How to Secure a Pay Rise

Friday, April 25, 2014

How many of us would not like a salary increase? Very few I suspect. Statistics show that on average most people will get a pay rise of about 3.5% in the year ahead. If you think you deserve more than that, here's how to approach your boss. (And if you are the boss, then here's what to watch out for!)

The days of walking into your boss' office, or having a quiet word down the pub and saying you need a pay rise because John who works with you and who does the same job is earning more than you, or because you have just gotten married or because you have not had a pay rise in four years, are gone! The majority of firms still view staff salaries as an expense (some of the more enlightened ones view them as investments) and are therefore always trying to hold down spending, which means they are selective about increasing wages.

The golden rule for securing an increase in salary is proving that you are adding significant value which positively impacts on the business's performance and profits. In short, you have to demonstrate that you are a high performer and a valuable asset to the company.

Listed below are nine issues to remember if your intention is to secure an increase in take home pay. All of these tips are based on the assumption that you have a good working relationship with your boss. If your relationship is poor, then you have an even greater mountain to climb and you need to work on enhancing the relationship first, before the topic of a pay rise can even be mentioned.

  • Always remember that it is not about you, it is about what you are doing for the business. The best time to approach the boss is after you've successfully completed a big task. This way you have a concrete and recent example of how you are adding value to the company.
  • To add value effectively, you need to know what is important to the company, so if you are not sure, ask your boss and make sure you understand where and how you slot into the bigger picture
  • Discretely find out what colleagues who are performing similar roles are earning. Perhaps even do some research outside your company, what is the salary level for similar roles in other firms?
  • Most companies plan salary increases two or three months prior to the end of their financial year, so think about your timing
  • Rehearse in your mind (or even with a family member) how you will approach the subject with your boss and practice how you will communicate with him or her
  • Put yourself in your boss' shoes - how is he or she likely to respond? How can you counteract their arguments?
  • It is common sense, but ensure your boss is in a good mood, calm and not under time pressure before raising the topic. Choose your moment carefully
  • Have a backup plan. If a salary increase is simply not on the cards, what other forms of remuneration are available? Bonuses, vouchers, working from home ? etc.

If you accomplish the tasks required of you in your role, then you are performing your role, nothing more. For that, you deserve the average pay raise.

To be earning above the average, you need to be performing above the average and that means doing things that add value that are outside your basic job description. So what have you done or what are you doing that is above and beyond the daily routine that is adding value to the company, either by increasing revenue or reducing costs?

Below are some questions worth reflecting on:

  • How are you currently creating value in your work?
  • What can you do to create more value?
  • How can you add value to your customers, colleagues etc?
  • Write out 5 reasons why you are worth a pay increase? If you can't think of any, work out the reasons that would make you worth a pay increase in the near future?

Finally, remember threatening to quit is not a recommended strategy when seeking a pay rise for the simple reason that your boss just might accept your resignation there and then. Remember, no one is indispensable. Equally there are other jobs out there, which means that if you are not happy with your salary or how you are being treated then perhaps some discreet job hunting is on your agenda.


James Sweetman is the author of Graduate to Success and is a leading authority on Peak Performance. If you are ready to step into your potential, visit