5 tips for bagging your next pay rise
By: Todor Madzharov
Reading time: 4 min

Does the thought of asking your boss for more money have you sweating? Fluster no more: we have asked Save the Student to give us the salary strategies that pay off!
Reckon you’re worth more than you’re paid? Whether you’re long in the tooth or just rocking up to your first job, you’ve come to the right place: we’ll let you in on smart ways to go after the salary you deserve.

Even better, none of this is rocket science. While there are some golden rules below, the most obvious is one most folk overlook: you’ve got to ask for the cash in the first place. Here’s how.

1. Do your sums

There’s little point asking for more moolah if you don’t have a ballpark. Scout out the going rate for jobs in your field, salary scales for your company, or check similar job listings online to see where you stand.

2. Know your worth

Dig out the job description and check how many core criteria you’re nailing. Don’t forget to include anything you’ve achieved for your company – think sales, new contacts, social media campaigns or processes you’ve improved – as well as any experience or qualifications you’re bringing to the table. If you’ve got a decent list of wins, you’ve got evidence you’re due more cash.

3. Get the timing right
Bagging a better salary in the middle of a company cash crisis is a challenge you can do without. Wait for an upswing (or better, one you or your department has contributed to) instead.

Don’t forget your boss is human (they usually are!), so be reasonable about their time, too:

  • Ask for a face-to-face meeting
  • If they’ve got a lot on their plate wait until you know they can give you their full attention
  • Find out if there’s a formal process you need to follow.

Finally, don’t put it off because it scares you: we’re talking a pay rise, not open heart surgery. The worst that can happen is rarely fatal!

4. Make your case
If you’ve done your prep, you’ve nailed the tricky stuff: all that’s left is to present your findings!

  • Don’t get tunnel vision: this is your chance to showcase what you’ve learned from (and enjoy about) your role, not just why you’re hard done by!
  • Revisit your first interview: what can you do for your employer, where do you see yourself in a year’s time, and how will a pay rise help both of you?
  • Be professional: your boss is more likely to be swayed by iron-clad reasons why you’re worth gold to company, rather than because you want to go on holiday with your bezzies.
  • Be clear about any strings involved – if you say you’re going to X, Y or Do Re Mi, you’re going to have to deliver on them!
  • Think beyond the money. Training, mentoring and other perks are worth a look if the company can’t cough up cash.
  • Don’t play the resignation card unless you’re prepared to cash in your chips!

5. Take stock

Asking for a pay rise is like haggling for sale bargains. You either get what you ask for, get close enough, or you’re left with the walk of shame. What’s the deal if it’s either of the last two?

Well, it’s not the end of the world. Unless you’re a master baker, a job isn’t just about the dough – it’s about where it can get you and the fun you have along the way. If your job’s not giving you either of those things, no pay rise is going to fix what ails you! Take the long view, know what makes you happy and have another stab at it later – you’ve got everything to play for.