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How to ask for a pay rise – 7 tips from a money expert

Lesley Thomas of The Money Confidence Academy shares her advice

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Ainhoa Barcelona
Content Managing Editor
29 February 2024
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Asking for a pay rise can feel uncomfortable, however by mastering the art of negotiation you can give yourself the best chance of getting what you want. Just like with most things in life, preparation and planning are key. 

Lesley Thomas, founder of The Money Confidence Academy and host of the Let's Talk Money and More podcast, shares her top seven tips for success.

Women save £136k less than the average man when it comes to their pensions© Getty

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare

Before having the conversation, ensure you have armed yourself with the evidence. Do your research to understand the market you are in and the industry standards for your role, as well as the experience level, to know how your current salary and overall package compare. Ensure you can talk about your achievements in your role to date, including the projects you have worked on, the responsibilities you have taken on, and the impact you have had in that role and if possible, on the company's bottom line.  

2. Choose the time wisely

Choosing the right time to discuss a pay rise can significantly impact the outcome. Avoid any particularly busy or stressful pinch points, such as the end of quarter, or major project deadlines, when you know it could be tricky to have this kind of conversation. Ideally, you want to schedule the conversation after a significant result or achievement, or after a positive annual review, as a discussion around salary will more likely be anticipated and well received.

3. Rehearse what you want to say

The best way to ensure you confidently deliver your pitch is to practice, practice, practice. There is no getting away from it, the more you practice what you plan to say, with a trusted friend, colleague, or mentor, the better you will be.

4. Demonstrate your commitment to growth

As well as discussing your achievements, it is also important to ensure you express your commitment to future growth within the company. Outline your plan on how you will continue to contribute to the company's success, using it as an opportunity to emphasise that investment in you, is an investment in the company's future.

5. Be prepared for any response

Be prepared for all possible outcomes. If the answer is yes, great, but understand the details of the offer and say thank you. However, if the response is a maybe or a straight no, ask for feedback and what you can do to achieve a pay rise in the future.

6. Non-monetary compensation

If an increase in pay is not possible, then consider what non-monetary benefits you might consider, such as flexible working, extra holidays, or opportunities for professional development. Your employer may well want to reward you, but financially can't, and therefore they may be open to other options. This is why preparation ahead of the conversation is key.

7. Keep emotion out of the conversation

Remain professional at all times and leave the conversation having demonstrated your commitment to growth, as well as leaving the door open for discussion in the future.

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