Are You Too Embarrassed To Ask For A Pay Rise?

Katherine Scrowther

10th February 2016

Asking for a pay rise

There are certain questions that we find embarrassing in this world, and asking for money is one of them. You may love your job, but the pay might just not be meeting your needs or expectations. Convincing your boss to increase your salary seems like one of the hardest things to do, but if you know you’re worth more than you are being paid, then it’s time to follow these steps and see if you are really undervalued.

Do your research 

Asking for more money may be the way forward, but the question cannot be asked upfront without any proof of back up as to why you deserve that bit more income. We would all like to be on a £250K salary a year, but in this competitive world, your boss won’t be willing to give you a fantasy salary, so it’s important that you find out how much your job role is actually worth. There are many ways you can find out this information; check job boards, have a look at job advertisements that are similar to yours to show what your company’s competitors are willing to pay. You can also check out the salary comparison websites to see how far off the scale you really are. Alternatively there are plenty of recruitment companies that post salary guidelines online for you to review.

Choosing the right moment 

If you have been looking at other companies’ salaries for a while now and the majority of them are a lot higher than yours, then this information can be taken to your boss. However, it’s important to make sure that you get your timings right and choose a moment where you think they will be ready to listen to you. Making sure you don’t approach them in the busiest moments of the week will prove more successful. Try to find a quiet time where you can ask to arrange a meeting with your boss and mention that you would like to discuss salary which gives them clarity for the meeting.

Get comfortable 

We don’t really realise it, but environment matters. If your boss is sat in his/her office in a high chair, he/she may be more inclined to act in a more authoritarian way. Some type of informality goes a long way when sitting down for a discussion, which is why it would be better to choose a more comfortable spot in the office to discuss this or even asking your boss if you could go to the nearest cafe where there is nobody from work around. You need to have this discussion where you and your boss cannot be disturbed or distracted – remember it is a discussion so be prepared to discuss objectively.

Appearance Matters 

When we say appearance, we don’t always mean what we wear, but the way we act in the work place. If you’re asking for a pay rise then you need to take your role seriously and you have feedback that you are good at what you do. You need to make yourself stand out in the company, show determination and willingness to improve. It’s about proving that you add value to the workplace.

When bringing up the question about getting a pay rise try to not come across as nervous; stuttering and unsure on the information you are providing could ruin the situation. If you don’t appear to believe in yourself, then your boss certainly won’t. Know what you’re capable of, what impact you have on the workplace and remain professional at all times. A balanced conversation works well – remember there is always a bit of horse trading involved.

Have silent pauses 

Sometimes we can have a lot of energy when we are raising a point, especially if we believe in what we are saying and it can be that we don’t allow the other party to speak. This will just show that you had no intention of having a discussion, you wanted to give a lecture and your boss may not be responsive. Once you have set out your reasons you should stay silent, allow them time to think and respond. Keeping your boss on your side will work in your favour as some people often get defensive or aggressive which only makes your boss respond to you in the same tone of voice – getting you nowhere. The more relaxed you stay, the more your boss will.

Listen to the answer and stay calm, your boss’s answer will be what determines your decision. If you haven’t yet received a straight forward answer, give it a couple of days and then send a follow up email.

Want to find out what you are really worth? Our consultants place candidates in different roles across the tech sector and can advise on salaries and opportunities. If you are looking for an alternative career options you can give one of our consultants a call today on 020 7426 9835 or visit our website at