How to ask for more pay

It’s the new year and costs are still going up. How do you increase your chances of getting  a pay rise. Recruitment expert Paul O’Rourke has some suggestions.



With the soaring cost of living eroding pay packets, many people will be looking to secure a pay rise in 2024.  To give you the greatest chance of success, Paul O’Rourke, Operations Director at recruitment company New Millennia, has shared six top tips to help you negotiate a higher salary.

  1. Consider your timing

It’s crucial to consider when management will be most receptive to your proposal of a salary increase. If your company is taking on new clients and hiring for new employees, you can expect that there will be budget available for your request.

Other appropriate times to broach the topic is at the start of a new financial year, or when you’re expecting a performance review. When scheduling a meeting, choose a time where your manager is not facing a busy period to ensure that they have time to prepare for the meeting and can carefully consider your request with all relevant parties.

To increase your chance of success, request a meeting following a key project, or once you have ticked off a number of your assigned tasks, rather than in the middle of your workflow. This should provide you with the space to reflect on your performance and help you to highlight your recent achievements to management.

  1. Research salary trends in your area

It’s always wise to do your research before entering any discussions regarding your salary. Make a note of salaries being paid to those working in the same profession as you, in your local area, by browsing through recruitment sites.

It’s also worth checking out new job postings to see what salary is being offered so that you can request a fair salary. Always pitch for a salary above what you’re looking for as you should expect your manager to negotiate rather than accept your initial offer.

  1. Schedule a meeting with your manager in advance

Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your manager to discuss your performance, responsibilities and pay. Be sure to give adequate notice so that your manager is prepared to discuss the topic. Similarly, you will need to consider the allocated time for your meeting; allow yourself enough time to discuss everything you would like to raise.

Consider your manager’s preferences when arranging the meeting as online or in-person, and either in the morning or afternoon. If you already have a performance appraisal in the calendar, this would be an ideal time to broach the subject.

  1. Prepare your proposal

To help you feel confident during your meeting, preparation is key. Rehearse what you are going to cover during your discussion.

Start by explaining the purpose of the meeting. Be clear about your salary expectations, your strengths and why you should be rewarded with this new pay grade. It helps to be specific about any key achievements, using data to back this up where possible. Use definitive language to reflect confidence.

Summarise by inviting your manager to provide feedback on your proposal. Be prepared to go into further detail if they have any questions regarding the points you’ve raised.

  1. Dress the part and pay attention to your body language

When entering an important discussion, a simple way to put your best foot forward is to dress the part. This should help to give a positive impression to your manager and set the tone for the meeting. However, remember your company’s culture: if it is relaxed, don’t suddenly wear overly formal attire as this may appear out of place.

Use your body language to your advantage. Mirror your manager’s posture and gestures and maintain eye contact to show that you are highly engaged in the conversation.

  1. Thank your manager for their time regardless of the outcome

It’s important to thank your manager for taking the time to meet with you, regardless of whether they agreed to a pay rise or not. It’s best practice to thank them in the meeting as well as to send a follow-up email thanking them. The email should also contain points of discussion from your meeting and why you believe you are deserving of a pay rise.

In the event your manager has not met your salary expectations, you should always ask why this is the case. It’s always useful to know whether this is due to budget constraints or something more directly related to your role. If you need more responsibilities or training, request that a plan is set out so that you can gain the relevant experience required before a salary increase is considered again.

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