When is the Right Time to Ask for a Pay Rise?

Asking for a pay rise can be one of the most nerve-wracking things you will ever do. Additional funds mean the world to you, but that feeling isn’t always shared by your employer. Asking for more might be uncomfortable, but if you feel that you’re worth the raise, it’s often necessary. 

There are two parts to successfully getting a pay rise:

  1. Firstly, understand that the company you work for is in business to make money. It’s that simple. So when you ask for a pay rise, your focus shouldn’t be on why you need an increase, but on why you deserve it. (Here are tips if your job is front of house).
  2. Secondly, you have to time it properly so that your chances of getting what you want are increased.

In this article, we breakdown the right time and the right circumstances that hospitality professionals should ask for a pay rise.


The Right Times to Ask for a Pay Rise

Timing your request is important. Good planning is asking a few months prior to annual budget planning. Great timing is asking after an announcement of positive financial results. 

It depends on the company of course, but according to Forbes, the day and time of day counts, especially in the hospitality industry! It is suggested you avoid Mondays when people are less energised after their weekends, or may be running around trying to catch up after a busy working weekend. 

It is better to time your request for a morning, and it seems a Wednesday morning is ideal. The boss is in a good mood because the weekend is approaching, and he or she may be more relaxed and open to hearing what you have to say. However, these times may not be ideal for you, depending on the type of company you work for. Use common sense to decide.


The Right Circumstances to Ask for Pay Rise

An increased workload, a new responsibility, or a change in your job description can be great opportunities to justify your pay request. It’s good to ask before you start doing the work, because once you start, you may lose some leverage. We don’t suggest refusing extra work, but rather carefully planning your approach to asking for an increase. 

Although we recommend talking to your boss before taking on new responsibility, it’s also good to approach him or her after a successful project or event you were involved in has been completed. 

If you are on a contract which is coming to an end, and the company wants to renew it, now’s a good time to ask for a pay rise. Avoid approaching your boss when he or she is busy, especially during service, because you won’t get the attention you need. 


Be Realistic

Unless you’re being grossly underpaid, your company is under no obligation to give you a raise in pay. Part of your promotional plan should be to consistently over-perform, so that you have leverage. Once your employer sees that you’re a valuable, hard worker, more than likely, they will recognise the need to keep you happy, and this may be the time to ask. Keep in mind if working casually, there will be slight increments to your hourly rate available as per the award. However, this will cap out at a certain level, so do your research and don’t be unrealistic.

Last, but certainly not least, don’t dismiss the power of a good mood. Even better is when your boss may be feeling the warm and fuzzies over something great that you did.

Having said all this, don’t assume you’re going to get what you want, because asking is just that - asking. The company may or may not accommodate your request.


Discover the exciting world of hospitality. It will take you places!

About the author Marlowe Bennett

Drawing on 22 years personal experience and over 23,000 professional hours working across Sydney’s hospitality industry, these articles intend to inspire young candidates to join our industry and support aligned operators in building positive employment environments for the aspiring hospitality professional. Please feel free to contact me directly if you feel I could help or if you would like us to cover an important topic or industry matter.


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