How to: Get a Pay Raise


JF Admin
Feb 26, 2006

Do you feel that you're working more than you're worth? It might be the right time to ask for a pay raise. Before you make the request, though, do your homework and ensure that your roles and activities—not your job title—are consistent with what you should be paid. If you're confident that you deserve more, build up the courage and ask, but do it with grace. Rehearse your pay-raise request and make sure that your case is articulated clearly and without negative emotions or threats to quit. Ensure that the timing is right: don't request a raise when your manager's stress is high and the workload is overwhelming. Otherwise, your request might be perceived as a distraction and may not be received well. You also need to be honest with yourself. Do you deserve the raise? Was your past performance up to par? Did you exceed expectations? If the answer is yes, it's time to take the plunge.
How to... get a pay rise

If you’re working your socks off and still being paid peanuts it’s time to take the bull by the horns and get negotiating

Colleagues call you ace, you always look busy and the chief executive knows who you are thanks to some smart moves at the office Christmas party. But have you done enough to earn yourself a raise? Not on that evidence. Here’s what it really takes to make the perfect pitch and boost your pay packet:

1. The bottom line.

“You have to know why you think that you are worth that much – however much you’re asking for,” says Professor Binna Kandola, a senior partner at Pearn Kandola, a business psychology firm. Then ask yourself why you are worth that much to your boss. Addressing the issue from his or her perspective will allow you to formulate a more persuasive pitch.

2. Do your homework.
It’s important to understand what the salary norms are for the job role and industry that you are working in, says Jo Causon, director of marketing and corporate affairs at the Chartered Management Institute. This means comparing roles and activities, not job titles within the company, she says. “There’s no reason why you cannot ask your HR department ‘how is my role benchmarked?’ ”

3. Forget the other guy.
What the person sitting next to you earns is irrelevant, Causon says. “It’s about individual performance. About your competencies and experience in that job.”

4. Be honest with yourself.
“People often confuse effort with achievement and the two things are totally different,” Professor Kandola says. “You may have worked your socks off but you may not have achieved what was down in your objectives at the beginning of the year. A large part of your pay rise has to be on past record.”

5. Dress rehearsal time.
Play the conversation over in your mind and consider how you will respond if your manager says yes, no or maybe. Screaming or slamming the door should not be part of the script.

6. Pick your moment.
Be sensitive to your manager’s stress levels and workload or your demands will viewed as an unwelcome distraction, Professor Kandola says. If your company uses an appraisal system, that’s the time to negotiate pay and benefits.

7. Set the right tone.
Don’t plead, cry or be too aggressive when you argue your case. And don’t issue any pay-up-or-I-quit-style ultimatums. “If you have a manager who is worth their salt, they won’t give in to blackmail like that,” Professor Kandola says.

8. Be open.

Dean Hodcroft, the head of real estate at Ernst & Young, a professional services firm, likes people who get to the point and who have done their homework. “That [approach] makes me much more disposed to having a sensible, open and honest conversation,” he says.

9. Turn a negative into a positive.
“If pay is the issue then that needs to be on the table very clearly, but people also need to consider alternatives,” Hodcroft says. Think about other benefits that the firm might find it easier to accommodate, such as holiday or flexible working.

10. Give yourself a challenge.

It is possible to recover from a knock-back, Hodcroft says. Ask to be given a target that will stretch you or new responsibilities to justify the pay increase you want – or even a promotion. “I would love it if the individuals concerned [asked] that more often than they did,” Hodcroft says. “Eight times out of ten, it’s down to me to suggest it.”
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