How to negotiate a pay rise with your boss: our expert tips & advice

  • April 21, 2023

How to negotiate a pay rise with your boss: our expert tips & advice

In general, people hate talking about money. So, asking your boss for a pay rise can feel awkward but it's important for you to feel valued and rewarded for your commitment to the company, plus to be paid inline with the market average salary. Our expert tips will help you feel more confident in approaching the topic during your next appraisal. 

Research the average salary for your role and industry

It’s good to get an idea of what other professionals are being paid in your industry and will help to set a salary benchmark. There are salary calculators available on Glassdoor and total jobs that you can use to find out the average salary of any job in the UK. Do you research ahead of your appraisal to make sure your expectations are realistic and to make sure you’re not going in too low. 

Meet face-to-face

It might be tempting to ask for a pay rise over a video call or email as opposed to in-person. However, there are several benefits to having the meeting face-to-face. With a virtual meeting it’s hard to determine if you have the other person’s full attention. In-person meetings allow you to make sure no one is distracted and their focus is solely on you. Your boss is also more likely to respect you for asking face-to-face and some suggest that it’s hard for people to decline pay rise requests in-person.

Give your boss some warning

Catching your manager off guard with a surprise pay rise request may cause them to respond with an immediate no. When scheduling the meeting, inform them that you’d like to review your salary, summarise your rationale and explain that you’d like to discuss further in person. 

Think about timing 

Like most things in life, timing is everything. Ideally, you want to wait until things are going really well for the business. You’re much more likely to get that pay rise if you “strike while the iron is hot”. So, if your company is doing well, get that appraisal meeting booking in asap. Another thing to consider is when are budgets being reviewed? If you can time your meeting just before budgets are reviewed, this allows them time to work your increased salary into the new budgets. 

Schedule your meeting tactically 

When scheduling your meeting, try to arrange a time when your boss isn’t under additional stress. Check what deadlines they’re working towards and what meetings they have scheduled. Ideally, you want to find a time when they have a fairly clear diary either side to avoid them feeling rushed in your meeting. It’s great if you can catch your manager when they’re in a good mood! 

Try to put yourself in your boss’s shoes, you are much more likely to be successful if you pick a time when they’re more likely to be receptive, or when budgets are being discussed, which is often at the end of the financial year. 

Jot down what you want to say

Ahead of your meeting, prepare a short script of what you want to say. Highlight the value that you bring to the business, how you love your job and the company, but explain how you feel you are worth more. It’s good if you can prepare for every possible scenario your manager might use to decline your request and have a counter argument ready to respond with. 

Think about your recent successes that have helped the business

Highlighting your past successes will help to support your case for a pay rise. Think about what you’ve done over the last 6-12 months. Have you been able to upsell a client, smash your performance goals, or bring new business into the company? All of these things are great reasons for your manager to justify giving you a pay rise. So, don’t be afraid to sing your own praises!

Talk about your future plans for your team/the company

While it’s great to highlight your past performance, it’s also good to talk about how you plan to achieve future success for the company. This will remind your manager how valuable you are and that giving you a pay rise is actually a great investment for the company.

Practice, practice, practice

Ahead of your meeting, make sure you rehearse what you’re going to say. Run through your points with a friend, or practice in front of a mirror. This will help you remember what you want to say and will also help you feel more confident. 

What if they reject your pay rise request?

It is possible that your boss could decline your request for a pay rise. If this happens, make sure you find out their reasoning for not giving you a salary increase and ask what you need to do in order to achieve a pay rise in the future. If you think their reasoning isn’t fair and you’re not being valued in the way you deserve, then it may be time to leave and move onto a new job opportunity. 

Alternatively, it might also be worth asking for a rise in your pension contribution. This could be more appealing to your company as it’s a more tax efficient way for them to pay you and also saves the company money on national insurance. It’s not exactly the same as a pay rise but it’s often easier to negotiate and still a benefit for the long term.

We’ve given you our top tips, now hopefully you feel ready to schedule that meeting and ask for your pay rise. Want some more advice or looking for a new opportunity? Get in contact with our expert recruiters today.