How to ask for a pay rise
  • By Check-a-Salary
  • Posted Wednesday 27 th March 2019

How to ask for a pay rise

If you were to make a list of the most awkward conversations to have, asking for a pay rise would probably be pretty high!

That perfect combination of embarrassment and fear of rejection means that many employees choose not to seek a pay rise.  However, they then feel demotivated and undervalued and their work suffers as a result.

It’s therefore often in the best interests of both employee and employer that the subject becomes a less awkward topic for discussion.


Before you ask for a pay rise, it helps to prepare your ‘case’ and know what’s going on within your company.

  • Be aware what the financial situation of the company is. If your employer is currently experiencing financial difficulties, now might not be the best time to ask for more money. 
  • It’s also important to find out what vacancies are currently available within the company; if your employer is on a recruitment drive, it would suggest that money has been released to bolster staff numbers. This might, therefore, be a good time to set your case out for a pay rise and/or increased responsibilities.
  • By the same token, if staff redundancies are being talked about, sit tight and wait to see how this pans out.
  • Don’t expect to just walk into your Line Manager or HR Manager’s office and ask for more money. You need to prepare a short business case which supports your reasons for requesting a pay rise.  What are the unique qualities that you bring to the role which the company would be lost without?
  • Make a list of your main achievements within the business over the past year. If you’re able to quantify them financially, then so much the better.
  • Do your research on your ‘market value’. What could you realistically earn elsewhere?  Tailor your pay rise request accordingly.
  • It may be beneficial, when requesting the meeting, to indicate that you would like to discuss your salary. Knowing what the meeting is about means your Line Manager won’t be put on the spot and it also enables them to get any relevant information in front of them, prior to the meeting.


If your pay rise request is successful, you need to be prepared to work hard to justify your salary increase.

  • Get into work early and ‘go the extra mile’ when required. We’re not suggesting you work for free, but it’s important to show that your increase was justified.
  • Capitalise on opportunities to expand your skill set; this will benefit both you and your company and will increase your worth within the company.
  • Make yourself indispensable. This will help you build your case when you next request a pay rise.
  • Having been awarded a pay increase, don’t then request a month off unpaid or something similar!


It obviously isn’t a given that your request will be successful.  So what should you do if you are turned down for a pay rise?

  • If you are told during the meeting that you won’t be getting a pay rise, don’t sulk or become aggressive.
  • Ask for feedback on the reasons you have been refused.
  • If you haven’t been successful with a pay rise, why not ask for further training, flexible working or performance-related bonuses instead?
  • Don’t be afraid to revisit the subject in 6 months’ time, if appropriate.


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