How to Ask for a Pay Rise in the UK

Written by EFP

There is nothing worse than feeling undervalued in the workplace, so how exactly do you go about asking for a pay rise in the current economic climate? It’s a difficult question and one that many people are pondering at the moment. 

The cost of living is going up, with home energy bills facing huge increases and food prices are steadily rising as well, so it is natural that many people are now looking at how to ensure they can pay for the changes and weather the financial storm ahead. For some this means taking on a second job or freelance work, for others it is cutting back on as much as possible that isn’t essential, and for some it is maximising the amount that they are able to earn through their day job. 

We will take a look at some of the issues surrounding pay and conditions in the UK in 2022 and examine how this can be done with a degree of tact without incurring the wrath of management. 

Things to Consider Before Asking for a Pay Rise

Honestly Appraise Your Own Skills

Try to honestly appraise your own skill level in the work that you do. Attempt to gauge whether you are seen as the go-to person for advice in your subject area or someone who is always asking others questions about various aspects of the job. This should help you to determine where you sit in the hierarchy of people doing a similar job to you. 

If there is another staff member who is obviously much more skilled and experienced than you, try to have a chat with them and ask if they feel that they are getting paid a fair market rate for their skillset. Allow this conversation to inform your own next steps. 

Market Research

Before you consider asking for a pay rise, look at the sector that you are in and compare the levels of pay for work within your own workplace, as far as possible, with other similarly positioned companies such as their competitors. This is an important first step as there is no point in asking for something that is very obviously unattainable from the outset. That will just cause you needless stress and show your boss a chink of naiveté in your professional workplace persona.

You can use a salary calculator for a specific industry and combine this with looking at relevant jobs like those on our job board, in order to double check the information that you came up with yourself. 

How Well is the Company Doing Financially?

Try to find out any information through word of mouth and official sources such as annual accounts lodged with Companies House to figure out how well the company is doing financially, prior to asking for a pay rise. It may be that the company has had a pretty bumpy time and just isn’t in a position to give pay rises at this point so this is something to investigate before asking for a pay rise. 

When to ask for a Pay Rise?

An annual appraisal would be the perfect time to ask the question about a pay rise as this is a time of year when your performance is being looked at anyway and if it is impressive, then it feels like a natural progression to ask about an increase in pay. Before the appraisal, make sure that all of your ducks are in a line and that all of your projects have been completed and all of your stats look as polished as you can make them. Build toward the appraisal from a few months out, tying up any loose ends in order to give yourself the best possible chance. 

How To Ask for a Pay Rise, in Practice

We have talked about pre-preparation and the best time and location to ask for the pay rise, and the next step is working out how to set out the best possible case for being granted a rise. 

Make the Business Case

Most businesses will recognise the value in being presented with a business case and you should work one out that summarises each of the following areas:

  • Achievements

These are the things that you are proudest of in your time with the company and it can be things like job milestones, where you won a high value client, or made the highest number of sales. Achievements can also include professional qualifications or industry accolades that you have won or helped the company to win.

Technical skills like being the Single Point of Failure (SPoF) person with some new technology will add to your worth in the eyes of your employer. This means that you are the only person capable of understanding a particular piece of technology and this will add to your value. 

Any innovations or suggestions on how to help the business to perform better will show that you are a high-value employee and if you have a history of success in making these, now would be the time to highlight them. 

  • Transferable Skills

Transferable skills that you accumulate throughout your working life and can include things like how well you build interpersonal relationships and work as part of a team, your leadership skills and any informal guidance and training you have given to new team members. 

  • Market Value

This is where your earlier research will come into play and you will be able to explain the salary for someone in your company in your current position and how it relates to the wider sector. 

Bring up skills shortages in your area of expertise and the high number of job adverts at present, if your role is pretty specialised and may be hard to fill if you end up leaving. When talking around this point be sure to stress that you enjoy working with the company and relate some of the things you like about it. 

We cannot stress this enough, never give an ultimatum and do not threaten to quit unless you actually mean it because many employers do not take kindly to that and will see it as a challenge to their authority, rather than a request for a pay rise.

Present Your Case Professionally and Unemotionally

When you are discussing this with your boss, be prepared to present your case in a professional manner with provable achievement and try to take your own emotions out of the equation. That can be hard to do as so many of us feel that our work lives reflect on us on a personal level but it is the best way to achieve an optimal result. 

Be prepared to discuss any other perks you would accept if a pay rise isn’t on the cards this time. Would you want to work an extra day remotely, for example, as this would save on commuting time and cost? If the request is denied outright, try to take the rejection with grace and don’t ask again for at least a year. If you genuinely don’t think you are prepared to stay in the longer term, keep that to yourself for now and think about applying for other jobs where your value may be recognised.

Further Information

If you have been successful in asking for a pay rise, enjoy the fruits of your labours and feel proud that you did something difficult. If you didn’t get the pay rise, feel free to browse our job board for other suitable employment opportunities. At Embracing Future Potential we believe there is more than one route to success so don’t be disheartened. 

If you are looking for another job, be sure to check out our advice on writing a covering letter and updating your CV. If you feel that you want to try something different, take a look at refreshing your skills.

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