How To Negotiate a Pay Rise

So you’ve finally plucked up the courage to ask for a pay rise but you are not sure how to go about it. Approaching your boss should be a considered, thought out process and not something to be tackled on a whim.

Do your snooping

First of all you need to establish whether you are being fairly paid within your company. Unless you ask colleagues how much they’re paid you will never know. Check out what other companies are paying for the same role to see if your salary matches up.  You can even try one of the salary checkers on-line to benchmark your current earnings.


Never approach your boss on a Monday even if you’ve been planning what to say all weekend, the same applies to a Friday afternoon when they are likely to be busy tying things up. Approach them mid week, after lunch and ask if they would be free for a meeting with you. Make sure you don’t coincide this with any major pitches or deadline clashes, as their mind will not be on the meeting.


Try to hold the meeting on neutral ground. Their office is not really the ideal place, so perhaps you could suggest the boardroom or go out for lunch? A relaxed manager is far more likely to agree to your demands.


In a perfect world, all bosses would evaluate employees based on their talent and commitment. In reality, many are overworked and don’t recognise your individual talent unless it is pointed out to them. The image you portray is an important part of doing your job well and you should always look appropriate. As the saying goes, dress for the job you want, not the job you have.


Have clear examples of what you have achieved, talk about recent contract wins and what you have brought to the business. Highlight some instances where you have taken the initiative to improve business. You need to sell yourself as being worth more than you are currently paid.

The Silence

Now it’s your turn to be quiet, let your boss think over and process what you have said. Never directly say you are underpaid and avoid being drawn into a confrontation. Ask them an open question about how they feel you have performed in your role and their opinion of how you are running the department etc. Remind your boss of your enjoyment of the job and your commitment with the company.

Stay Calm

Never ever cry or show weakness, as this is unlikely to achieve a positive result. No one likes a snivelling wreck so don’t ever try to use financial hardship as your leverage and no matter what happens never threaten to resign if your demands aren’t met. Instead stay calm and reaffirm the positives you have brought to the business.

Follow Up

Make sure that whatever has been agreed it is put in writing. Even if your boss is side stepping the issue for now but has suggested reviewing this in 6 months, make sure you document this in an email to them and highlight you will look forward to the discussion then. You could even try your luck and ask them to back date your pay rise if you are successful? If you don’t ask you will never know but when you do it, make sure you do it with confidence.


If your boss decides not to increase your salary, be gracious and ask for feedback. What should you be doing differently, and how can you improve your performance in the coming months? Approach your meeting as a chance to learn and change your work prospects so that, even if you lose this battle, you end up winning the war.

Anything is possible when planned and approached in the correct way.