How to ask for a pay rise 

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Team MONEYME|07 June 2023| 3-minute read

Australian wages are growing faster than they have in a decade. Yet, real wages are falling. Only about one-in-10 workers have scored a pay rise that’s even close to keeping up with inflation.  

Not lucky enough to be that one in 10? It could be time to knock at your boss’s door. Here’s how to ask for a pay rise – even when you’re feeling nervous. 

Work out your worth  

In the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, “Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” 

Step one in asking for a pay rise is preparation – and that means determining what you’re worth to your company.  

Make a list of all your achievements since your last pay rise. Wherever possible, quantify them. Did you boost sales by 10%? Did you cut days – or weeks – off an inefficient process? Did you beat your key performance indicators by 20%?  

The more value you can demonstrate, the better. This is not the time to be modest.  

Check out what your competitors are getting paid 🥈 

To get a proper idea of what you should be paid in your role, research the market rate by asking around, checking published salary guides, and visiting wage comparison sites.  

Not-so-subtly letting your boss know you could be getting paid more for the same role at another company could help your case.  

After all, it’s probably cheaper for the company to boost your pay than lose you.  

Avoid talking about your personal circumstances 🐥 

Inflation might be your motivation, but it’s probably not a good idea to take this to the meeting.  

While we’re at it, avoid bringing up your mortgage, credit card, electricity bills, kids’ lessons – or anything else that’s burning a hole in your wallet. The main reason you should get a pay rise is your worth to the company. 

Book a meeting and label it 📆 

Once you’re prepared, it’s time to book a meeting with your boss.  

In your invitation, tell them you’re seeking a salary review. That way, you won’t give them any awkward surprises. Plus, you’ll give them time to think about it.  

Keep cool 😎 

During the meeting, keep your cool. Present your case calmly and professionally. 

It’s unlikely that your boss will say yes to a raise straight away, so mentally prepare yourself for any kind of answer – from a total refusal, to an “I’ll need to think about it”, to “Can we discuss this again in a fortnight?” 

What to do when your boss says no 🙅🏽‍

Got a flat-out no?  

If your boss can’t give you a pay rise, but you don’t want to jump ship, then it could be time to think creatively.  

What else could you ask for, besides money? Think extra leave, greater flexibility, bonus perks, or more professional development.  

Think ahead 🙇‍ 

If you still don’t get any bites, all is not lost.  

At least you and your killer achievements are now on your boss’s radar. Thank them for their time and ask them for feedback on how you could do better. Take that feedback onboard – and have another crack at negotiating six months down the track.

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