22 November 2021

Know Your Worth: How To Be More Confident When Asking for a Promotion/Pay Rise

Imagine this...

You enter your 1-to-1 with your manager and you say, with confidence:

Hi, I’d love to talk to you about my performance, and the next steps we could take to further my growth in this organisation.

Your manager’s answer is…

Cut! I want to ask YOU. First of all, can you relate to this confident, determined image? Second of all, what will your manager’s answer be?

If you’re not sure, don’t worry, that’s what we’re going to be working on together today: how to be more confident AND what to touch upon when asking for a promotion/pay rise.

So, stay with me while I walk you through my (and Marita’s) best advice on how to increase your chances for a positive answer and how to let go of the things that aren’t in your control.

A much-needed real talk

The UK branch of the massive global recruitment company Robert Walters has conducted a study that included 9,000 of UK professionals (men & women) to explore employees’ experiences in the workplace.

In brief, the conclusions of the study are these:

  • There’s STILL a lot of bias, pay gap, and discrimination in the workplace - and women and minorities are drawing the short straw.

  • Women lack confidence more than men, which holds them back from asking for a negotiated salary and/or a promotion. 57% of the women respondents have never attempted to negotiate their salary.

  • 22% of the women respondents (vs. 13% men) feel like they don’t even know WHAT to do to get a promotion because there are no clear progression routes. And men are 10% more likely than women to leave a job that doesn’t offer clear progression routes.

With this study in mind, I want to tell you this: we have to have our own back. Unfortunately, workplaces haven’t grown enough, so we have to be more confident at work, and ask for what we deserve.

Here’s how to do that.

How to ask for a promotion and/or pay rise with confidence

I hired and promoted many people within my team throughout my career. And I was also in the shoes of the one ASKING for a pay rise.

These are the best lessons I’ve learned from being in both positions:

Create a holistic picture of your current role and your performance

The best thing you can do before you ask for a promotion is to know your current situation to a tee. Reflect on what you’re doing and how well you’re doing it. Get feedback from your team to help you with that, and to tell you what you can improve as well.

When you’re ready to have the conversation, you’ll show up more confident and determined to get what you’re worth because you’ll be able to explain how you contribute to the organisation, what value you bring to the team, and emphasise the benefits of having you take on even more responsibility (or get paid what you’re worth).

Get clear on what you’re really asking for

Do you want a promotion (i.e. more responsibilities), more opportunities for growth (i.e. changes in your tasks, not necessarily more of the similar responsibilities) or a pay rise (i.e. you deserve to get paid more for what you’re currently doing)?

For example, getting a promotion doesn’t always mean getting the pay rise you deserve.

When I got promoted to a Director position, the rise I got wasn’t reflective of the seniority of the role. It took an entire year for my pay to be bumped to the right level. And yes, I asked for it THREE TIMES within that year.

Why did I stay? Because the experience and the growth that it offered were more important than money for me at that moment.

Ask yourself: what is important to me at this point in my career? Take it from there.

Keep in mind that the timeline could differ from your expectations, though. Your manager may want to give you what you want, but their hands might be tied or there’s a process that will take some time to complete.

My advice is to always give them a heads up before you talk so they have time to prepare

Be aware of the challenges

Have a transition plan.

Once you get to that next level, challenges come your way. Show that you know what you’re in for, you know what shortcomings might manifest in your new role, but they won’t hold you back from performing at your best.

Do research! Ask around - your peers, people in similar roles at other companies, on online forums or groups… anyone that can help you get a better grasp of the role that you’re about to take on.

Mention the challenges, and how you plan to overcome them.


It’s all about self-awareness. Articulate the contribution that you make to the company and stand your ground when counterarguments come your way. If you’re well prepared with the things we talked about just above, you’ll be ready.

However, if you do all of that, but you’re still met with a lot of resistance, it might be time to check out some job postings, go to some interviews, and see what’s out there that might be a better fit for you. You deserve to be somewhere where you’re valued, so resistance might just be a sign that it’s time to walk away. Of course, it depends on what YOU want and what makes YOU happy.

Do you want more real-world tips and advice to feel more empowered and happier in your work and personal life? Join my email list to have it delivered straight to your inbox.

P.S: I talk more about all these experiences in my fresh-out-of-the-oven podcast. Go check that out!

Jeni Carroll

As a certified life coach, Jeni helps busy, successful women ditch overwhelm & selfdoubt & rediscover their energy, passion & freedom with proven strategies.

Ready to ditch the overwhelm and self-doubt? Start your transformation now.