How and when to ask for a pay rise

Published: 10 Apr 2015

More than half of Scottish workers are unhappy with their salary, yet less than a quarter asked for a pay rise in the last year, according to new research* from recruiting experts, Hays.

Despite increasing salaries in the past year, many employees are dissatisfied with their pay but only 22% asked for a pay rise in the past year, and of these only 12% of these were successful. With so few successful pay rise negotiations taking place, workers planning to ask for a pay rise this year should do their research and brush up on their negotiation skills.

Keith Mason, Hays director for North of Scotland, said: “With an improving economy and salaries increasing, now is a good time to negotiate with your employer over the pay, benefits and career opportunities they have to offer. Our research shows that many workers are still reluctant to ask for a pay rise, and those that do are often unsuccessful.”
Negotiating a pay rise can be daunting, but doing your research and preparing a strong business case will help you make a persuasive argument to your employer, and decide whether to stay where you are or seek a pay rise elsewhere.”

Five tips to secure a pay rise:

Consider your reasons. Think carefully about your motivations. Do you want more money because you believe you deserve it, or because it will make an otherwise tiresome job slightly more bearable? In our experience, the majority of people who believe the latter end up leaving their jobs within months of their pay rise.

Know your worth. Before you even request a meeting you should research your market value. Look at job adverts for similar roles, and use guides such as the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2015 to help you work out how your pay and benefits compare with others. It will help you prove your request is justified, and that you could be offered a higher salary if you were to look elsewhere.

Time it right. Time your approach right, no boss will appreciate being asked for a pay rise in the middle of a critical project, and you’ll only harm your chances if your request comes at the wrong time. On the other hand, requesting a meeting just after you have delivered an impressive piece of work, or when you know annual pay reviews are looming, could increase your chances.

Prepare your business case. Before you approach your boss, you need to be sure of what you have done to deserve a pay rise and build a business case around it. Every employer is different, so understand what it takes to get a pay rise in your organisation and be ready to tick those boxes.

Keep your salary review discussion professional, stay calm and focused and don’t bring up personal matters such as rising bills or mortgage repayments. Although your employer may be sympathetic, they cannot give you a pay rise on this basis.

Prepare to compromise. Even if they think a salary increase is in order, your employer may have a lower number in mind than you do, so think about what you would accept if your original request is not granted. You should also decide what else you would accept instead of a salary increase, such as an increased potential bonus or flexible working instead of a pay rise.


*Data from Hays UK Salary and Recruiting Trends 2015 www.hays.co.uk/salary-guide

Back to listing