How to get a pay rise

Arran Stewart

Arran Stewart

Arran James Stewart is the co-founder and CVO of blockchain recruitment …


Money isn’t everything but it’s pretty much the reason we all wake up and work hard every day, as for most of us, without it life is pretty bleak.

Earning a salary is the compensation a company gives you for sacrificing your personal time, for the benefit of the company. There is a delicate balance between yours and the company you work for needs; you want more money, the company wants to make more profit and between the two there comes an equilibrium. You just have to know if the balance is too weighted towards the companies favor.

Let’s be very clear about a few things before we get into the subject of achieving a pay rise:

  1. You have to have been working at the company for sometime to warrant bringing up this subject, most commonly within an annual review of your performance. Please don’t read this after your third week at the business and think you’re suddenly worth more, you are not and it won’t happen.

  2. Pay rises are for people that have earned them and go beyond the call of duty for a time period to show that they are worth more to the company. If you have been slacking all year, taking sick time (When you weren’t sick) and generally you are their for a paycheck, not the success of the company, then the likelyhood you even keep your job in this competitive landscape is slim.

  3. Be realistic with your request, to remain at the same position you are in financially, you need your salary to increase percentage wise by the level of inflation that occured in the last year. Anything above the percentage level of inflation means you are financially better off. Requesting a 25% pay increase is ridiculous, whereas asking for 5-10% (Dependent on Performance) is rightly so for those who have worked hard for the organization and are a true asset.

“A company is only as good as the people it employs” Arran Stewart - CVO

So let’s get to it, how do you get a pay rise at your current company and one that is meaningful:

  • Work hard throughout the year and make sure that the people that need to know how much you contribute, know. We’ve seen people working hard in the shadows before, but if your aren’t heard or your inputs aren’t measured with defined KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) then it’s difficult to justify to the powers that be, that you are worth more. Summary ‘Work Hard’ and make sure those around you know you work hard.

  • Wait for a review of your performance to ask for a pay increase and if you company doesn’t do these, its not unfair to ask for an annual review of your performance.

  • Before you ask for more money, benefits, package within your review, go through the motions of recognition from the person doing your review so that they demonstrate they recognize just what you mean and have delivered for the company.

  • Pay increases normally come with promotion, so have a new Job title in mind that accepts more responsibility and offers to delivery more value throughout the coming year. Your personal development should go hand in hand with the progression and success of the company if things are working right.

  • Do some market research and find out what the competition are paying for someone like you or someone that you aspire to be in your new role and job title. It’s not wise to pull a number out of the air, you want to go in with a market indicator, a number that is common place for someone of your skill set right now. There will be a variation from company to company and its upto to you to use your brain to work out what you are really worth and what is affordable to your employer.

  • Work out the revenue per employee of the company and use this also as an indicator, most major companies publicize this number, for example Apple makes $2 million revenue as an average from every employee.

  • If your company is a small start-up or growing, you may wish to be conscious of the fact that they simply may not be able to afford to give you the pay rise you want. This then comes down to other important factors (Possibly the most important) such as work satisfaction, potential, share options and most of all happiness.

  • Do you see yourself wanting to stay at the company? Are you happy? With a pay increase are you going to give the company value for their further investment, you must be a team player here, your success is directly related to your employers success too if you are committed.

  • If the company you work for is in financial difficulty, again be mindful that this becomes a moral decision; do you wish to help at their time of need, by sacrificing your earning potential. This is your call.

You are now armed with everything you need to get that payrise and honestly if you enter into an annual review with all this information, they will probably reward you for simply doing so much homework around that matter, as that proactive behavior is a skill that all companies want, just make sure you use it for things that also bring productivity and profitability to the company too.

If all of the above fails then it comes down to one thing, it’s your call. But our closing piece of advice for you is this:

Time is the most precious commodity known to us, you cannot buy more time and your work life deprives you of this most precious thing. If you truly believe that you are worth more, do not sacrifice time that you lose with your family, friends, life and yourself for the sake of potentially corporate greed. Just be strong and move on.