Career dilemma: How to get a pay rise

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  • Marie Claire’s Success Coach, Sharron Lowe, shares her tips and tricks on broaching the scary subject of salary

    For the past three years my pay has been at a standstill. Without a formal structure in place to talk about these things with my boss, I find it extremely difficult to broach the subject. What else can I do?

    ‘You sound hesitant and apprehensive, so let’s change your attitude to a positive one, where you feel confident and focused.

    Begin by asking yourself: ‘What are my strengths? What do I contribute? What are my key responsibilities? How can I be more effective and contribute more?’ Write down all your responses.

    Next, arrange a meeting. Don’t use a closed question, like, ‘Can I see you about…?’ Instead, say, ‘I’d like to talk to you. Can you spare 20 minutes now or do you want to arrange a time this afternoon?’

    In the meeting, state your position clearly, share your strengths and contributions, and ask your boss to discuss the option of moving forward and how she/he can support you.

    There are many approaches to achieving a salary increase, so it pays to think creatively. For example, do you see an opening for a title change? What about receiving a bonus in lieu of a salary increase?

    Perhaps your company could contribute to your travel costs. Would they consider allowing you to work reduced hours if no increase is available?

    For more careers’ advice, email Sharron at


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