How to ask for a pay rise

We have all been there. You are standing outside your manager’s door, hands shaking, and waiting to ask if you can get a pay rise. The prospect is scary enough, let alone doing it in a tough economic climate. However, to make sure that your wage is in line with the effort you are putting into your work, this is a necessary evil you should perform correctly. Here are some dos and donts.

Before the meeting

Arrange a meeting with your manager some time in advance, making them aware of what you want to talk about. The last thing you want to do is randomly bring up the subject when they are having a bad day. The timing of your meeting is crucial, because if you have recently been heavily involved in a project, this will be the perfect time to explain why you want a healthier wage, rather than after your company has just issued a profit warning.

Make sure you do your research fully. Find out what other people in a similar situation to you are earning in rival firms and look at  similar job descriptions online, which will often feature salaries. This will give you a clear idea of what you want.

Collate a small report of all your past achievements and some testimonials from your customers, colleagues and senior management. Be sure to keep this short however, as you don’t want to end up boring your boss.

Before the meeting itself, make sure you are being noticed and seen. You want your manager to know you as a person, rather than just another payroll number. You will never be recognised if you keep quiet and in the shadows but, at the same time, do not be annoying. Nobody likes an overachieving and overconfident self-publicist.

The meeting

When discussing the issue with your employer, you need to always see things from their perspective. Questions to focus on are:

• Why do you deserve a pay rise?
• How will an extra wage help the company?
• What financial benefits have you bought to the firm?
• How have you helped towards the functioning of your department?
• Have you brought new ideas to the table?

Things to avoid include using sob stories, breaking down emotionally and threatening to walk out if you are turned down. The latter is particularly important as it suggests that you may not be committed to either the company or the sector. If you can sense your manager being difficult, you should constructively suggest that a pay review should be arranged at one point in the near future.

After the meeting

You should never expect miracles overnight. Generally, you should be quite realistic, and instead of a pay rise, you may be offered other perks such as medical cover, a bonus, employee share plans, share option schemes or an addition to your pension.

Never expect too much, as your company will have a standard method in which it deals with promotions and pay rises. At the same time, avoid being a pushover. If there is not a hope that a pay rise is going to happen in the near future, and you think you are being taken advantage of, it may be time to consider moving onto somewhere else.

Asking for a pay rise in hospitality jobs is ultimately a balancing act, but if done correctly, it may not be long before you start reaping the rewards.