We all think about asking for more money, either at work or from our clients but how many of us actually do it? For the sake of this blog, I will assume you’re employed rather than self-employed but I’ll be writing another blog shortly on how to ask for more money from your clients (without losing their business).

There are a few things to consider before you have the conversation and some common mistakes that you can easily avoid. The key message is – if you don’t ask you don’t get!

Did you know? Female managers in the UK still earn 22% less than their male counterparts and “work for free” for one hour and 40 minutes a day, or 57 working days a year, according to the Chartered Management Institute’s 2015 National Management Salary Survey.

So what can you do to increase your chances of getting the pay rise that you want?

Pep talk

The first thing is a pep talk with yourself. You need to be confident in your own abilities to warrant this pay rise. You’ve worked your tits off to get the recognition that you deserve and then suddenly, the voice in your head tells you to postpone the meeting and talk to your boss next week instead. Or you decide before you even ask, that they’ll probably say no so, what’s the point? Or you’ve convinced yourself that it’s the wrong timing and they’ll sack you. Or even worse, you think about it so much that you start to doubt yourself and actually all of that work you’ve done was probably no better than everyone else’s and it wasn’t any big deal. Stop faffing around and start tuning the voice in your head to think more positively.

Now think, what if you do go along to the meeting as planned? What if your boss turns around and says it’s with pleasure that we can reward you in this way, it’s the least you deserve. What if they turn around and say actually, we wanted to discuss an opportunity with you and this is just the right time. What if they’re used to people approaching them about this and they’re used to offering someone a bump in their pay as they recognise you’re someone they want to hold on to. What if you can now save more for your house deposit? Or you can stop worrying so much about how to stretch your wages to last the whole month and actually worry about something else for a change?

The title of this blog was well thought out. Look around you, look at the men and women you work alongside. They’re going to fall into the first bracket or the second. Which one will you decide on?

Timing is key

This doesn’t mean put it off, but it does mean choose the right time to approach your boss. Think outside of your own situation here – when did the budget last get renewed? When were the last round round of promotions/pay rises? How long have you worked there for? What other key events are going on that week/month that may influence it? Have they told you recently that they’re going through a hard time personally? Be sensitive to other factors surrounding your role and the company and ensure your emotional intelligence is switched on. 

Talk facts, not feelings

(Jot down a list of the tasks you’ve carried out and what results you’ve achieved, how does this compare with the current team and usual expectations for this role) Refrain from saying anything which might imply you’re ‘fucked off’ or ‘not coping’ – these emotions are to be spoken about with friends and family not your boss. Put yourself in their shoes, they want to know why you think you’re current pay is not satisfactory? Then they want to know that they’re potentially losing a good resource if they don’t match the competitive rate? And then they’ll want to work out how it fits in the budget?

“I think being uncomfortable asking for more money is a female thing: we think we’re not worth it or that we have to be doing everything and doing it to an incredible standard. Men turn up and just say, “I did all of this, give me more money.” Women are more like, “Well, I did this bit, but the team helped here, and so and so did all this.” We’re uncomfortable taking all the credit.”

What’s competitive?

Do your research when it comes to the numbers. It doesn’t take long to do and it could cost you the the difference if you don’t bother to look into what others are being paid in your field. How do you know that the number in your head isn’t in fact much lower than the going rate? If you feel comfortable enough to talk to friends and colleagues then this can be really helpful especially if they work in the same role as you or in HR/Recruitment. Otherwise there are plenty of sites such as Glassdoor or PayScale which shows you what the market rate is depending on level and experience within your industry.

Be prepared to negotiate

A man doing a similar job to mine in a different part of the company earns far more than me. I’ve pointed it out to my manager but he just says, “Well, he negotiated better.”

You might not get the exact uplift you’re looking for but how low are you prepared to go? Depending on what is competitive, start off with a slightly higher amount than you were looking for a be prepared to meet in the middle if you have to. Don’t ruin your chances and ask for something unrealistic, make sure you come armed with the market rate and then some. 

Remember, you don’t have to accept the first salary you’re offered when taking a new role – you’re allowed to decline the offer and ask for a rise just the way you might do if you were looking to sell a house.

Call to action

Where possible, try to set a timeframe for them to follow up with you once they’ve had time to think about it or discuss with others. Time and time again, I’ve seen people take the initiative to ask for a payrise and nothing comes of the conversation – how annoying is this! You’ve plucked up the courage, absolutely smashed it and then tumbleweed. Say something like ‘can we follow up the same time next week to discuss once you’ve had some time to think about it?’

Plan B

Have you prepared yourself for what you’ll do if the decision is to not offer you a payrise or any alternative? Are you happy to stay there regardless because the work you do is still rewarding in more ways than just the pay. Or is this the push you need to look for a new job that pays more? Just be mindful that the conversation, as much as you’ve planned for it, might not turn out the way you’d like and rather than let it pull you down, you’ve already worked out what you’re going to do about it. Please don’t let this one experience deter you from trying again though, each employer is different from the next – learn from it and move on and up.

Common mistakes

  • Always request a face to face meeting, don’t discuss this subject over email or phone if possible 

  • I’m not sure how true this is but apparently the best time of day to ask for a pay rise is Wednesday or Thursday afternoon. Not Monday morning or Friday afternoon.

  • Respond well to whatever they say to you in this meeting, react however you want afterwards but don’t say anything there and then in the heat of the moment that you might later regret

  • Not asking at all

Now go, I’ve got your back!!

Useful websites and quotes in this article are from:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/feb/20/why-dont-more-women-ask-for-pay-rise

http://www.managers.org.uk/insights/news/2016/may/why-men-are-twice-as-likely-as-women-to-ask-for-a-pay-rise-new-research