Career Clinic: Should I wait to ask for a pay rise?


Asking for a salary review is often accompanied by a degree of fear and anxiety. This is common and often completely psychological, but this need not be the case. Spending time preparing your business case, with clear examples of your rationale, should put you in good stead.

Now, while the above seems simple in theory, actually executing this while considering external factors, including uncertainty around Brexit and how it will impact the UK’s financial services sector, can be quite tricky. But your rationale for requesting a salary review will in most cases be based on your performance within your organisation, not the organisation’s performance within the market.

Of course, factors such as loss-making, large rounds of redundancies and huge cost-cutting drives should all be taken into consideration. Your organisation may simply not have the appetite to offer salary reviews, full stop. But that should be the feedback given to you after you have requested one.

If any of the above challenges do not visibly exist, it is important to pursue your desire to discuss your salary. Typically, this should be based on you being able to offer evidence of your performance, ideally surpassing a pre-agreed target. Successful organisations clearly set out performance measures which employees can easily be measured against. If this isn’t the case, this shouldn’t stop you from establishing one during your annual appraisal with your line manager. If that isn’t appropriate, you need to be confident that your achievements deserve a discussion about why you should be better remunerated.

One common mistake is to introduce your personal situation into matters. Whether you are looking to secure a mortgage on a house, or facing increasing debts, these shouldn’t be the basis of your request. They hold minimal, if any, value to you securing a rise – the decision should be purely based on your professional circumstances and the hard work you have contributed to the business.

Once you have a plan in place, it is then important to invite your line manager to a formal meeting to present your case. Be confident, clear and concise. There is no need to be nervous or emotional about it. This is a business review, and the worst outcome of all of this will be that the business is unable to review your salary at this stage. If they do not come back with a plan as to how you can be considered for a rise in the future, then perhaps it is a good time to look for your next role.

Hakan Enver is operations director at Morgan McKinley

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