How to ask for a pay rise

It is a strange feeling when you are underpaid.

In most cases you could be enjoying your role, like working with your colleagues and the clients. … The location and hours could be great, but a low salary can slowly make you question your worth to the company.

And when you don’t feel valued, the enthusiasm begins to wane.

But if you don’t raise this, your company might not know.

The question of course is how to approach it in the best way?

Leaving emotion to one side, this is best approached from a logical point of view (more about that here) there is a methodology that may help you and this is called REAP.

This is broken down into four areas; Research / Establish / Ask / Persevere.



Speak to a Recruiter that knows your market, but pick one that offers advice, not one that tries to shoehorn you into the nearest vacancy.

Seek information, not roles, you can come back to that part later.

Remember that looking online can be subjective, salaries stated on the live vacancies or on salary guides can be wide and do not always consider the package and the demands of the role.



Work out exactly what the market rate is for what you do.

Is it just an increase in salary that you are looking for though? / Are you looking for more flexible working arrangements? / Maybe paid over-time or perhaps you have to do too much over-time.

When you have a clear picture in mind, you can then set up a meeting.



Preparation is key.

Firstly a few don’ts…

  • Don’t take any printouts of available positions, this is about you and what you deliver.
  • Don’t say you have spoken with a Recruiter, it will set the wrong tone to the meeting.
  • Don’t go in too strong or set ultimatums, you could quite easily back yourself into a corner.

Instead, go with a clear mind of what you do, why you do it well and examples of where you have added value.

For example if you work in a firm of Accountants, you can draw on your experience gained, the speed in which you complete work, the percentage of chargeable time and number of jobs completed within budget.

Once you have this, book a meeting and get them to understand why you feel you are underpaid and what you are looking for.

Remember the art of negotiation is both parties feeling like they are gaining something from this … An increased salary could mean taking on additional responsibilities or increased charge out rate.

There could be a lot to talk through here and it is unlikely that something that will be agreed straight away. … Which leads us to the next step.



Depending on who you met with, depends how quickly this stage will take.

If your meeting was with a Manager, they will probably need to put your case forward, if you met with Director they should be able to make a decision faster.

Decisions can be made on many factors, you’ll probably know what the answer will be depending how the previous meeting went, their reaction and if the conversation felt positive.

This will result in three possible outcomes…

  • Yes – Congratulations, that went as well as it could of.
  • Yes, but… The most common outcome, it’s not a no, there is just something that needs to be worked towards. Get an idea of what needs to be met and potential timescales. Remember this is still a negotiation.
  • No – Disappointing but at least you know where you stand. Hopefully the reasons were explained. Just give yourself a moment before deciding on what you will do next.


Just a few additional points to take away from this…

Companies never want to lose good people.

Some companies pay less than others and their view on market rate may be different.

Think how you can improve.

The worst thing you can do is start looking without knowing the options you have already, if you can’t get what you are looking for, you know where you stand and at that point, look at the market.

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