How should I make my case for a pay rise?

Managers have to make budgets stretch as far as possible, making them naturally inclined to say no to your request. Your task is to make it unreasonable for them to do so. Don’t assume your manager is aware of or properly values everything you do – you’re going to need to sell the benefits of your work to them. Even if they are ‘on your side’, so to speak, they will still usually have to make your case to their manager or the HR department, so you need to make it easy for them to present on your behalf.

Try structuring your pitch for more pay around the following:    

  • List your performance objectives and demonstrate how far you have exceeded your agreed targets.
  • Make your contribution tangible – prove how much you added to your organisation’s goals (financially or otherwise) with specific examples of what you personally have contributed.
  • Based on this, outline what your ongoing contribution will be (after all, you’re asking to be paid more for your future value to the team, not past achievements).
  • Say how much you want (aim high!), using the evidence that you have gathered about comparable pay.

Rehearse your arguments and think about the responses you might receive – and the persuasive, rational arguments with which you can counter them. Keep your discussion as calm and objective as possible, and let the facts and evidence do the talking.

It can help your chances to have another job lined up (particularly if someone else is offering you more money). However, don’t use this as an overt bargaining chip unless you are definitely prepared to jump ship if things don’t go your way – chances are your bluff will be called.