A careers expert reveals the best way to ask your boss for a payrise

Having your performance review? Here's how to approach the topic of a pay increase with your manager.

You might be in the midst of your annual review at work and, after a year of working hard and doing everything you can for the company, it's not uncommon to want a pay rise.

Broaching the subject of money at work is never easy or straight-forward, but if you want to know how to tackle the conversation, we asked Jay Munro, Indeed’s Head of Career Insights to share his top tips.

Choose the right time to ask

When you do ask for a pay increase, you need to carefully choose your timing.

Jay says the optimal time to ask is when the company is doing well and your manager isn’t too stressed, but if a convenient time to ask for a raise isn’t coming up, call for a meeting and reflect on your recent accomplishments.

"Have you just reached an impressive milestone or exceeded an important goal? This could be a good time to ask. Be sure to document the details of the specific accomplishments you’ll reference in your conversation," he says.

Even though your manager may be aware of your work broadly, they may not be up to date on precisely how impressive or beneficial to the business your accomplishments really are.

Get salary trends

It's all well and good to ask for a pay rise, but how much should you actually ask for?

"Every job has a market value," explains Jay, "This value is usually within a certain range. To learn the salary range for your job, you can visit Indeed Salaries and enter your job title. You’ll be able to see the national salary trend for your job title."

Jay suggests comparing your current salary to the trends you find. Where you fall within that range may affect the increase in pay that you ask for. From this indicator, identify a salary range or percentage increase in pay that you’d be happy with and go forth from there.

Set up a meeting

It goes without saying, but you should always have these kind of conversations in private and face to face. If you’re not in the same location as your manager, have the conversation over a video call, if possible.

"Do not ask for a raise without setting an appointment in the calendar first," says Jay.

"The best setting is a room with a closed door. You should approach asking for a raise with the same level of seriousness you would have for a job interview or an important presentation and you should dress accordingly. Your appearance can convey to your manager that you understand the significance of the conversation," he suggests.

Prepare what to say

Before your meeting, take some time to work through exactly what you want to say - it's normal to recognise that feelings of fear and anxiety are natural when discussing money.

"Writing and practising a script is one way to manage those feelings," explains Jay.

"If you rehearse it enough, you’ll be able to stick to it even when you’re nervous. Throughout your script, focus on the professional rather than personal reasons why you deserve this raise."

Jay's pro-tip: "Avoid words which could undercut your position, such as: believe, feel, think, just, only, might. These words can make it seem that you are not feeling confident or sure - and if you convey uncertainty, your manager may become uncertain too. Go into this conversation knowing that you deserve a raise and communicate your confidence with strong words that leave little room for negotiation."

Be ready for questions

If you’ve asked for a raise at a good time and given evidence that you deserve to be paid more, you should expect your manager to give your request careful consideration. 

Jay says you should also expect there to be some follow-up questions and negotiation.

"Listen carefully to how your manager responds to your request. If you feel intimidated at any point, return  to your evidence to strengthen your case. Ask your own questions to understand where they’re coming from," he suggests.

Thank your manager

Regardless of how the conversation went, it's important to end by thanking your manager for their time. Later that day or the next, Jay suggests sending them a follow-up email that recaps your reasons for asking for a raise and includes a summary of the conversation you had.

Why is this email important? Jay explains, "If your manager needs to ask someone else about your raise, this email will make it easier for them to have a conversation on your behalf. If they rejected your request for a raise, this email can serve as a record of the conversation. You may decide to request a raise again at a later date, and you can reference this email at that point."

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