If there is one topic in the work environment that constantly proves difficult to broach, it is money. However, asking your boss for a raise in your salary is often a completely legitimate request and one that many of us face throughout our careers. 

Unfortunately, time and time again people manage to go about it the wrong way, often with disastrous consequences. This is usually because people let their emotions get involved. Others try strategies such as mentioning it to colleagues and even dropping not-too-subtle hints, but these are rarely effective approaches - and can be incredibly unprofessional.

There is no set way to ask for a pay raise and every work situation is different. However, the important thing is to approach the task with a clear and calm plan. We give you the tools to cut through the awkwardness and get the result you need. 

Have a strong argument.

You need to have a good case to back up your request for a raise. This can’t be as personal as “you need more funds”. Instead, find objective and unemotional reasons for the change in salary. 

Do research into the average pay packet of your industry and your current role. Consider whether your responsibilities have expanded since you were first employed. If your role has grown, so too should your value to the company and arguably your corresponding salary. 

Prove that you’re worth it.

The most mature way to ask for a pay rise is to request greater responsibility and work. This is a pro-active way of demonstrating that while you would like more money, growing with the company is also a big priority for you. 

If your salary isn’t up for negotiation, you could instead pitch the idea of a performance-related bonus like receiving a reward for meeting exemplary targets or goals. 

Make it a discussion.

Do some research and find out the company’s standard procedure for awarding salary increases.  It might simply be a matter of waiting until the end of the year for a salary review. This is usually something you find out through the personnel or HR department. 

When you pitch the idea of a salary increase to your boss, always opt for a face-to-face meeting as this is the most open way of communicating. Never bring up the idea in a letter or email as this creates a one-sided dialogue. Word it in a constructive and positive way. For instance, suggest a chance to discuss your responsibilities and remuneration. 

Be sure to open up a dialogue about what steps you need to take in order to improve your salary. Make sure you ask positive and constructive questions, like what further targets or goals you should meet before a pay rise could be discussed. 

Don’t issue an ultimatum.

The worst approach to the topic is delivering the request as an ultimatum. Nobody responds well to intimidation and if your employer is faced with the choice between paying you more or finding someone else for the role, then they may take the latter option. Even if you do get the desired outcome, forcing your boss into a corner can often lead to feelings of resentment which could affect your working relationship in the future.