Leadership Blog

Posted By: Eva Grabner | on September 20 2017

Show me the Money! ….. how to ask for that pay rise

“I sucked in a shaky breath, feeling my throat constrict. Panic rose like bile in my body. I suddenly didn’t know how to speak. Or walk. I just stood blankly, staring up at the terror before me. My palms were clammy, and it was all I could do not to knot my fingers together. “Hello.” I managed, the word rolling out of my mouth like tumbleweed.  “I, um, wonder if I could have a pay rise?”

Are you cringing just reading this?  It has got to be one of the most uncomfortable conversations we will ever have in our professional career.  Feeling that you deserve a pay rise, thinking about it for days or weeks, running through the conversation with your boss in your head over and over then finally plucking up the courage to walk into their office, only to be hit with the worst case of nerves!

We’ve all been there.  But how we handle it is different.  If you are a hard-working, productive person who consistently achieves targets then you have every right to ask for a pay rise, as long as it’s within reason.  Here are a few tips that may help you overcome those nerves and have your boss say ‘yes’.


The first step is to find out what the standard procedure for salary reviews is at your company with respect to timing and justification.  Is it after a full year of employment or at the beginning of the new financial year?  What is the state of the market?  What data would support your case that your contribution has been significantly above expectations and has, in some ways, improved your company’s financial health .

You will also need to know your market value and what comparable roles in your sector are paid.  Your recruiter can usually assist you with this.

Write it down

Be prepared, write down your strengths, your responsibilities and your achievements over the year and, in particular, ways in which you have saved costs, added value and helped to generate additional revenue or provided excellent customer service. Having the facts at your fingertips, rather than trying to recall information off the top of your head, will help you stay calm and matter-of-fact.


Going in to speak with your boss is nerve-racking, but if you are prepared with  your case in writing, then go in knowing your value and what you would consider as acceptable, or not acceptable, as a response.  Are you going to start high and work down or do you have a particular amount in mind?  Is it all about the money?  Perhaps flexibility, working from home, additional vacation time or part-time hours is what you prefer to negotiate?

Pay attention to your body language.  If you go in guns blazing your boss may get defensive and you won’t get anywhere but if you go in unprepared and nervous, you may not get anywhere either.  Stay relaxed, be confident and avoid repeating yourself too much.  Listen carefully to their side and be willing to negotiate and you will be more likely to succeed.

Just remember that when it comes to asking for a pay rise, timing is key and you will need to come prepared with a strong, persuasive case to justify the increase.    Your desired outcome is not assured, so you need to be prepared for both a positive and a negative response.

Have a backup plan ready in case of a ‘no’, perhaps there are other benefits that you could negotiate such as flexible work hours, paid travel and reimbursement for training classes, certifications and other continuing education classes that will benefit both you and the company?

But before you leave, be sure you have a clear timeline and agreement on what you would need to demonstrate and achieve by a certain date to secure an increase at your next review.

Do you want to know your worth in the current market?   Contact one of our professional consultants today 07 4088 1571.

Eva Grabner
Managing Director
Elite Executive Pty Ltd
Ph: 07 4088 1571

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