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Nail your pay rise request: Our guide to getting a salary increase

Financial Wellbeing Coach

2023-12-21 00:00

Estimated reading time
7 min

In this article

  • Hot tips to ask for a salary increase
  • Real-life examples of what to say
  • What to do once you get that pay rise

Whether you’ve been at your job for many moons or have gone above and beyond at work, you might be itching to get a salary increase.

Especially in today's economy, with the phrase 'cost of living' on everyone's lips, having a bit of extra cash can be a welcome relief.

Asking the head honcho for a pay rise can be an awkward subject to bring up, almost as awkward as rocking up to a work meeting 20 minutes late. But it doesn't have to be. As such we’ve got some hot tips that you can use to confidentially, politely and professionally ask for a salary increase.

Don’t skimp on preparation

While asking for a pay rise might seem simple on paper, most people can’t just waltz up to the boss and request one – a little preparation goes a long way. Ask yourself why you deserve a raise to begin with and write your answers down (ideally 3–5) in your phone, a notebook or whatever works for you. All your answers should be backed up by evidence, such as KPI reports and other pieces of tangible evidence.

If you don’t have the stats to back up your hard work, consider referencing all the other ways you’ve improved the business, such as implementing better processes, representing them at industry events or building a positive work culture.

To prep for your chat with the boss, consider using cue cards or bullet points to help you stay on track during your pitch. This can help keep your nerves in check and prevent waffling, which can hinder your request for a pay rise.


“In the last twelve months, I have [achievement], which has [evidence/data]. In addition, I’ve [list your increased responsibilities and other achievements].”

Example: “In the last twelve months, I have led 10 projects, which has equalled $75,000 of new business. In addition, I’ve developed more project management skills and recently started managing a new employee.”

Nail your timing

Knowing when to ask for a pay rise can make or break your request. Asking when your company is doing well, you’re smashing your goals, and your boss isn’t stressed might be worth the wait. You wouldn’t ask your parents for extra cash after a stressful and expensive Christmas period, so why ask your boss for a salary adjustment when they’re worried with the financials of the business.

When it comes to where you have your salary adjustment chat, consider doing it personally and privately. Of course you can have it on a video call, especially if you work remotely. But if possible, it’s best to do it face to face. It’s more personal and you can pick up on body language and social cues. And you shouldn’t spring this on your boss during lunch hour in the kitchen either – schedule a time that works for you both.


“Hi [boss name], do you have any spare time this week to sit down with me for a few minutes to talk about my role?” Wait for their response “Great, I’ll send a meeting invite for [time] on [day and date].”

Stay cool, calm and collected

Like with any pitch or performance, rehearsal is key – and your salary adjustment is no exception. Rehearsing what you want to say in front of a trusted family member, friend or mentor can make you feel more confident. Get them to ask you questions that your boss might ask, so you’re prepared for anything thrown your way.

And don’t beat around the bush or wait for them to cotton on to what you’re about to ask. Say your g’days (professionally), get straight to the point, hype up your work and achievements, then wrap it all up in a neat bow with your salary adjustment request.

One quick tip – you don’t have to call it a pay rise. Consider calling it a salary adjustment. Your boss may freak out when they see the words ‘pay rise’, but ‘salary adjustment’ can soften the topic.

Do your research and find your ideal figure

Depending on your workplace, suggesting a new salary to your boss without any research might not fly. Investigate how much someone in your role and at your experience level is earning through salary search websites. Or if you’re comfortable doing so, have an honest, but private, conversation with a colleague about salary – this is totally within Australian employment laws too.

When you’ve figured out how much you’re going to ask for, work out your back-up request. If your boss denies your first offer, how low are you willing to go? When having your salary adjustment conversation, pitch your desired salary and if your boss wants to negotiate, then you know you can whip out your backup salary and go from there.

In some situations, your boss might ask you how much your salary increase should be. This is usually the case in performance reviews. In the lead up to the performance review, do your research and have your desired salary figure up your sleeve. That way, you’re prepared in the event your boss springs the question on you.


“Considering my work in the last 12 months, I would like to discuss a salary adjustment. I want to make sure that I’m fairly compensated for my work. Would a salary increase of [percentage you want your salary to be increased by] be achievable?

Note: You can also mention a specific salary number alongside the percentage too. It might be handy to bring your salary research too.

So, what if they say no?

Even if you’ve presented a great case for yourself, your boss might still respond with a big fat ‘no’. If this is the case, explain that it would beneficial if you understood their reasons why. And then consider asking what you need to do or demonstrate to turn their ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ in your next salary review.

If the pay raise doesn't come through, then consider requesting other perks as a last resort. These perks can be a designated parking spot, more time working at home, or even getting to use the company car.

Hopefully the tips in this article, will put you in good stead for that pay increase or will help you feel a little more prepared to respond to a ‘no pay rise’ outcome with confidence, rather than caught off guard.


“Thank you for letting me know about the outcome of my salary adjustment. While I feel disappointed that the company can’t adjust my salary, I’m still committed to delivering my best work in my role. I look forward to discussing how I can bring more value to my role.”


“Thanks for letting me know the outcome of my salary adjustment. I would like to have a better understanding of why my request wasn’t accepted. What can I do better/more of?”

Nail your pay rise request: Our guide to getting a salary increase
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The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations. You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.