Seven things you should never say when asking for a pay rise

Are you unhappy with your current salary? Feel you deserve more? Before you ask, make sure you read (and avoid) these seven things.

Asking for a pay rise can be tricky. You want to time it right, and prepare the best possible pitch to ensure your success.

We already know that women are less likely to ask for one than men. One study found that more than a quarter of women had never asked for a pay rise. To compare, 41% of men said they had talked about a salary rise with their manager in the past six months.

The same survey found that nearly a fifth of men request a rise twice or more each year, while only 8% of women doing the same. With the gender pay gap currently standing at 17.3%, it’s clearly important that women are able to have conversations about money with their employer.

One of the reasons why women are more reluctant to broach the subject is that they say they find it “awkward”.

So, to help you feel more comfortable about asking for a pay rise, HR Manager Ash Donovan at the health and lifestyle brand Gear Hungry shares eight things you should avoid saying – and what to do instead.

1) “I have been here over a year”

An employee leading a salary negotiation with how long they have worked within the company is perhaps the most common mistake to make when requesting a pay rise.

But, for the most part how, long you have been employed with the company is irrelevant. What IS relevant is what you’ve done in that time.

How valuable your contribution towards the workplace is one of the biggest deciding factors in determining if a pay rise will be awarded. A colleague can be working within the company for half the number of years that you have, and added more value. 

So, instead of discussing how many days of work you have accumulated, present specific events and reasons with regards to why you believe you are entitled to a pay rise. And give an actionable agenda of further ways in which you plan to contribute towards the workings of the team and ultimately, create even more value.

 2) “My rent has gone up”

Never relate a pay rise to a personal situation. This can create an awkward atmosphere when many people find talking about money awkward enough.

Whether your rent has increased, you need a new car, or you are saving or attending several costly weddings this year, personal commitments have nothing to do with your workplace performance. Keep it professional and focus on your work only.

3) “I want a rise of £10,000”

Some people are surprised when I say that for the most part, businesses don’t mind its workforce requesting a pay rise. It shows a level of commitment as they did not choose to interview for other roles and initiate an honest discussion about their future within the workplace instead.

However, what employers do mind is employees not only demanding a raise but also being unrealistic in their requests.

Requesting a pay rise that is tens of thousands of pounds higher than your current salary is not only unrealistic but arrogant. You may genuinely be receiving a salary that does not reflect your experience or expertise however, if it is not likely to be so significantly under par.

It is a sure-fire way to irritate the decision maker as they will feel that there is no reason to partake in a conversation if one party has unrealistic expectations.

I suggest not divulging how much of a salary increase you desire. This allows the conversation to be open and perhaps most importantly, see that you do not undercut yourself. 

4) “Give me a raise, or I’ll give you my notice”

Ultimatums are never a good idea, unless you plan to carry them through. If you feel that you may be able to win a pay rise via a scare tactic, you are likely to find yourself in a sticky situation.

Many can feel that they contribute so much towards a workplace that they their boss will agree to anything to keep them there. This can of course be true, however such tactics do not account for the event that it genuinely may not be financially viable for the company to negotiate a raise.

As a result, you may be forced to seek a new job even if you do not want to.

5) “I have spoken to my colleague and they are on more than me”

It is inevitable that strong bonds between co-workers will be built in a workplace. This can lead colleagues to believe that they know everything about each other, including salaries. 

I cannot emphasise enough how important it is not to mention co workers when discussing a personal salary. You may be confident that you know everything your colleague does however, it is unlikely.

Some people shout about their workplace wins louder than others, some choose to communicate the effectiveness of their contributions directly to management and others step into a new office with a lot more experience than their counterparts. Your salary is prescriptive to you, so ensure that you keep discussions focussed on you.’

6) “Sorry, but I need a raise. Sorry”

Everyone is fully entitled to request a pay rise, especially if they feel it is genuinely deserved. There is no need to apologise.

Frequently apologising portrays an air of self-doubt which can see a workplace over contemplate awarding you with a pay rise. Ensure that you are assertive, confident and above all unapologetic’. 

7) “I can’t believe we lost such a huge client, anyway I need a pay rise”

It is crucial that you analyse the culture of the workplace and accumulate as much insight about the company’s finances as you can. If the atmosphere is a little prickly due to external sources, then it may be wise to postpone initiating any important discussions until it lifts. 

Before you instigate any kind of salary discussion, ensure that you believe the company has the resources to fulfil your requests in the first place. If they have just experienced substantial financial loss, then it is wise to keep this in mind. 

And finally, remember that a rise is not just sterling 

Recognizing that workplace benefits do not just equate to sterling in your bank account is perhaps my biggest piece of advice.

Extra holiday, great workplace culture and happy co workers can be invaluable. Ensure that you have listed all of the workplace benefits in order to establish what you deem a fair pay rise.

Read more tips on getting a pay rise

Love more advice on how to ask for (and get) a pay rise? You’ll fid some helpful tips in these articles:

Photo by Charles