How to secure your next pay rise

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Article by Dr Catherine A. Baudino

When I finished my book, Stepping Into My Shoes, I reflected further on how executives get promoted and/or secure a pay rise.

This resulted in an online research carried out by Mortar Research among 1,014 men and 1,024 women in the UK.  The results were most interesting:

Men are almost twice as likely to ask for a pay rise, as half of female workers admit never asking for one:

  • Men have asked for a pay rise 3.1 times in their careers on average, compared to fewer than 2 times (1.8) among women
  • Even when they do ask, over a quarter of women say their requests have always been rejected
  • Those who do get a pay rise can expect an average of £1,675 extra, compared to £1,964 for men
  • Fear of confrontation and lack of confidence are the biggest barriers preventing women from asking.

These findings led me, in turn, to reflect further on what techniques both men and women can develop to overcome this “reluctance” to ASK and can be best summarised in the slogan.

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Step back to step forward:

1. First and foremost, and even if you do nothing else, rid yourself of any emotions relating to your request.

Emotions come in the way of any statement and take away clarity. I know this sounds harsh and cold, but a hysterical or tearful request is not going to get you anywhere. You need to convey your message in a tone which will best communicate your request.

2. Realise you have nothing to lose – what is the worst that can happen? The boss says “No”. There’s no need fretting about what might happen, concentrate on what you can control – namely, the delivery of your message.

Do not concern yourself about a refusal, and in particular, do not take it personally. It is the proposal which is being rejected – not yourself!

3. List the reasons that justify your request:

  • Your length of tenure
  • The breadth of your responsibility
  • Your successes
  • What your competitors are earning
  • Your visions for the company.

As a part of your request, expressed in a logical tone, you also need to:

4. Decide on the best time and place to ask.

Timing is everything. If your boss is not a morning person or is on a trip overseas, I dare to suggest that this might not be the best time to get their attention.

5. Practice delivering your request. Ensure it is rational, and logical. Practice and practice again to yourself in front of the mirror and, if possible, in front of a trusted friend or coach.

6. Bear in mind, after all, that your pay rise or promotion may be have to be submitted to the Finance Director to OK your boss’s approval.

7. And if you are still unsure, always remember your boss may not be aware that you feel underpaid/undervalued, unless you TELL them. Bosses are not mind-readers. SO ASK!

About the author

Dr Catherine A Baudino is an executive coach and author of Stepping Into My Shoes. For more information on her book, go to:

For a free 30 minute “Chemistry Session”, click here

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