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Asking your boss for a pay rise is one of the most difficult conversations you can have–which may be why over half of us have never had it, according to one survey.

And even if you can find the courage, is it actually a good idea? The Governor of the Bank of England has recently asked Brits not to request a raise because it could drive inflation even higher. But with the cost of living crisis intensifying, many will have no choice.

Given that your boss is probably facing some uncomfortable financial realities too, how can you persuade them to say yes?

1. Polish your 'pay rise story'

Performance is hard to measure, meaning pay often gets determined by irrelevant factors such as office politics, how someone dresses or how extroverted they are.

To get that raise, come up with a simple, memorable story you can tell that will represent your performance over the last year. Don’t go overboard on details–less can be more. 

Grace Lordan of the London School of Economics recommends following the “peak-end” rule, mentioning your biggest accomplishment of the year in the middle of the story (the peak) and ending by highlighting the value you’ll add to the organisation this year.

2. Look at the bottom line

This isn’t about whether your manager likes you or thinks you deserve a raise for being a great person. They have to look at this in terms of cold hard cash: will giving you that raise be good for the company’s bottom line? Quantify any income you generated or savings you helped to achieve. If you can demonstrate your value to the company in numbers, they should be happy to invest a bit extra in retaining you.

3. Arm yourself with research

Don’t just look at your own performance for numbers, look outside the organisation as well. Quoting the industry going rate for your role can be very persuasive; you can find these figures on websites like Glassdoor or PayScale.

Two-thirds of people who ask for a raise get one, according to YouGov, so it’s worth sticking your neck out. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To keep the nerves under control, avoid seeing this as personal, and don’t apologise for asking. Keep it businesslike and make your case in a calm, professional way.

What if they say no?

At times–especially right now–employers may just not have the budget to give you a raise. If you get a no, you might ask for a different benefit such as more flexibility, or you could consider switching jobs. 

If you do decide you might be interested in joining the Great Resignation, the opportunities out there are unprecedented–but you’ll need expert support to make the most of them. Get in touch today to discover how we can help you find a role that pays you what you’re worth–no questions asked.

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