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How to Ask for a Pay Rise and Actually Get it

by Shelly Horton
Posted: March 09, 2017

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For most people asking a boss for more money is as pleasant as stubbing your toe on the couch or catching a dose of Bali Belly, writes Founder of Shellshocked Media and TV Personality, Shelly Horton.

You have to be brave and have that uncomfortable conversation if you want to ask for more cash. Here are a few dos and don’ts that might help you get the pay raise you deserve.

DO: Find out the pay review process at your work

It differs from company to company. If your contract is up for renewal, this is a perfect time. If you’re full-time staff check with HR if there is a time of year that pay increases are considered. Often it is in April leading up to the end of financial year when companies know how much money they have in the coffers. 

DON’T: Assume you’re entitled to a raise

A raise, by definition, means getting extra. So make sure you haven’t just met standard requirements. You need to have exceeded expectations, not just turned up and done the job you were hired to do.

DO: Be brave enough to ask

You might be the quiet achiever scoring goals in the office but when it comes to asking for a pay increase it’s a case of the squeaky wheel. Pay increases are not a given so you have to verbalise your needs.

DON’T: Stuff up the timing

You shouldn’t bring up something like this to the coffee room. That makes it easy for them to say a quick no and leave you with no wriggle room. 

Wait until you have a one-on-one meeting and at the end of it, say you’d like a pay review, which sounds less threatening than saying you want a pay rise. Then send a follow-up email outlining some of your achievements and include a meeting request in the email. 

DO: Build a case on why you deserve the pay increase

Put together a document that includes examples of extra work and responsibilities you were asked to take on, times when you went above and beyond, emails praising your work and unpaid overtime you’ve accumulated. 

If you won a client for the company, quantify the dollar value of income you’ve generated.

DON’T: Never give an ultimatum

If you threaten to resign if you don’t get more cash, the knee-jerk reaction is for the boss to call your bluff and then you’re out of a job. 

DO: Question a straight out no 

Ask: “What would I need to do to receive the pay rise I was looking for?” Ask your boss for feedback. Even if it’s tough to hear, you need to know if your performance wasn’t up to scratch or if you lack a certain qualification to be promoted.  

At least when you know, you can make positive changes to fix it before the next pay review. 

DO: Finally, remember you can ask for things other than cash money

2 business men shake hands in agreement  on how to ask for a pay rise

Your boss may not have the funds to give you a raise but could be willing to reward you with other advantages such as more flexible hours, industry training, an extra week of annual leave, a car spot, a faster computer or even a pay review in six months instead of waiting another year. 

Above all, remember to be confident and trust yourself if you’re ready to move forward in your career.

Looking for extra pay rise tips, career empowerment and inspiration? Read these related articles:


Shelly Horton

Known for fronting up to uncomfortable conversations and never sitting on the fence, Shelly is a well-known voice in the area of pop culture, women's issues and health. She’s interviewed everyone from Tom Cruise and Kim Kardashian to the Dalai Lama.

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