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How to ask for a raise at work

Posted on 05 January 2022

How to ask for a raise at work

​7-minute read

Are you are feeling underpaid for the work you are contributing to the business, but before you decide looking for a new job is the better option, you might want to speak with your manager and ask for a raise at work.


The problem is, you don’t know how to as no one has ever shown or told you. Therefore, you go in blind about what to expect, fail to prepare correctly and before you know it you are being told ‘no’.


This is where this article comes in. Well, the bit before you even have the conversation with your manager about a pay increase. We want to show you exactly how to ask for a raise in a way that will either get a yes today or move you closer to a yes with milestones in place.


There is an art to asking for a raise, it will bring you back to the days of classic rhetoric (don’t expect an Aristotle level argument but we will do our best). Confidence, self-belief without being bullish will bring you closer to the salary you desire, but the first step in acquiring that salary is gathering the data to support your argument.


Gather data to support your argument

Something caused you to feel underpaid and start you on this journey of asking for a pay increase. Explore what that was further, did a colleague share with you their current salary or maybe a friend in a similar job but different company.

What was the reason you felt this way?

Knowing this will help remove emotion from your argument, making you more persuasive and more open to flexibility (which we will cover later on). When you argue with emotion you become stubborn in thought, potentially breaking down negotiations and leaving you without the raise.

Once you know the reason behind your feelings, look to identify where your current salary (or package) is compared to the market average. There are a number of ways in which you can do this, explore the ones you want to but be careful not to have information overload:

  • Asking colleagues (that you trust).

  • Asking friends in similar roles.

  • Seeking advice from recruitment agencies (be mindful, a lot of data we have seen from recruitment agencies on salaries is sometimes fabricated).

  • Glassdoor ( ) or similar sites.

  • Payscale ( ) or similar sites.

  • Peritus Partners (we will always tell you the average salaries if we have them from our own data, if not we will seek out the data from our other sources and share the origin with you).

Comparing your current salary and/or package to the market will give you an indication of whether you truly are underpaid or not. The more data you gather here will the more support your argument will have when speaking with your manager, providing the sources are reliable.

Missing this step will result in a weaker argument. You feel you are underpaid and the company disagrees, having nothing to support your claim will cause the conversation to fall flat and ultimately break down.


Have a value in mind

Now we know where we stand compared to the market, the next step is to have a figure in mind. Think back to when you were looking for a new job, you had a salary you were targeting, asking for an increase is no different. Having a clear number (or package) will allow you to negotiate with confidence on the areas that matter most to you.

Feel free to download our ‘Negotiation Play Book’ to help with this bit.


Highlight the positive impact you have had within the business

Remember we are structuring a persuasive argument, so far, we have identified what we want a the end result (your values) and we have the data to re-enforce our point (facts), now turn your attention to the value you have added to the business.

The value you bring will get your manager in an appreciative frame of mind, they will look more favourably upon you when you highlight the positive impact you have had within the team, project and business.

Before you speak with your manager think about what impact you have had over the last 12 – 18 months, this time frame is long enough to bring up plenty of examples but short enough for it to impact what you feel you are worth to the business based on their results.

Write as many examples as you can using the and then highlight the few that made the most impact.


If you have extra responsibilities now, be prepared to discuss them

This step is similar to gathering the data, only this time it is unique for those that have identified earlier on that they feel underpaid because they have increased responsibilities (managing a team, or more people, running a project or training others etc.) but not an increase in salary.

We have never understood companies that make you do the work of promotion but do not compensate you until you have completed 6 months or a year in that new job. If this is the reason for your salary request, then be prepared to discuss the new responsibilities in comparison to the old.

Highlight what others in this type of position receive based on your research and then bring in the impact you have had based on your new responsibilities.


Focus on the future

By now you will have gathered your data, selected the most impactful projects you have personally worked on within the business and highlighted any increased responsibilities. The next step would be to do what all rhetoric arguments suggest and focus on the future.

We are more persuasive when we focus on the future, we create the ideal world in the persons mind and this brings them more towards our ways of thinking (we are basically doing mind Jiu-Jitsu).

To bring the future into your argument, highlight any project ideas you have thought about that could be implemented into the business. These could be related to the product or internally among your colleagues.

What we want to do here is add extra future value. Persuading your manager that your skills, knowledge and interest in the business are all higher than what your current salary is. Take your time to craft potential ideas, go in with not just a basic plan but something more substantial that can be expanded on further if required.


Create a salary plan

If you structure your conversation in the right way that highlights impact, new responsibilities (if you have them), future projects you are working on and tie it all together with supportive data then you should have put yourself in the very best possible position for a pay increase.

However, it is not always that simple, therefore having a salary plan that you can present to your manager might swing it more in your favour.

A salary plan effectively is a simple plan that you allocate specific objectives that once complete will allow you to have the salary increase.

Before the meeting, do your best to highlight upcoming projects or responsibilities that might be best to place on such a plan, then in your meeting, if the answer is a ‘no’, bring this plan up as a discussion piece. Remember to be flexible you might think something is important to the business but they might think something else, the salary plan will conclude with a clear road map from your current salary to your ideal salary with a number of goals along the way.


If the answer is still a ‘no’ after trying all of this, try and identify why. If the answer doesn’t satisfy you, then it might be best to explore new options in an environment that pays more of what you are looking for.

Check out our latest jobs if you find yourself in that position, we would be happy to help where we can and as always if you feel someone else could benefit from this advice feel free to share around.

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