Achieving a pay rise in your performance review

Achieving a pay rise in your performance review
January 19, 2020 Todd Richardson

With so many factors to consider when approaching a salary negotiation, people need to think about their timing.

Choosing an appropriate time to raise the topic of salary will help you to guide the conversation in a successful direction.

And, your annual performance review is one of those moments.

Not only is it a great time to gain feedback on your performance over the past 12 months, it gives you the chance to assess your salary and discuss an increase, without springing it on your employer randomly.

They are generally ready for these kinds of conversations to arise in a review!

Don’t have a performance review?
For those of you that work in a company without formal reviews, my advice would be not to rock up at your manager’s door and ask if they have 10 minutes to talk to you. Instead, pick a time that is appropriate like the EOFY or the end of a project etc. In the lead up to that time, ask for a meeting to be set aside with your manager and let them know when booking it that you intend to discuss your salary.

Before taking on a director role at Construction People, I always approached my reviews as a debate – with my employer sitting on the con side and myself on the pro side.

It’s not enough to go into the review and say –”I’m not happy with my pay, can I have some more?”

It’s a discussion that needs to be approached actively. Go into it prepared and ready to justify your request.

Be prepared to prove your worth.

‘Show people, don’t tell them’ is a popular saying in our office- and with good reason.

It allows you to demonstrate your impact at a business by telling the person about the achievements/challenges you have overcome, rather than just detailing your responsibilities.

Being able to do this is particularly important when you’re in a salary negotiation.

You wouldn’t enter a gunfight without bullets. The same goes for heading into your performance review, wanting a pay rise.

If a pay rise is what you’re looking for, you’ll need to come prepared with a figure in mind  (it helps to understand what the market’s paying, but don’t solely rely on it)  and reasons why your employer should see value in giving you one.

Think about all of the wins you’ve had, big and small, over the last 12 months and bring them to the table. This is your ammunition.

In the construction industry, this will be thing like; a contract administrator getting variation, a site engineer managing a design issue that went pear shaped, a project manager achieving extra margin out of a project or a foreman getting back time in the programme.

You can also discuss what you’ve done above and beyond your role to contribute to the business.

Be that learning other people’s positions, contributing to company culture by helping to organise work events, assisting with the implementation of new systems in the business etc.

All of these things make you a better, more rounded professional and a bigger asset to your employer than you were 12 months ago.

Know what other items you would consider instead of a pay rise.

This is approaching from a different angle, when a pay rise isn’t your primary motivator or your business isn’t in a financial position to offer you an increase in pay.

So, if a pay rise isn’t your goal or can’t be achieved, what are some non-price criteria items that you would consider a value add instead?

    • A promotion rather than a pay rise?
    • More flexibility in your role? Flexibility in start/finish times, working from home arrangements etc.
    • Extra leave?
    • A change in roles? E.g. moving from a CA to a PE.

It’s worthwhile knowing this. And if you’re looking at the bigger picture, something like a promotion or the opportunity to develop your career by nibbling away at other people’s roles, can set you up for further career success!

For more advice from our team, or to chat to us about how we can help you to secure your next opportunity, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us through our Contact Us page or by emailing

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