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Negotiations: asking for a pay rise


It’s never easy to talk about your salary, but it might sometimes be necessary! How is it possible to do this without sounding rude or too desperate?


Imagine that you have been working for your company for three years, but you haven’t yet received a pay rise or a significant bonus. You have decided to raise this issue with your manager. What words and phrases might be useful in your conversation with him or her?


Now listen to a conversation about pay rises between an employer and an employee. In the clip, you'll hear Abigail ask her boss for a pay rise. Listen without reading the text and try to hear the phrases listed above.

Check understanding

Check your understanding by reading the script below:

Abigail: Hi, are you free for a quick chat?
Mark: Sure, come in, come in. Sit down. What can I do for you?
Abigail: Okay. Well, it’s a bit difficult, but … I really feel that it’s about time that I had a pay rise.
Mark: Okay and why do you feel like that?
Abigail: Well, I have been here now for three years and in that time I have made good progress. I really feel that I’ve grown in the job and I’ve taken on a lot more responsibility. I just think it’s time that it was recognised and that my efforts were rewarded.
Mark: Right. So you feel that you’re on a low salary for your current position and current responsibilities, do you?
Abigail: Yeah, I do believe that what I’ve contributed to the department over recent months means that I should be paid more.
Mark: Okay, well, what kind of rise would you be looking for?
Abigail: Well, you know, I think that 3% on top of the usual annual rise with inflation isn’t too much to ask.
Mark: Three per cent... Hmm. Right, well, as you know, I can’t just give you a pay rise immediately, just like that. I’ll have to discuss it with the other managers here. And, as you can imagine, there aren’t unlimited funds available for things like this. But you might be pleased to hear that we are having a pay review meeting very soon and I’ll make sure we discuss your request then.
Abigail: Okay, fine. Should I put this request in writing as well? So we all have a record of this discussion?
Mark: Yes, that’d be a good idea. Email me and also copy it to human resources.

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