A HR specialist shares what you can do to nail a pay rise.

There’s nothing worse than feeling undervalued in any aspect of life, including at work. Are you feeling ripped off or overlooked by the pay your employer is giving you? Don’t sit back and allow anyone to treat you unfairly, when it comes to work there’s something you can do about it.

If you don’t believe you are being paid what you deserve, here are five easy steps you can take:

1. Put your hand up.

A common reason people don’t get pay increases when they deserve to, is they hesitate to ask for one. If a pay rise is what you want speak up and let your manager know. While of course its ideal that your employer drive the process of ensuring you receive fair compensation, when they fail to, for whatever reason, don’t be backward in coming forward. Do something before you feel totally undervalued and aggrieved. Talk to your manager about how you feel and what you would like to see happen.

Action: Talk to your manager about your desire for a pay review.

pay rise help
Do your research on what is reasonable. Image via iStock.

2. Have clear expectations.

Know what you want. Have a clear view of not only what you believe you should be paid but also why. Form realistic expectations of your earning potential by doing your research. Make reasonable requests by understanding how your role, experience or contribution justifies the need for you to earn more than you already do. Simply saying your want or need more money to live, isn’t enough to convince most employers of the need to give you a raise.


Action: Do your research. Understand what is reasonable to expect.

3. Understand the value of your role.

There’s no point going into a pay review discussion kidding yourself about what you can expect to earn in the job you’re in. Understand that there is a ceiling to what any employer will pay for a particular role. Be very honest with yourself about how your role makes a difference to the success of the business. Face the reality that you may need to earn a promotion in order to increase your income.

Action: If you have reached the ceiling of earning potential in your current job talk to your manager about what skills or experience you need to take on a more senior position.

4. Understand the value of your contribution.

Consider the standard of your performance and extent to which you are delivering the level of contribution you are capable of. Are you disciplined with your time, organised and focused enough to optimise the level of your productivity and the value you add? How does your experience and capabilities compare with those of your peers, inside and outside of your organisation?. Has the level of your contribution grown over time and justify the need for your employer to pay you more? If you are unsure ask for feedback so you can better understand how your employer sees your worth to the business.

Action: Get the training or support you need to optimise the standard of your performance. Get the experience you need to demonstrate the ability to add greater value.

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5. Argue with reason.

Like any negotiation process you are more likely to achieve the outcome you want if you are perceived as being fair and reasonable. Keep emotion out of your discussions and focus on why you believe an increase of your remuneration is justified. Prepare your case in advance and be ready to talk about your expectations and any specific requests you have. Appreciate that your employer may not be in a position to go all of the way to meeting your expectations in one step. Be open to exploring steps that can be taken over a period of time.

Action: Be calm, rational and patient. Hold reasonable expectations and be open minded to reaching alternative yet mutually agreeable solutions.

Karen is the author of The People Manager’s Toolkit and The Corporate Dojo. For more information, visit her website.