Request a call


Can I have a pay rise?

How to make a case for that hard-earned pay rise

By Martin Kahn

Martin is Oakwood's Associate Learning Consultant and works in our Associate Team
More from Martin >>

Ten years after the economic crash, wages are still failing to keep up with rising prices and the increasing cost of living. 

As the days of huge pay rises and bonuses have become a distant memory for many, we can continue to debate the complex problem of whether money in itself truly motivates people or whether it depends on the connection people make between motivation and their personal success. Whilst many organisations have looked to alternative ways of motivating staff through a range of well-being benefits and incentives, flexible working and battling to win hearts and minds through engagement policies, money is still clearly important.

Aware of the financial challenges facing our organisations and anxious with concerns over job security, many accept that the annual pay increase is a thing of the past. However, staff who work hard, hit all their targets and customarily go the extra mile for their organisations, shouldn’t feel guilty about asking for a pay rise and indeed you may have more bargaining power that you think, particularly if you have a CIPD qualification from Oakwood International. 

To give yourself the best chance of securing a pay rise, the starting point is, of course, to prepare your case thoroughly. Carry out an assessment of your performance over the past year and work out how you can best quantify your contribution to your company. Gather any tangible data that shows your impact on the bottom line, and where possible, link your key achievements directly to improvements within the business. 

As well as this, make a list of what you believe are your key strengths, contribution and unique selling points. It’s always a good idea to get some supporting feedback from a colleague (a reality check) to ensure that you’re seeing yourself as others do. Try to relate your ‘usps’ to how they have positively impacted your team or organisation performance. Identify quantifiable examples of how you have demonstrated your dedication and value. 

Of course, as well as looking inwardly at yourself, it’s also important to look outwardly and assess your market value, so conduct your own salary survey to check out your value on the open market so that any request you make is realistic and entirely reasonable. Your CIPD qualification will undoubtedly be an asset.

With all this in mind, prepare for that all important meeting with your boss by giving him or her notice of the meeting and make sure they know what you want to talk about. Bear in mind, pay is an emotive subject and always will be and your boss might also be uncomfortable having a discussion about pay. Make sure your discussion is polite, reasonable and assertive, never aggressive. Be clear about what you are requesting and maintain a healthy level of self-confidence and self-belief; if you don’t believe you deserve a rise, how will you ever convince your boss you do? 

How good a negotiator you are can also have an impact on your chances of success and skilled negotiators have realistic and fall-back positions going into a negotiation as well as an ideal one. While your main focus may be money, consider what other alternatives you might be prepared to accept such as more holiday, flexible working arrangements or development opportunities. It might not be the exact outcome you wanted but it can still be a positive one. 

Lack of money isn’t the only and certainly not the most gripping reason for workplace discontent so be sure to examine any other factors that might be driving your dissatisfaction. You could find that more money might be just a temporary fix with the real problem resurfacing after the feel-good effect of the pay rise has worn off. 

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees of success in getting that precious pay rise but building a solid case, being clear, assertive and knowing what you’re prepared to compromise on as well questioning your own motivation are all convincing factors to consider when picking your moment to make that all important request. Good luck! 

Oakwood offers a vast range of expert HR, Marketing and Leadership & Management qualifications and consultancy solutions. Get in touch with us today at info@oakwooddubai.ae or call +971 4 359 9020.