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Asking for a pay rise

Georgina Robilliard
Feb 1
 - In 

The potential foreseen awkwardness surrounding asking your boss for a pay rise is often enough of a deterrent for most people to avoid the conversation entirely. The average boss can be known to forget to bring this up with their team. If they haven’t hired in a while, they could be disconnected from market rates, too. So, you may need to take it into your own hands.

Last year, Megan Cook conducted a workshop through Women Who Code, Sydney. Some of the content presented was based on Rebecca Shambaugh’s book; It’s not a glass ceiling, it’s a sticky floor. Their advice was to remember a four-step framework: Asses your situation, understand your counterpart, be effective in asking and have a backup plan.

Organise a specific time to meet. Before your meeting, work out what would make you happy and continue to feel valued, not necessarily purely monetarily. Do your research on market salaries for similar roles with your responsibilities, and how they’ve changed over the time you’ve been at the company.

Salaries are often the responsibility of a number of people, so try to understand your manager’s ability to give you that raise and how you might be able to help them get you what you want. What you’re on now will also affect how digestible market rates might feel to your boss. It’s in the company’s best interest to keep you paid at market rate. If you’re underpaid, you’re a poaching target for your company’s competitors. So, stand firm.

The conversation itself can be awkward but it’s important that you and your manager have an honest discussion. Before your meeting, be prepared with examples of how you’ve contributed and why you deserve an increase. You don’t need to list all those reasons if the conversation doesn’t warrant it, it’s better if you can get your manager doing most of the talking, convincing themselves you’re due for an increase.

Sometimes the timing just isn’t right for a company to grant you a pay rise. Think about what else would make you happier in your job. Would working at home one day per week, more flexible working hours or a conference budget help? If you don’t get exactly what you want, schedule another meeting in a couple of months to evaluate your salary and performance.

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