How to ask your boss for a payrise and other hard questions

Asking for a payrise can be difficult. Picture: Contributed.
Asking for a payrise can be difficult. Picture: Contributed.
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Can I have a pay rise? How about a promotion? These are just some of the questions workers are afraid to ask their employers.

Dealing with the boss can be nerve wracking, so it’s hardly surprising that one in four (22.5 per cent) workers admit there are questions they’re afraid to ask, with this figure rising to almost a third (31.3 per cent) amongst millennials.

This is according to a study from independent job board CV-Library.

The survey, which explored the views of 1,000 UK professionals, also found that despite being nervous in the first instance, half of workers (49.4 per cent) agreed that they would feel less awkward asking these questions once they’re comfortable with their boss.

When asked what questions they hate asking the most, respondents cited the following:

Can I have a pay rise? 63.6%

Can I have a promotion? 34.6%

Can I work more flexible hours? 32.7%

Can you help me with a task? 27.6%

Can I take some time off? 26.4%

How to ask for a payrise

“There’s a fine line between being too passive, and too aggressive when it comes to approaching your boss about pay rises or promotions,” says Lee Biggins, managing director of CV-Library.

“In an ideal workplace, an employer will create a culture where you feel comfortable enough to ask anything, but even in these circumstances matters of money or flexible working can feel awkward.

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“If you feel you rightly deserve whatever it is you’re asking for, then you should not be afraid to pose the question,” adds Lee.

“However, be sure to approach the subject carefully and professionally; demanding everything under the sun isn’t likely to be received well.”

Half of workers (49.4 per cent) don’t mind asking difficult questions once they feel more comfortable with their boss, but how long does this usually take?

For one third of workers (30.3 per cent) this can take around a month, but for 23.4 per cent, this takes as little as a week. Others said it takes them up to three months (22.6 per cent), a year (7.3 per cent), and some never feel comfortable with their boss (8.5 per cent).

Biggins concludes: “It’s worrying that nearly one in 10 never feel comfortable with their boss, especially if this stops them from asking important questions.

“While it may be nerve wracking, it’s vital that you do what’s best for your career.

“Remember, they’re human too and they’ll understand why you’re asking these questions – just ensure you go about it in the right way.”