Preparation is key when asking for a pay rise!

Are you good at your job? Do you feel you’ve reached a stage where you should have been considered for a pay rise already? Many companies have a built-in schedule of performance reviews, a hierarchy of promotions and annual pay reviews. But if you’re not so lucky to have this at your current place of work, you might be feeling overlooked or undervalued. 

clockworkTalent’s 2020 salary survey showed that 35% of those Digital Marketers polled hadn’t even thought of asking for a pay rise! 

So why haven’t you asked? Too shy? Don’t want to seem pushy? As you advance in your career it’s a lot more acceptable to take matters into your own hands rather than sitting back and waiting for good things to come to you. As you are the one doing the asking, it does mean you need to be prepared and lead the conversation. So when you do ask, you’re able to present lots of evidence to build your case and significantly improve your chances of negotiating your pay rise.

Our same survey showed that more than half of those people who did ask for a pay rise got it. It goes to show, that it’s always worth asking. Make sure to follow the tips below and improve your own chances. 

Plan ahead

Don’t reach the end of your tether and blurt out your frustrations. It’s much better to be prepared and collect your thoughts to give yourself the best chance of gaining a pay rise. Don’t just shoot your manager an email demanding a pay rise. It’s more constructive to do it in person or by video at the very least, as it’s harder to say no to someone’s face!

Make the conversation count

It’s important to first communicate to your manager that you’d like to discuss a promotion and schedule a mutually convenient time for it. You don’t want this to be a hurried chat in a corridor or tagged onto the end of an important zoom meeting. Book time into your diaries, when you are both able to sit down and focus on discussing your situation. 

Do your research

Have a look around. Look online and find examples of comparable jobs to yours and provide evidence where higher salaries are being paid for similar work. There are specialist industry reports like our own 2020 salary report (you can contribute to our 2022 digital marketing salary survey here) or job board salary checkers like TotalJob’s Salary Checker.

If you know others in your team have had a pay rise, be sure of your facts if you bring this into consideration. Just because someone else in the team got a pay rise, doesn’t necessarily mean you should have one too. They might now be doing more senior work than you. This is why you need to have done your preparation and come armed with evidence.

Build your case

Look back and find the evidence to show you deserve a pay rise. Seek out instances where you’ve gone above and beyond your scope of work. Quote occasions when you’ve exceeded targets. Look at your regular monthly reviews for any objectives set, and don’t forget to consider your key performance indicators. If you’ve been doing well, these could be good examples to make your case for a pay rise. Time served in a job isn’t necessarily a reason for a pay rise. If you’ve just been there a long time but not gotten any better at your job, you may not “deserve” a pay rise. But playing devil’s advocate with the recent cost of living rises, many employers are doing company-wide pay reviews to assist their staff with rising costs of living.  BBC and Sky News both recently published how some pay rises aren’t keeping up with rising prices, so any pay rise is wiped out by surging inflation. Most employers will be conscious of the economic struggle people are experiencing and this may add to your case. 

Practice your pitch 

By practising, you’ll feel more confident talking about yourself and your achievements. Nerves affect almost everyone but if you’re confident with at least your openly gambit, you’ll find the rest comes more easily. 

It doesn’t come naturally to everyone to speak highly of themselves but this and a job interview are the times where it pays to be overly confident about yourself. Don’t come across as too strong, you don’t want to appear entitled, rude or demanding. But being prepared and providing factual evidence of your good work makes it hard for your line manager not to consider you for the pay rise you’ve requested! 

How to recover from a failed pay rise conversation

Worst case scenario, if you really feel you deserved the pay rise and continue to feel undervalued. You don’t need to stick around, you can just change jobs. Get yourself prepared and do it on your terms, finding yourself a better-paying job before you resign. You’ll need to bring your CV up to date and make it the best it can be (put all the evidence of how good you’ve been in your job into your CV).

However, if you don’t get the answer you want it’s better to set action points to get you to where your manager wants you to be for a pay review. Perhaps you’re not performing at the level they’d like. If that’s the case, at least they’ll know a pay review is on your agenda but also you’ll have agreed on some objectives to get you to a place where your manager feels a pay review is deserved. You’ll also have to set a time to review them in the next 3, 6 or 12 months. 

Be aware that not all companies are able to give pay rises. Trading could be difficult or perhaps you’ve forgotten you had a pay review a couple of months ago! Maybe there are other perks the company can consider offering you which are appealing, like additional time off, job title change, flexitime, and remote working. Be prepared to make suggestions, consider the options and think about what’s important to you.

If you’re wondering what your next career move should be and are looking for an expert, but confidential board to help you, clockworkTalent is always hiring.  If you don’t see the right one for you on our job board, it’s worth registering your CV so we can keep you in mind for other jobs as they come in.

Don’t forget to follow us on social platforms for tips and tricks to further your digital marketing career!

Other career development articles you might be interested in reading are:

💼 What to Do If You’re Rejected From Your Dream Job

💼 How to Negotiate a Shorter Notice Period

💼 How to List Achievements on Your CV