How to ask for a pay rise (With steps and example)

Updated 31 March 2023

If you feel you deserve increased compensation for your work, it may be necessary to speak with your manager regarding a pay rise. Requesting a pay rise can be appropriate if your remuneration doesn't align with salaries of similar positions in the market, or if your role has significantly expanded beyond your initial job description. It's helpful to learn effective ways of asking for a pay rise, increasing your chances of fair compensation for work. In this article, we outline the steps of asking for increased pay and give an example of how to ask for a pay rise.

How to ask for a pay rise as a professional

Learning how to ask for a pay rise can help ensure you increase your chances of success in a negotiation. You can use the following steps as a guide to negotiating a pay rise with your manager:

1. Find an appropriate time to open the conversation

Find an appropriate time to open a conversation regarding a pay rise, ensuring that you have adequate time and privacy with your manager to discuss remuneration. To identify the most appropriate time to discuss a pay rise, you can consider the following factors:

  • The financial health of the company: If the company you're working for is struggling financially, it may not be an appropriate time to ask for a pay rise. If your employer is unfairly compensating you while they're struggling with their financial status, it may be more appropriate to seek a position with a different company.

  • Completion of a significant task or project: It may be appropriate to ask for a pay rise if you've recently completed a significant task or project that's of benefit to your employer. By documenting the details of any work-related achievements, you can present these to your manager as supporting evidence for increased remuneration.

Related: What is DOE pay? (Plus advantages and disadvantages)

2. Research similar salary trends in the market

You may also find it helpful to research similar salary trends in the market. This can guide you on the amount of remuneration to request from your employer. The market value of your role may vary from year to year, so reassess your compensation regularly. When requesting a pay rise, ensure that the compensation you're requesting aligns with other similar roles. You can research salary ranges for your position through job market websites, ensuring you consider the cost of living and rate of inflation in your area.

There are other factors which can influence the rate of remuneration within your role. These factors include your experience, your relevant education and any further qualifications you've obtained related to your industry. You can also perform research on the salary trends related to your role over a specific period, allowing you to increase your understanding of the most appropriate monetary value assigned to your position. When requesting a pay rise, ensure you bring appropriate evidence of market trends or of any qualifications and further education you've obtained while in your role.

3. Organise a meeting with your supervisor

To discuss the possibility of a pay rise, organise a private meeting with your manager or supervisor. Ideally, this meeting takes place in person at a suitable location for both parties. If an in-person meeting isn't possible, organise a video call with your supervisor. These are appropriate methods of communication when negotiating a pay rise, rather than making a request over the phone or via email.

You may also find that it's appropriate to discuss a pay rise at a performance review meeting, as you're already in a setting where your value to a business is recognised. Give your manager advance notice regarding the subject of the meeting to ensure they understand its importance. You can aim to alert the manager of your wish to discuss remuneration about two weeks in advance, ensuring they have time to allocate a private space and an appropriate time for the discussion.

4. Prepare the points you wish to discuss

Before a meeting with your manager, prepare the points you wish to discuss regarding your pay rise. You may feel nervous or apprehensive when compiling a list of points to discuss, but you can manage these feelings by preparing well. By practising the points to negotiate, you can ensure that you include all the essential information to support your request. This is useful in situations where you may feel nervous, like salary negotiations. Throughout the meeting, focus on the reasons you deserve a pay rise. You can open the conversation with an introduction like:

  • 'I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me today. I'm excited to continue growing in my current role, and would like to discuss more appropriate remuneration to align with my current responsibilities.'

  • 'Thank you for meeting with me to discuss the possibility of a pay rise. I'm proud of the recent accomplishments I've made in my role and I'd like to ensure that my salary going forward reflects these achievements.'

Read more: What is a salary and how does it differ from wages?

5. Be specific about your request

If your manager or supervisor appears receptive to the conversation regarding a pay rise, ensure you make your request more specific. Inform them of the exact increase or salary figure you're requesting. Describe any research you've undertaken, showing any evidence of similar salaries in the market to support the figure you're requesting. You can also discuss examples of recent work you've undertaken and accomplishments you've achieved. This ensures your employer knows your value aligns with a pay rise. Examples of some accomplishments you can list include:

  • 'Over the last three months, I have led a team of eleven junior staff members to achieve our most diverse marketing portfolio to date. Positive feedback from clients has increased by 23% and satisfaction of team members has also greatly increased.'

  • 'I've continued to exceed my monthly sales quota by at least 10%, by focusing on lead generation and client satisfaction.'

Read more: How to negotiate your salary in 7 easy steps (Plus tips)

6. Thank your manager for their consideration

Even if the outcome of the discussion regarding your pay rise isn't your ideal outcome, thank your manager for their time and consideration. You can send them a follow-up email or make a phone call to show your gratitude. Within this communication, recap the reasons you asked for a pay rise and summarise the discussion you had with them.

By sending a follow-up communication, you may make it easier for your manager to discuss your pay rise with their superiors. This communication can also serve as a record of the request you made. You may decide to make another request for a pay rise in the future, which you can reference in this email or phone communication.

Example of asking for a pay rise

When negotiating a pay rise with your manager, use appropriate language and remain professional at all times. You can adjust the language you use depending on your relationship with your manager, but ensure you maintain a level of respect and competence. You can use the following example as a guide to asking for a pay rise:

'Firstly, I'd like to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to meet with me. In my current role, I'm fulfilled and excited by the opportunities I've received and wish to continue working to meet professional goals and targets. As my experience and competence have grown, so has the scope of my responsibility. As you're aware, I consistently maintain a high level of output and productivity in my role. Subsequently, I'd like to discuss my compensation.

I've undertaken research regarding the average level of compensation for similar roles in this area. I've considered my experience, education and skills, and determined that a pay increase of 15% is appropriate.

It's been eighteen months since the previous adjustment in my salary. Within this time, I've led several projects that have added significant positive value to the business. For example, in the last three months, I've increased the output of the manufacturing department by 21%. I've also ensured that other team members continue to maintain standards of quality. Are you open to discussing appropriate remuneration for my role?'

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