Career progression: our tips for securing a pay rise or promotion

women in conference taking meeting notes

Asking for a promotion or pay rise at work can be a potentially daunting experience. Doing your research and feeling thoroughly prepared can make a huge difference in your confidence and practicing the best technique and strategies for approaching your employer can be the key to assuring success.

Before entering into any discussion regarding your pay or position it’s important to do your homework. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be ready to tell you employer how they benefit the company and ensure you are fully briefed on the company’s pay and promotion policies. It’s also worth considering the current employment market for your profession and thinking about the unique skills and experience you have that make you stand out from the crowd.

Katherine Allwood, Manager at Robert Walters comments, “For the best chance of success when asking for a promotion consider the communication style your manager prefers. Raising the issue via email might seem unassertive but some line managers will prefer to have some time to consider your request before discussing it at a formal meeting. Springing the question on them face-to-face without any warning can be counter-productive.”

For the best chance of success when asking for a promotion consider the communication style your manager prefers. 

Pay and promotions and can be sensitive issues but it’s important to maintain an objective point of view and not take your manager’s response personally.

Bear in mind:

  • Many organisations have formal internal promotion processes and annual pay reviews. It is unlikely you can bypass these so create a relationship with your boss where you get ongoing feedback on how things are going and ensuring he or she is clear about your aspirations.
  • Your managers may be unable to accommodate your requests due to budgetary constraints or a lack of opportunities within the company – few companies are in a position to simply ‘create jobs’ even if high performing employees deserve them.

While it is important not to take it personally if your boss can’t help with your requests for career progression, carefully consider whether your current employer can give you what you want. If the company can’t offer you the opportunities you need to be satisfied with your career it may be time to consider looking elsewhere. Just as you shouldn’t take it personally if your employer isn’t able to offer you a promotion, nor should they if you decide that moving on is the best thing for you and your career.

Career advice


Empowering women


Check how much
you're worth 


How does your salary 
compare in the market? 


Craft your perfect
personal brand statement