When is the Best Time to Ask for a Pay Rise?

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Asking your boss for a pay rise can be nerve-wracking and even a little stressful. There’s always some risk involved as they may say no, plus talking about money especially with your boss is rarely easy. This is why it’s so important to pick the best time to ask for a pay rise and to know that you have a solid case.

Asking for a pay rise is difficult because there are a number of factors that influence the outcome, some that you can control and some that you can’t. For example, your own performance and success are down to you, but how well the company is doing as a whole is something you don’t have as much influence over.

Nevertheless, if you know that you deserve more money and think the time is right, it can’t hurt to ask the question. Here’s how you can decide whether the time’s right to make your move.

Is the company doing well?

Being aware of how well your company is doing is important if you want to ask for a pay rise. If there’s plenty of money coming in then the management team will be more receptive to your request. Additionally, if you have contributed to the company’s success this can help your case.

On the other hand, if you’ve seen that your company is cutting budgets and not hitting revenue goals then it may not be the best time to ask for a pay rise. Even if your performance has been good, a company that is tightening the purse strings will be reluctant to give you more.

Is your boss on your side?

Has your boss been giving you a lot of praise recently? Are they pleased with your performance? If so, that can be a big positive. If they are in charge of pay rises then you should be in with a good chance of success, and if they’re not they will certainly advocate on your behalf.

Do you have a performance review coming up?

If there’s no performance review in sight and you haven’t had a pay raise for over a year, then it’s a good idea to set up a meeting to discuss your progress and compensation. You should aim to arrange this at a time that is low-stress for your boss and you’ll want to catch them in a good mood.

If you know that raises happen at a particular time of year e.g. in-line with company budgeting, then it may be better to wait. Make a note of when this will be happening and start preparing evidence about why you deserve a higher salary. You should then make your case just before these decisions are being made so you don’t miss the boat.

Have you done your salary research?

When asking for a pay rise it’s important that you have a good understanding of what you’re worth. How much are others in your job with your experience level earning? You should consider salaries both in your company and outside of it to get a good idea of the current market. This information can then be something that you use to make your case to your boss.

If you don’t have a clear figure in your mind and haven’t done the research to back it up then you may struggle to succeed in your negotiations.

Have you taken on more work and responsibility?

If you have been doing a lot more recently and making a success of it, then you’re in the perfect position to ask for a pay rise. This is especially true if you’ve just completed a big project with fantastic results.

On the other hand, if you’ve been cruising in your role and haven’t stepped up a gear then you won’t have a particularly good case for deserving a salary bump. If this is the case, before you ask for more money you should be asking for more responsibility and going above and beyond in your role. Once you’ve proven yourself, you can ask.

Can you give a compelling answer to the question, “Why do you deserve a pay rise?”

Before your meeting to discuss your salary, you should prepare yourself with reasons and evidence as to why you deserve a raise. This could be:

  • Recent reviews
  • Positive feedback emails
  • Data reports and results

Anything that shows you have gone above and beyond in your role is good evidence. If you can demonstrate that you have helped the company grow and be successful, then you’re much more likely to get the answer you want.

Bringing it all together

Asking for a pay rise is tricky and it’s crucial that you’re well prepared. Something else to consider is what you’ll do if you don’t get what you want. Will you work harder and take on more responsibility, so you are in a better position next time? Can you agree on some key goals with your boss that will help you achieve more? Will you look for new jobs? Have a plan B in place so you know what your next steps are.

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