How to ask for a pay rise

How to ask for a pay rise (and actually get one!)

Are you planning to ask for a pay rise, but you're just not sure how to go about it? This is a question that I get asked quite often and I completely understand! Asking your boss for an increase in pay can be totally daunting.


But sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and ask the question. That leaves you with one key dilemma… How do you ask for a pay rise and get a resounding “yes” as the response?

Well, I’ve got the goods my friends and I am willing to share. There are a few things you to need to think about when asking for a raise – here are my top tips!


You shouldn’t just ask your boss for more money because you want it. There needs to be a good reason. Have you taken on additional responsibilities? Maybe you have made a significant achievement that has benefited the business? Perhaps there has been a considerable amount of time since your remuneration has been reviewed (more than 12 months)?

On way too many occasions, I have seen employees use their own personal circumstances as justification for a pay rise – “I need more money because….”

Sorry to break this to you, but your employer pays you based on the value you provide to the company, not based on the amount you need to live your lifestyle. With this in mind, you’ll probably have more success if you focus your attention on the reasons a pay rise is warranted, not just why it is wanted. 


There are a range of things that affect this, and the ticket is to know the business you work for. If the company is struggling and letting people go as a result, then this might not be a great time to ask for more money.

Similarly, if you have a performance review coming up in the near future I would probably wait. Performance reviews are a great time to talk money, especially if you have been performing well. The best time to ask for a pay rise is when you've taken on extra tasks, demonstrated strong achievement or the company is excelling.


When I am asking for a raise I present my proposal in writing and follow up with a face to face meeting. But I recognise that this isn’t always appropriate and/or possible. If it is, then go to town. Show them what you are worth.

In a written proposal I would be sure to demonstrate exactly how you have provided value to the business, drawing attention to your most noteworthy achievements. Present your facts and don’t waffle. Provide a strong argument for receiving more money and if given the opportunity, always follow up with a meeting.

Offer your boss the chance to ask questions and discuss your proposal in more detail. 

If you handle yourself professionally, this will make your argument more compelling.

If it's not appropriate or possible to present a written proposal and you're making your request face to face, you should still put something in writing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that you provide to your employer, but you should have some very clear talking points documented. This will ensure you present your case in an articulate manner and don’t forget to mention any particularly relevant parts of your argument.


Getting a raise doesn’t necessarily have to mean an increase on your base salary. There are heaps of different things you could ask for instead, like a bonus scheme for reaching specific targets and key performance indicators, increased tools of the trade (car allowance, mobile phone allowance or paid mobile phone plan), improved overtime, insurance plan, discounts, share options, flexible working – the list goes on!

The last time I asked for a pay rise, I actually negotiated extra annual leave instead of the additional money. I asked for an extra two weeks of leave per year – this would have equated to a few thousand dollars per year in a salary increase, which after tax wouldn’t have made much of a difference to my fortnightly pay. In the lead up to my wedding and with a month’s holiday planned, the paid leave was so much more beneficial to me.

My employer was stoked with my proposal. I wasn’t asking for a massive raise and although I would be taking an extra couple of weeks leave per annum, it was not going to actually cost them any more money!

Fight the temptation to use unethical negotiation techniques.

I have heard lots of stories when it comes to salary negotiation that just don't feel good. Some of these include: 

  • providing employers with ultimatums - "pay up or I'll leave"
  • embellishing on the truth - "I'm doing two jobs since Miranda left, so I deserve twice the salary"
  • throwing other people under the bus to make a buck - "Sally isn't doing her job properly so I'm picking up the slack"
  • deliberately seeking out other offers to elicit counter-offers - "Company XYZ have offered me $20,000 more..."

There's just no need for this type of behaviour. In my experience, I have found that people who negotiate with heart, generally do better in the long run. You can use shady tactics and you might get what you want, but you will potentially lose respect from your managers and peers and could miss out on future opportunities because you are seen as untrustworthy...


I’m not kidding. You need to practice. I like to practice all of my most important life speeches in the shower or when I’m alone in my car, but you choose your own practice place. It is important to run through your presentation to make sure you are clear about your argument, can answer anticipated questions and can respond to possible objections. If you are feeling it, role play with a friend!

Keep in mind that you don't have to prepare your speech word for word. If you do, it could come across as being robotic or inauthentic. This is definitely not how you want to come across when you are trying to influence and persuade. You're better to practice delivering the key points and think about how you might respond to questions, without actually preparing a speech exactly. 

Planning to ask for a pay rise? Make sure you are well prepared with these tips!

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what should you do if they say "no" when you ask for a pay rise?

So, you rocked your presentation and the boss still said no? Take a deep breath and remain calm. Now is not the time to throw your toys out of the pram. The best thing you can do in this situation is ask for feedback. You want to know:

  • Why your request has been denied
  • What plan or steps you can put in place to receive an increase in the future

In the grand scheme of things, money is money and if you don’t feel that you are being paid what you are worth, you may decide to start looking for another role, but don’t make any rash decisions. The most important thing is that regardless of whether you decide to stay or get a new job, you need to maintain your professionalism!

Good luck with asking for your pay rise! 

If you use any of these tips please get in touch and let me know how you go!

Do you have a conundrum you would like some help with? Drop me a line in the comments or get in touch via email!

Becca xo


Have you been thinking about asking for a pay rise? Don't jump in blindly. Use these tips to ensure you prep correctly and achieve the best outcome! ~ Pop Your Career


About the Author


Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.

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