time to negotiate your salary is after you receive a job offer, during your annual performance review, or following a successful project you’ve been instrumental in. The worst time is following poor financial results. It can make you seem out of touch and self-interested. I’d also advise against using another offer to negotiate with your employer. If you want to boost your salary, I’d recommend talking to your line manager before looking elsewhere. All too often, candidates tell me they’re moving on because they feel they’re underpaid when an honest conversation could have resolved things (and saved a lot of time!).

Have a plan B

Despite the most thorough preparation, convincing arguments, and stellar performance, your employer still might say no. So, have a backup plan. In the current climate, it could be that the company can’t afford to increase your salary. So, think about non-monetary benefits that would make you feel valued, such as extra days’ holiday or more flexibility. And if your manager feels your performance doesn’t merit a raise, ask what you need to improve and set a date to revisit the conversation. The best thing you can do is take the knock-back in your stride and use it as an opportunity for self-development. Good luck!

Tiger Recruitment is a boutique recruitment agency headquartered in London.

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