How to Ask for a Pay Rise (With Script Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 29 July 2022

Published 13 December 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Increasing your salary can be as simple as asking your manager or supervisor for a pay rise. However, getting them to do so takes careful planning and strategy. Asking for a pay rise in the right way can boost your earnings and draw attention to your value as an employee. In this article, we discuss some good reasons to ask for a pay rise and the steps you should take to increase your chances of getting a pay rise.

Why should you know how to ask for a pay rise?

Knowing how to ask for a pay rise the right way increases your chances of getting a salary increase. There are many reasons why you should ask for one. For example, you may:

  • show your initiative at work and exceed expectations.

  • find your role has expanded.

  • have completed extra training.

  • prove to be a reliable employee by consistently meeting deadlines and producing accurate work.

  • have more experience than you had when you received your last pay increase.

  • believe that your salary should reflect the industry average.

7 steps on how to ask for a pay rise

Here are several steps you should consider to increase your chances of receiving a pay rise:

1. Choose the right time

Asking for a pay rise when your manager or supervisor feels receptive will increase your chances of getting a positive result. Several factors will influence their receptiveness, including:

  • The business' financial health: companies are more willing to invest in their employees when they are financially successful. If your company is hiring new employees, securing new clients and expanding, its financial health is probably good.

  • Their workload: a manager with a steady workload probably has more time to focus on you and your request than a very busy one.

  • The time of year: if your workplace has regular employee reviews, these meetings provide a natural time to discuss your salary. The start of a new financial year provides another excellent opportunity.

  • Your recent achievements: recent achievements, such as exceeding a sales target or leading a successful project, can reinforce your value and encourage your manager to consider your request more favourably.

  • Your work progress: you are likely to be more successful when you ask for a pay rise after completing a project rather than when you are in the middle of a major job. Complete outstanding tasks or items on hold before asking for more money.

2. Research salary trends

Researching salary trends allows you to know the salaries of other professionals in similar roles. Enter your job title into the Indeed Salaries search. This tool gives the average national salary for your job and the salary spread across the country.

More experienced, highly educated professionals usually earn salaries at the upper end of the pay spectrum. Location and the cost of living can also influence earnings. Browsing through job advertisements for similar roles in your local area can help you determine a fair salary. Ask for a little more than you want, as most managers will try to negotiate with you.

3. Schedule a meeting with your manager

Schedule a private meeting with your manager to discuss your salary. You can ask your manager for a meeting in person or via a video conferencing platform. Suggest meeting to chat about your performance, rather than your salary, as some managers would rather avoid financial discussions.

You might say something like, 'I'd like to meet with you to discuss my performance. Does a 30-minute meeting from 1 p.m. on Thursday fit your schedule?' Reserve at least half an hour so you can talk about your proposal in depth. Afternoon meetings are a good idea, as people are usually most relaxed after lunch. If you have a pending performance appraisal, you don't have to schedule an additional meeting. These scheduled meetings are ideal opportunities for discussing salaries.

Related: Arranging a meeting: key steps and types of meetings

4. Prepare and practise your script

Preparing a script for asking for a pay rise can help you feel confident during your meeting. Depending on your confidence speaking, you may write a list of bullet points or a more developed script with complete sentences. Your script should have three key parts:

  • An introduction: state your purpose for calling the meeting.

  • The body of your speech: note your ideal salary, how you arrived at that figure and the reasons why you feel you deserve a pay rise.

  • Your conclusion: summarise your strengths, note your preferred pay increase and invite your manager to comment.

When preparing your script, stress professional reasons rather than personal ones. Your boss acts on behalf of the company, so benefits to the business are persuasive. Use confident words and clear facts rather than emotional words such as 'believe' and 'feel', which can sound uncertain. Here is an example script to base your own on:

'Thank you for meeting with me today. I am excited about my role and the part I play in the company's success. I have been with the company for five years now, and I hope to spend many more years working towards its goals. For that reason, I would like to discuss my salary and performance.

Since I began working here I've undertaken an independent study to get my MBA. This has helped me expand my knowledge and skill set significantly. I think you can see that in my performance. I don't just meet my sales targets, I exceed them by between 15% and 30% every month. I've also taken on more responsibility, helping you interview new salespeople and training them to get the kind of results I do.

I have researched the salaries of other salespeople in the city. Considering this and my experience, education and performance, a salary increase of 7% seems reasonable. Does this sound appropriate to you?'

Practise your script in front of a mirror at home until you feel confident delivering it. Your preparation should help you stay calm during your meeting.

Related: 8 justifications for 'Why I deserve a pay rise' (plus tips)

5. Dress for business

Dressing well on the day of your meeting will give your manager a positive impression and help them see you as a more senior, serious member of staff. Dress as you would for a job interview or an important presentation. If your workplace has a casual dress code, a suit or dress may seem out of place. However, a smart shirt or blouse with dress pants or a skirt can elevate your appearance.

Related: A guide to business professional attire: definition and tips

6. Ask for a pay rise

Once you step into your manager's office, you're ready to ask for your pay rise. Take your time delivering your prepared script. Maintain eye contact to show your confidence. Subtly mimic your manager's posture and gestures to engage them and strengthen your connection.

After delivering your proposal, give your manager time to respond. They may like to have more details about the achievements you have mentioned or projects you were a part of. Answer their questions thoughtfully, expanding on your positive contributions.

After getting all the information they need, your manager may try negotiating with you. Return to your research and achievements as evidence that you deserve the full pay rise amount. Ask your manager why the full amount is not possible. Forces beyond their control, such as budget constraints, may be a factor. Your manager may also want you to have more skills, training or responsibilities before they increase your salary.

Related: How to negotiate a promotion salary increase (with examples)

If your manager declines your request by rejecting any pay rise or agreeing to a smaller salary increase, asking questions may help you secure your ideal salary in the future. Ask them about:

  • desirable skills or achievements that would increase your pay.

  • their views on your overall performance.

  • whether there would be a good time to revisit the conversation.

You may also ask about non-financial compensation. Your manager may agree to extra job perks such as the freedom to work from home or use of a company car if there is no budget for a pay rise.

Related: How to Ask for a Promotion at Work

7. Thank your manager for their time

Whether or not they agreed to your pay rise, make sure you thank your manager for meeting with you. Thank them personally in the room, then again in a follow-up email later that day or, if you had an afternoon meeting, the next business day. In addition to thanking your manager for their time, your email should summarise why you felt deserving of a pay rise and the points you both discussed.

Related: A detailed guide to relationship building in the workplace

Use this email example to inspire your own thank you email:

'Dear Ms Antony,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me this afternoon to discuss my compensation. I mentioned the MBA I received through independent study during my five years at the company and my increased role in hiring and training salespeople. I also noted my strong sales record, including exceeding sales targets repeatedly by 15% to 30% each month.

I understand budgets are tight at the moment and appreciate your offer of a 4% salary increase. While it is less than the 7% I asked for, I hope that when we regroup in a year's time to discuss the matter, as you suggested, I can look forward to a further pay rise.

Thank you again for your time and consideration,

Oliver Smith'

Keep the email in your records. If you need to follow up on a pending decision or look back on how to ask for a pay rise at a later date, it provides a clear record of your meeting.

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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