How to ask for a pay rise?

On average, UK workers received a 4.1% pay rise by the end of January 2021 – that’s after a year in a pandemic! But how do you get your pay rise? We share our top tips so you can ask your boss for a pay rise with confidence they’ll say yes!

Firstly, it is important to understand the business’ needs. They will reward you with a salary that fits the work complete for them. It’s awful to say, but the boss will be working out your value to the business – what would happen if you left tomorrow? Could they hire someone else easily, or will they have lost those skills that made the business a success? That’s why employees who spend many years at the same employer are on higher salaries – their loyalty has to be rewarded handsomely and the business can’t do without their expertise.

Choose the right time

It’s important to time your request to maximise your chances of getting a pay rise. If the business is performing well, posting high revenues and delivering on projects, then that’s your chance to ask for a pay rise. When the company is struggling, it will surely have an impact on the whole team, including yourself. You’ll feel demotivated and struggle to perform as productively, however that’s completely the wrong time to ask for a pay rise.

You should also find out when your boss puts together the next year’s budget. Asking for a raise while they’re putting together the budget makes it far easier for them to incorporate it into the budget. Else, they’ll be scraping around or asking to revise the budget mid-way through the year to accommodate your request.

Finally, if you’ve recently started in the role then you shouldn’t be looking to increase your pay straight away. You’re far more likely to get the dreaded rejection as you should have negotiated when you received the job offer. One solution would be mentioning you’d like a pay review six months into the role.

Research – compare salaries

Did you know everyone’s salary is public information in Norway? One of the big benefits is the transparency around pay, you can see what your colleagues or similar professionals are earning each year. For most of the Western world, salaries are a deeply personal subject and many find it difficult to judge if their salary package is below average.

This is where recruiters, public institutions and salaries websites come in useful. Public entities, such as the BBC, tend to publicly disclose potential salaries on job adverts – either salary ranges or bands. A quick search and you’ll find the band’s salary range.

People could be another source of information. Colleagues or associates in another department at your level could be open to discussing salaries openly – especially if they’re seeking a pay rise themselves. However, recruiters may be your best source of knowledge. If you connect with a recruiter specialising in your industry, they’ll have a full understanding of the salary ranges within the market. They speak to hundreds, possibly thousands a year, always gathering salary information. Most recruiters will be able to tell you where you fall in the market.

Finally, check websites like Glassdoor which compile salary information from hundreds of respondents.

Write a script

We don’t mean a full script as you can’t predict what you’re boss will say. It’s about building a strong argument, so you’ll need to think of the reasons you believe you deserve a pay rise. Unfortunately, you wanting more money won’t cut it.

Our first piece of advice – highlight your successes so far. Take a look at your original job description and identify the areas you’ve exceeded expectations. Perhaps particular projects have been successful where the business had struggled before? Have you exceeded targets? Statistics like this can really sway bosses’ opinions, they’ll want to avoid losing someone who beats targets.

If you’re asking for a pay rise, then you’ll need to deliver something extra for the company in return. Think about your career progression and how can your role adapt in the future. If you’re unsure what responsibilities you could take on, keep it open with your boss while asking for a pay rise, they may have ideas how you might be able to contribute more.

Prepare to hear “No”

Most people’s nerves heading into a salary negotiation are related to this outcome. While most bosses should be receptive to an open discussion about salaries, it’s sometimes difficult for them to justify pay increases. If they say no, ask for their reasons and if there are any areas of work you could improve to secure a pay rise in the future.

Will I get fired asking for a pay rise?

As the phrase goes – if you don’t ask, you won’t get. It’s really unlikely you’ll get fired for asking for a pay rise – we’ve never heard of anyone getting sacked for asking. Rather, your boss will now know about your salary expectations and will keep that in mind. If you didn’t get the pay rise when you asked originally, power on and make yourself an asset to the department, then ask again.

However, if your request for a pay rise is turned down and your research suggests you should be on a higher salary, then it’s time to start looking for a new job. Thankfully, Action has the best vacancies within the media industry – all in one place!