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The ultimate guide to asking for a pay rise in 2023

Salary levels are a hot topic in 2023.

While the UK has experienced the strongest growth in regular pay outside the pandemic era (ONS data September-November 2022), with inflation at 10.7%, pay in real terms has actually fallen by 2.6%.

What most people don’t know is that in this country there is no legal entitlement to an annual pay rise, not even to keep up with inflation. And while many employers offer an annual salary review, many others don’t.

We all know that asking for an increase in your salary is a daunting prospect but it’s an important step in ensuring you are fairly compensated for your work.

So how do you go about asking your boss for a pay rise? Read on for our top tips including how to:

While it may be obvious that you should approach the subject of a pay rise in a professional manner, this also includes putting together a solid business case for why you deserve a pay rise, not why you need more money.

Don’t tell your boss:

Instead, justify your business worth with something like this:

“I have been with the company for X years and have consistently met my targets. I’ve also taken on additional responsibilities. In light of this, and considering the current market rate for my role, I would like to request a pay rise of X%.”

Here are the key tasks that will help you build your business justification for asking for a pay rise.

The best time to approach your request for a pay rise is:

Here are some times to avoid asking for a pay rise:

Be prepared for the fact that your employer is unlikely to give you an immediate decision. This doesn’t mean it’s bad news – chances are they will take time to consider their position and schedule another meeting with you. While it can be nerve-wracking to have to wait, it’s also important you don’t harass your boss for a response.

Remember, too, that having raised the issue of your ‘worth’ to the company, your performance is likely to be under review during the deliberation period. Now is the time to show your full potential as well as concentrating on your daily tasks.

If your employer can’t offer you a pay rise, it’s worth asking if there is some other kind of benefit they can offer – a pay rise isn’t the only form of recognition or reward.

For example, perhaps they would consider offering you reduced working hours that equate to a pay rise, a one-off bonus, more flexible working hours, additional holiday, or time off.

Benefits like this can go a long way to making you feel more valued.

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Talking about money is never easy, so it’s important to stay professional and respectful during the conversation. Approach it as a dialogue – be prepared to listen to your boss’s perspective and to address any concerns they may have.

Remember this is a business negotiation – you aren’t asking for a favour. You have every right to make a reasonable request for more money, and your employer should listen to your proposition respectfully and give due consideration to your request.

It’s never a good idea, however tempting, to offer an ultimatum and threaten to leave unless your request is met, even if you have another job to go to.

Whatever the outcome, it’s a good idea to follow up your conversation in writing. Send an email summarizing the discussion, and thank them for their time.

This will help ensure that both parties are on the same page. It will also serve as a record of the conversation for future reference.

Do your research, choose the right timing, be clear and specific in your request, be open to negotiation, and follow up in writing.

There’s no doubt that asking for a pay rise is challenging. But with the right preparation and the above approach, you can increase your chances of success.

Best of luck!

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