How To Ask For A Pay Rise

Caragh Bailey
8 min read
How to Ask for a Pay Rise from Employment Law Friend

You're happy with your job and with your employer, you've established yourself as a good worker. But, you're feeling under appreciated and over-worked. It may be time to ask for a pay rise.

You'll need to come up with a good argument for why you're worth the extra cash. You've proven your worth and recruiting and training new staff is expensive and time consuming, so you're in with a good chance. Here's some tips to help you get the pay rise you deserve.

    Know your worth
Do some research:
  • How much are other employers paying for the same job role?
  • How much is your employer paying your colleagues?
  • Are you doing more than your job role includes?
  • Do your actual day to day responsibilities reflect a different job title?

Check that employee pay is not confidential. You should be able to find this out from your contract of employment. If disclosing your wages is banned, it's important you don't compare your salary to the salary of another employee when asking for a pay rise, or you could be found in breach of contract.

Use a salary checker to find out if you should be earning more and identify how much more is reasonable. If you pitch too high you're unlikely to be successful and may damage your working relationship.

    Ask yourself why you deserve a raise
  • Check your job description and identify examples of where you have overperformed.
  • Use quantifiable measures such as the percentage by which you've exceeded your targets.
  • Use anecdotes of changes you have implemented which have improved efficiency, productivity or workplace morale.
  • List achievements such as training certificates, client take-ons and new innovations.

Do these show that you are a more valuable employee than you were when your pay grade was determined?

    Write it down
Put your case together in writing. This will give you something to refer to in your meeting, as well as something for your employer to take away with them while they make their decision. It will also give them something to take to their superiors, if and when they have to justify your pay rise to the rest of management.

    Pick your moment
When planning how to ask for a pay rise you need to pick your moment.

Consider the company's financial situation. Definitely don't ask for a pay rise if the business is having to make cutbacks or redundancies. If the business is in a strong enough position to up your pay, read on.

Some times of year and week are better than others. If you have an appraisal coming up, this would be an appropriate time to discuss your pay. If not, the best time of year to ask for a pay rise is nearing the end of the fiscal year, this runs from 6th April to 5th April. Your employer will be making decisions about spending for the following year at this time.

It can also be helpful to ask for a pay rise after you have completed a successful project. Your employer is more likely to be willing to reward you if you've just impressed them. At the very least, make sure your loose ends are tied up and all your projects are on schedule before you ask for a salary increase.

How is your boss' mood and workload? If your manager is too busy or stressed, this is a bad time to ask for a pay rise. Use this moment to identify areas you can help them and relieve some stress. Then, when its a better time to bring up the subject of pay, you'll have already demonstrated how valuable you are.

When the time is right, try to arrange your meeting for just after lunch. The morning stress is over and hopefully everyone's feeling a bit more relaxed, but not yet rushing to complete tasks before the end of the day. For the same reason, avoid Mondays and Fridays.

Are you being paid less than your colleagues of the opposite gender?
You can follow the advice in 'How to ask for a pay rise' too, but, if your request is refused you may be able to make a claim for equal pay at the employment tribunal.

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How to negotiate a pay rise

Either discuss pay at an appraisal meeting, or, give your boss at least two weeks notice. Tell them you'd like to discuss your performance, responsibilities and pay so that your employer is forewarned doesn't feel ambushed.

Dress as you would for an interview. If you are nervous, consciously control your body language to appear calm and relaxed. Don't fidget, slouch or cross your arms.

Prepare your script and rehearse it with a friend. Start by thanking your employer for taking the time for this meeting. Open by telling them how excited you are about recent accomplishments and further growth; and this is why you want to discuss your pay.

Then, discuss the specifics. List your specific achievements, use measurable percentages and figures if possible, tell them the figure you have in mind. Use confident language and stick to facts. Don't say things like think, believe, feel; you'll leave room for doubt and negotiation.

Be prepared for follow up questions. You'll need to back up your proposed salary with the salary research you've done and you may need to elaborate on your examples of your skills and achievements.

Your employer may agree to a pay rise but not to the amount you have proposed. Be willing to negotiate, you may be able to accept a lower increase now with plans to increase again next year. Ask what they need to see from you to match the pay increase you want and suggest a date in 12 months to review your pay and performance again.

If your employer says no, ask them for their reasons. Use questions such as:
  • "Is there more you need to see from me before increasing my pay?"
  • "Are you satisfied with my performance?"
  • "Would it be better to discuss this at a later date?"

Have you been refused a pay increase that your colleague was granted?
If you have been refused a pay rise because of your age, disability, gender, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation or marriage or civil partnership, you may be able to make a claim for discrimination at the employment tribunal.

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If your manager gives budget restrictions as their reason for refusing your pay rise, respond by asking them to confirm that they agree your raise would be appropriate. For example: "So, you agree that this raise would be fair, but aren't able to cost it in to the current budget. Is there a time that we could revisit this when you expect there to be a little more room in the budget? How can I help you make the case for my pay rise in the future?"

Thank them for their time, even if they say no. Follow up with a thank you email which recaps your main points and the conversation that you had. This may help you get the raise, if they haven't given you an answer yet. If they've decided not to increase your salary, this email will serve as a good reference if you want to ask for a pay rise in the future. It's best not to ask for a pay rise more than once a year, unless you've agreed a time to revisit your proposition.

Frequently Asked Questions
Use a salary calculator such as this one from to determine what a reasonable salary is for your job. Look at job ads that match your job description, to see what your organisation's competitors are offering.
If your pay is a deal breaker, its time to start looking at other jobs. If you get a job offer with better pay, call your boss and tell them. You may find that they have a change of heart when they realise that they might lose you, and have to spend money hiring and training someone who may not be able to fill your shoes.

Do you have a problem with your employer?
There is much more to winning your case than simply being in the right, our specialist employment solicitors know all the laws and tactics, to make sure you get the best chance at a fair settlement. Get in contact with us and see how we can help.

Employment Law Specialist | Competitive Quotes | Straight Talking Legal Support

This content is provided free of charge for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of our company. For employment law advice you can click here to organise a meeting with one of our panel of employment law solicitors.

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