How To Get A Pay Rise Without Even Trying

By Mike Keating | Co-founder at

TLDR: Figure out what value you’ve brought to the organisation, back it up and go for it.


⭐️ Disclaimer: By “not trying”, we mean not having to ask for one. However, this advice will only work for people who deserve a raise. You need to be passionate, and most importantly, amazing at your job.

Check yourself 

Think about your role and what you’re currently offering the business. Have you up skilled in the last few months? Have you been challenging yourself to go outside the box? What’s your value add here? After asking yourself and answering those questions, you’ll be just about ready to date yourself and really think about your expertise and transferable skills.

The more transferable skills you have, the more valuable you become to your employer, the greater the chances you’ll be paid around the upper bounds of what you’re worth?

In an ideal world, a person’s remuneration is commensurate to their value add, which is something that’s transferable. You see, your value add is your special skills that serve the world beyond your current employer. Take the emphasis off the company-specific stuff and focus on the bigger picture.  

Know your worth 

If you’re going to say you work harder than the rest of your team, then prove it.

If you claim that you’re extremely productive, then quantify it.

Do your research and focus on results rather than efforts. Or measurable output rather than specific input. Results reveal value, effort speaks to (your) cost. Have your personal metrics ready to go and attached to the broader organisational goals. What are the key goals of your team and how does what you’re working on specifically get you closer to reaching these?

By highlighting how your output drives results you underscore how you contribute to the bottomline — and that, my friend, is hard to ignore as the bottomline is the most important thing of all. 

Define happiness 

Make sure you’re clear about what will make you happy. Be specific and realistic. Always remember to be firm, and treat matters to do with happiness not as negotiations, but requests. You can back yourself with your results, so make sure you stand your ground. Practise your pitch, making sure it’s polished, but keep a positive spin. Firm means asking for what’s fair, not coming down like a ton of bricks. The most important thing here is to have clearly articulated what will make you happy.

Don’t ask for a raise!

…ask for a performance review instead.

This is where you come prepared and talk about your worth. Not how much money you think you deserve but about the value your skills and expertise have brought to the business.

Just make sure that when you ask for a performance review, you’re clear in communicating that your goal for the review is to chat about the value you’re adding to the company. Don’t surprise them with your agenda mid-way through the meeting. Make it clear from the get-go this is a formal chat, a two-way transaction, and you’re not there just to listen. You want to talk about the value you add to the company.

Be confident. You might be worried this will come off threatening or that you’ll look like a bit of a diva. As long as you run the review tactfully, with consideration to the tidbits above, you can’t really go wrong. We never thought we’d say this, but here’s a time where you want to actually stick to the formality. The very definition of a performance review is a formal assessment, and that’s something that requires more than one participating party. 

Close Strong 

Sometimes things taper off, ride into the sunset, fade into the distance. Don’t let this happen to your performance review. When it comes to a performance review, you want to progressively gear up and end strong.

Remind your employer that you’re working hard to exceed their expectations and that this is the moment where you hope they’ll reciprocate. If a fortnight passes by and you haven’t heard anything, take it upon yourself to set another meeting. Don’t spend sleepless nights sweating the prospects of a pay rise.

Go straight to the source and ask them why, or more fittingly, why not. At the next meeting, ask questions like, “do you feel that I’m overvaluing myself?” or “what specifically do I need to do in order to move forward?” to get clarification and actionable advice.

Even if the cash money doesn’t start to roll in, at least you’ve had a meaningful discussion around career progression and the obstacles standing in your way. Then you can get on with knocking them down. 

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