Man Skills: Getting a raise

17 04 2011

Since we are now knee deep in April – the end of the financial year, I was thinking that for this week’s Man Skills section, I would impart some knowledge on you like some wise old cave dwelling hermit. Today I’ll be writing about a skill that every man, or indeed woman, should be capable of doing at some point in their lives: renegotiating your pay.


Unlike the scores of self help books that claim to make you a more charming person or get richer, this is something that at one point or another, everyone will have to do. Businesses don’t get rich by promoting anyone and everyone so if you feel you have a case, sometimes you have to be proactive.

“Did you ask for a pay rise?”


“What happened”

“They thanked me for reaffirming what they have always suspected: they are paying me too much”.

“Ah. Shit.”

I’m guessing besides being led out the building by security, the above is the worst case scenario. Here are five, easy to apply, tips for when you are trying to get a pay increase in this new financial year:

  • Understand your manager

All workplaces try to mark out objective criteria for work performance. We’ve all seen it; your performance is marked off on a checklist under ambiguous titles like “working with others” and “communicating effectively”. In theory this seems like a nice black and white way of measuring your effectiveness, but in reality one manager’s definition of professionalism can be radically different to another. With that in mind, it might be worth thinking about where you sit on your managers spectrum because if you don’t match up, you may want to re-assess your expectations.

A good test is to ask for feedback on your job performance as it will definitely be appreciated by any good manager worth his/her salt. This will hopefully give you some insight of what would happen if you were to ask for that pay increase.

  • Know yourself

I don’t think I know anyone who would be disgusted at the thought of earning more money, “I wan’t to speak to payroll, those sons of bitches paid me too much again”. It sounds obvious, but if you are going to successfully broker your own pay increase, you need to know why you deserve it. When they ask the inevitable question – “why?”, you need to call upon those examples with ease and explain why it matches up with your manager’s criteria (see point 1.) Most people confuse effort with achievement and although you may work very hard, you need to ask yourself – what do you have to show for it?

  • Do your homework

There are dozens of excellent recruitment websites out there, my favourite happens to be Monster. Using the search function on these sites, find jobs that allign with your current job and make a note of what the salary is. If it’s substantially higher than yours, it might be worth making the observation (respectfully of course) that there are similar positions out there paying a higher rate. If your boss tells you to apply – maybe you should take the hint!

  • Pick the right moment

Asking for a pay rise at a time when other employees are being made redundant is not a good idea, as is asking for a raise when your boss is clearly under stress. When the time is right; such as the annual appraisal season (hint hint) book some time with your manager.

  • Don’t get emotional

If you don’t get the response you were hoping for, it wont reflect well if you start crying, break down or storm out of the room. If you have mentally prepared a response for all three outcomes – yes, no and maybe, you are more likely to give a gracious response. If you have a legitimate case, your manager will respect your candor and you can have a frank open conversation about how to succeed in the future. For the love of Buddha, don’t under any circumstance try to give ultimatums. That will not end well for you.

  • You can always compromise

If you think you deserve a raise and your company can accomodate it, by all means stick to your guns. If your manager states that it’s not financially viable to paying you more at this time don’t be deterred, maybe suggest other benefits and incentives, such as additional holidays or flexible working that would be an acceptable substitute.






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