The ultimate guide to asking for a pay rise in 2023!

While the UK has experienced the strongest growth in regular pay outside the pandemic era (ONS data September-November 2022), with inflation at 10.7%, pay in real terms has actually fallen by 2.6%.

What most people don’t know is that in this country there is no legal entitlement to an annual pay rise, not even to keep up with inflation. And while many employers offer an annual salary review, many others don’t.

We all know that asking for an increase in your salary is a daunting prospect but it’s an important step in ensuring you are fairly compensated for your work.

So how do you go about asking your boss for a pay rise? Read on for our top tips including how to:

  • Justify your worth within both the job market and your company.
  • Choose the best timing for your request for a pay rise.
  • Consider alternative benefits if a pay rise isn’t feasible.
  • Act professionally throughout the negotiations.

Why do you deserve more money?

While it may be obvious that you should approach the subject of a pay rise in a professional manner, this also includes putting together a solid business case for why you deserve a pay rise, not why you need more money.

Don’t tell your boss:

  • Inflation is high and the cost-of-living crisis is biting.
  • You’re supporting more people at home.
  • Your personal expenses have risen, and you can’t manage on your current salary.

Instead, justify your business worth with something like this:

“I have been with the company for X years and have consistently met my targets. I’ve also taken on additional responsibilities. In light of this, and considering the current market rate for my role, I would like to request a pay rise of X%.”

Do your research.

Here are the key tasks that will help you build your business justification for asking for a pay rise.

  • Check the market. Look at the average salary for your role and industry in the UK. CV-Library has an online site to help you with this information, plus you can look at our job adverts to see how much other companies are offering for roles like yours.
  • Look at your overall performance and place within the business. Give evidence of where you’ve contributed to the business and include examples of how you intend to keep doing this in the future. Employers want to know they’re getting something of value in return for your salary!
  • Make a list of all your achievements. Specifically include recent projects you have led, any new clients you have brought on board, or any improvements you have made to processes or systems.
  • Make a list of any new skills or qualifications you’ve acquired or learned on the job. These all help improve your performance and illustrate your added value to the business.
  • Don’t forget your soft skills. These are increasingly in demand in the job market.

Timing is everything.

The best time to approach your request for a pay rise is:

  • After you have worked for the company for six months or more
  • When it’s been 12 months or more since your last pay rise
  • When your boss has the time to focus on your request and isn’t distracted by another deadline or on their way to another meeting.

Here are some times to avoid asking for a pay rise:

  • When you’ve just taken sick leave
  • When your performance has been less than optimal, regardless of the reasons why.
  • When the business is facing financial difficulties or there are company-wide cutbacks or redundancies
  • At a company social event.

Be prepared for the fact that your employer is unlikely to give you an immediate decision. This doesn’t mean it’s bad news – chances are they will take time to consider their position and schedule another meeting with you. While it can be nerve-wracking to have to wait, it’s also important you don’t harass your boss for a response.

Remember, too, that having raised the issue of your ‘worth’ to the company, your performance is likely to be under review during the deliberation period. Now is the time to show your full potential as well as concentrating on your daily tasks.

Consider alternatives to a pay rise.

If your employer can’t offer you a pay rise, it’s worth asking if there is some other kind of benefit they can offer – a pay rise isn’t the only form of recognition or reward.

For example, perhaps they would consider offering you reduced working hours that equate to a pay rise, a one-off bonus, more flexible working hours, additional holiday, or time off.

Benefits like this can go a long way to making you feel more valued.

Courtesy of CV Library