How can I ask for a pay rise after three years of great work?

Your question

I haven’t had a pay rise in three years, despite achieving great results for my department. What’s the best way to ask for a raise, and what do I do if I get turned down?

Our answer

Many people think if they follow a certain set of guidelines then that will automatically result in them receiving a pay rise, but unfortunately that is generally not the case today.

Employees are often expected to go above and beyond to prove their worth to a company – simply doing what your job requires will not be enough to get a raise if you are already getting paid the market average for your position.

However, if you feel like you have already done great things for your department and still haven’t received a raise for ages, there may be a reason for it. Your company may be thinking one of these things:

  • They overpaid you to start with.
  • They cannot give you a raise because of the financial position of the company at the time.
  • You haven’t asked for one yet and you’re carrying on working, so best to just let it go.

What’s the best approach when asking for a raise?

First thing’s first – do your research. Are you sure that your company is in a financial position to give you a raise? If you have just lost a major client, the chances are probably not. What is the market average for someone with your experience and job role and is your income more or less than this?

If you have done your research and still feel like you are due a pay rise, approach your manager and organise a sit down to discuss it.

Come prepared so that you can outline what you’ve done to contribute to your company’s success in the past year. Whether this is winning clients or finding a way to cut costs, you need to show your value in order for them to consider it. The more critical your job is to the growth of the company, the more likely they will be willing to invest their money in you.

While it can often feel like a stand-off, if you are sincere in your approach and have a good reason why you deserve a raise, you will often find your boss is more than happy to help you out.

What if you get turned down?

If you get turned down, you have one of three options:

  1. You can appeal the decision and go to HR or a more senior manager and state your case with them. Unfortunately, this may risk alienating and annoying your line manager who you still have to work with on a daily basis.
  2. You can choose to leave the company and go for an offer that’s more in-line with what you are looking for.
  3. You can take what your boss has to say into consideration and strive to create work that will set you apart, so that next time you bring it up, they are more likely to give you a raise.

You need to demonstrate your value

Slowly but surely more people are starting to get better pay increases. But instead of the traditional 3% increase across the board, employees are now expected to prove their value to the company through hard work and determination before getting a substantial raise.

If you have genuinely proved your value and follow my advice in this article, you should hopefully be able to make a successful request for a raise. Good luck!

You can read more tips on how to ask for a pay rise and get it here.

Answered by Helen Taylor, Head of HR at Instant Offices.