How to successfully ask for a pay rise

When payday rolls around, are you delighted with your bank balance or do you wish your pay packet was significantly higher?

A new study from CV-Library reveals nearly two-thirds of employees are unhappy with their salary.

The survey of 1,500 people also found just over half of respondents have never tried to negotiate higher pay – but now might be a good time to try.

“When the pandemic first struck, businesses held all the power and competition for top jobs was tougher than ever,” says Lee Biggins, chief executive of CV-Library.

“However, in the last few months, we have seen this power shift back in favour of candidates, and the year-on-year salary increases we are seeing across many industries already in 2022, substantiates this.”

As the old saying goes: if you don’t ask, you don’t get, yet broaching the topic of pay can be daunting. Here, careers experts set out the essential dos and don’ts of asking for more money.

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Do ask for a meeting

Redhill And Reigate Life: Jobs expert at Totaljobs, Ellie Green. Picture: PA Photo/HandoutJobs expert at Totaljobs, Ellie Green. Picture: PA Photo/Handout

The first step is to set up a meeting with your direct line manager, even if they’re not the person who ultimately holds the purse strings.

“Going above them will play out badly politically in the vast majority of cases,” says Ellie Green, jobs expert at Totaljobs.

However, the way you approach the issue of pay can vary depending on your relationship with your boss: “Raising the subject informally may prove to be more successful for some and can be the start of you building a case with more senior stakeholders, but other managers will prefer a formal approach.”

Do know your worth

Before the meeting, research typical salary levels for your role, both within your company and externally.

“This way, you can argue that your current pay is not in line with the market and make it clear that this is important to you,” says Green, who suggests using the Totaljobs Salary Checker.

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Don’t make demands

Redhill And Reigate Life: Dr Audrey Tang, psychologist and author of Be A Great Manager - Now! Picture: PA Photo/Handout Dr Audrey Tang, psychologist and author of Be A Great Manager – Now! Picture: PA Photo/Handout

Even if you feel you’re being treated unfairly, playing hardball can sometimes backfire.

Instead of demanding a pay rise immediately, consider going into the conversation with questions and an open attitude.

“Ask the question more along the lines of, ‘Is there budget available for pay rises?’, or, ‘What is happening with bonuses?’” says Dr Audrey Tang, psychologist and author of Be A Great Manager – Now!

“Asking the open question is going to get you more information than simply saying, ‘I want a pay rise’.”

Do show evidence

“Any decision they make will be a balance between their bottom line and the value you bring, so make sure you come with a comprehensive overview of what you’ve achieved over the last year, and what you expect to bring in the months or years to come,” says Green.

Examples of evidence might be improved results or revenue, personally or for your team, additional projects you’ve taken on, or positive feedback from clients.

Do follow up in writing

After the meeting, follow up with a polite email thanking your boss for their time and summarising the key talking points, so there’s “a clear paper trail of your requests and your achievements are well documented,” says Green.

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Don’t give up hope

Redhill And Reigate Life: James Andrews, senior personal finance editor at Picture: PA Photo/HandoutJames Andrews, senior personal finance editor at Picture: PA Photo/Handout

“If things don’t go your way and the request for a rise is denied, don’t be disheartened,” says James Andrews, senior personal finance editor at

“Ask your boss what you need to do in order to get where you want to go. This will provide you with a pathway going forward, and ensure that next time you ask the question, you walk out with exactly what you want.”

Redhill And Reigate Life | News