Hays UK jobs and employment blog



5 questions to ask yourself before you ask for a pay rise

By Hays Experts


If you are unhappy with your current salary and think you deserve a pay rise, you need to take the time to prepare your case before taking it to your manager. There are a few key questions you should be asking yourself. Once you have worked out the answers, you will be in a much better position to ask for a salary increase.

How big a risk would it be for your employer if you were to leave?

Of course, no employee is indispensable and anyone can be replaced, but taking on a new employee can still be a risk and costly for an employer. They know that you have the skills and experience to do the job and losing those could be a problem. However good your replacement is, it will still take some time to train them up. Can your company afford that downtime?

An incredible nine in ten employers say they have experienced some form of skills shortage over the last year. So, with skills shortages rife in every industry, from construction and property to accountancy and finance, it may be that your employer will find it difficult to replace you. If your absence would hit productivity hard or put too much pressure on other team members, losing your skills could be too big a risk for your company, giving you a strong negotiating position.

Can you offer something others don’t have?

First and foremost, you have the skills and experience required to do your job at your company and you have proved that, perhaps over a number of years. But is there anything else you can offer your employer? Do you have skills with a particular IT package? Are you a brilliant project manager? Are you great at dealing with customers face-to-face?

Compile a list of your key achievements to present to your manager as justification for your request. You should highlight any big wins, like new contracts brought in or projects you’ve been instrumental to. Also suggest areas where you have added value outside the scope of your role, these could be grounds to negotiate a boost to your salary.

Are you eligible for a promotion?

Being promoted is a logical way to grow your salary, so if there’s a clear career path at your organisation, talk to your manager about how to reach your next step. If the path to your career progression is a little muddier, take a look at any new projects you can lend your hand to, or see what new skills you could learn for the benefit of the business, take a proposal to your manager and see what they have to say.

If they can’t offer a better salary, can they improve your benefits?

If your employer can’t afford to increase your pay now, due to market pressures on the business, is there anything else that would persuade you to stay?

Could you negotiate flexible working, including working different hours or working some of your hours at home to improve your work-life balance? An increased holiday entitlement is attractive to many employees, as is a pension above statutory contribution or health insurance/ private medical cover. Improving benefits like these can compensate for a shortfall in salary for many employees, so ensure you’re aware of and are taking advantage of any benefits you may be eligible for.

What is the market rate for your job?

You might think you deserve a pay rise, but do you actually have the data to back that up? You can use the new Hays Salary Checker to get a feel for typical salaries for your role, taking into account factors like geographical location. If your pay comes out near the bottom of the salary range, you might have a good case for a raise.

Once you have thought through the answers to all these questions, you should be in a much better position to approach your manager to negotiate a pay rise.

If you are unsure what kind of annual increase you can expect in your industry, download a free copy of the Hays Salary Guide. You can also search and apply for permanent or temporary jobs across the UK in a range of industries from technology to social care and marketing to procurement

About this author

Beginning life in 1968 with just a handful of employees, Hays how has over 7,800 recruiting specialists worldwide, including 1,800 in the UK. Our consultants are experts in their field, helping professionals advance their careers, and organisations find the right talent.


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