Skip to main content
EURES (EURopean Employment Services)
News article6 January 2023European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion3 min read

How to ask your employer for a pay rise

Many employees find it awkward to ask their boss for a pay rise. However, if you have outgrown your role, had consistently good performance or taken on tasks that are above your pay grade, it is only fair that you get compensated for your work.

How to ask your employer for a pay rise

See where you stand salary-wise

One of the first things you need to do before asking for a pay rise is to compare your salary with that of other employees at your level and in your sector. There are many ways to do that. You could ask your company’s human resources officer about the salary band for your level, talk to your colleagues, visit a national salary comparison website, or search for job offers online to see how much other employers are offering for a similar role. A great place to do the latter is the EURES portal, where we currently have nearly 4 million jobs.

Build a case

Look back and reflect on the work you have done since your last pay rise (or since you were recruited). Try to get specific stats, as well as examples of times when you have gone above and beyond to do your work. This includes overtime, completed tasks that are above your pay grade, mentoring newcomers, etc. The more concrete examples you can give your manager, the stronger the case for your pay rise.

Choose the right timing

A common mistake that employees often do when asking for a pay rise is picking the wrong time to do it. Avoid busy periods when your boss is under stress, as well as periods where your company is doing cutbacks. Try to catch your boss after a big achievement for your company.

Also, consider your own tasks. Is there an important achievement or professional milestone coming up for you? You might want to wait until it happens, so you can have better grounds for a pay rise.

Do it in person

In a post-pandemic world where working remotely has become the new normal, it might be tempting to ask for a pay rise via email. However, doing this in person (or via video call) can yield a much better result. Salary negotiations are a conversation, so make sure you set up a meeting with your boss where you can talk rather than exchange emails.

Do not negotiate yourself down

Sometimes, we feel so uncomfortable asking for a pay rise that we ask for less than we think we deserve. You are your biggest supporter, so you cannot afford to let yourself down. If you think you deserve a 10 % pay rise, then ask for 10 %. Your employer is unlikely to offer you more than what you have asked for, so do not compromise with yourself.

Be positive and confident

Body language is very important when it comes to salary negotiations. Show your boss that you are confident about what you think you deserve, but do not be arrogant. Sit up straight, maintain eye contact during the meeting and make sure you have a positive attitude. Do not forget to emphasise how grateful you are for this job and for being part of their company.

Be ready to pick up more work

Sometimes, salary negotiations do not go as planned. If your employer says “no”, ask them what you could do to qualify for a pay rise. It might be a matter of taking on a few more tasks to demonstrate your worth.

Tight deadlines are a common challenge in the world of work. Learn how to handle your deadlines, both near and far, and work free from stress.


Related links:

EURES portal

Struggling to deliver on time? Learn how to never miss another deadline again


Read more:

European Job Days

Find EURES Advisers

Living and working conditions in EURES countries

EURES Jobs Database

EURES services for employers

EURES Events Calendar

Upcoming Online Events

EURES on Facebook

EURES on Twitter

EURES on LinkedIn

  • Hints and tips
  • Youth
Related section(s)
  • Hints & tips
  • Accomodation and food service activities
  • Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies
  • Activities of households as employers, undifferentiated goods- and services
  • Administrative and support service activities
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
  • Financial and insurance activities
  • Human health and social work activities
  • Information and communication
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining and quarrying
  • Other service activities
  • Professional, scientific and technical activities
  • Public administration and defence; compulsory social security
  • Real estate activities
  • Transportation and storage
  • Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities
  • Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles


Articles are intended to provide users of the EURES portal with information on current topics and trends and to stimulate discussion and debate. Their content does not necessarily reflect the view of the European Labour Authority (ELA) or the European Commission. Furthermore, EURES and ELA do not endorse third party websites mentioned above.