The end of the financial year is fast approaching and many companies are now preparing for employee performance reviews. These reviews provide a forum to talk about your achievements, and areas for improvement with your manager. They can also be an opportune time to discuss the potential for a pay rise.
However, many people find the subject of salary difficult to broach with their manager. To ensure you’re adequately prepared, we’ve rounded up some top tips on how to ask for a pay rise.
- Do your research. In an ideal world, we’d all be earning more than our current salaries, but convincing your manager to settle on your dream figure is unlikely. Instead, Nicolette Maury, Managing Director of Intuit says you should “make sure you research how similar jobs pay so you can set realistic expectations for yourself and your employer.” Having a look at roles advertised on SEEK that are similar to yours can provide a good indication of what to expect. Jo Besser, Director of recruitment company Career Threads also suggests that you’re “in tune with your company’s performance to avoid disappointment, should they not be doing so well.” Before your meeting, speak to your HR Manager about your company’s policy on pay rises.
When you're asking for a pay increase, the goal is to convince your manager that you're worthy of a higher salary.
- Illustrate your reasons. When you’re asking for a pay increase, the goal is to convince your manager that you’re worthy of a higher salary. Justin Levy, Managing Director of 100 Squared says “employers are always looking for people who have gone above and beyond.” So in your meeting, use clear examples to demonstrate how you’ve delivered beyond what is expected of you. Highlight particular instances where you’ve taken initiative, helped a team member or tangibly contributed to business results. Nicolette affirms, “If you can show you’re delivering more value than what’s expected of you, it’s easier to make a strong case.” To feel adequately prepared, take a list of your examples into the meeting to refer to when the time comes to speak.
- Listen and be gracious. Choosing the right words, and how much you say in your meeting is paramount to a positive reaction from your manager. If you approach the conversation with high expectations or suggesting you’re currently underpaid, it’s likely you’ll come across as being over-assertive or even aggressive. You may like to open up the subject by saying, “I’ve been thinking about my performance the last year and how it might be reflected in my pay.” Once you’ve presented the reasons why you think you deserve a pay rise, let your manager respond, and listen with an open mind. If your manager decides not to increase your salary, ask for feedback on how you can improve your performance over the next year, and try to take any constructive criticism on board.
- Have a plan B. If your manager doesn’t agree on a pay rise, Nicolette suggests to “also consider alternatives to an increase, such as asking for more workplace flexibility, holiday time or training.” Jo also sees many people who value flexible working hours over a higher salary and says “some employers may not be in the position to give additional pay, but instead may be willing to offer better schedules.” Have your plan B ready so if your initial request is rejected, you can ask for an alternative.