How to ask for a pay rise

I’m not sure who needs to hear this, but if you’re waiting for your manager to approach you about a pay increase, you’re going to be waiting a while. In this blog, we explain how to ask for a pay rise.

You are your own greatest advocate when it comes to negotiating a pay rise. If it’s been more than 18 months since your pay was upped or reviewed, this is your sign it’s time for a sit down with your manager.

Start by pulling them aside and asking if you can arrange a sit down. Or, if you’d prefer to be more formal, go ahead and send an email like the below.

“Hi (managers name),

I’m hoping to have a sit down with you to discuss my rate of pay. It’s been (insert time) since we’ve reviewed it. I’d love to float some ideas past you to make sure that my wage is in line with my skill, experience, responsibilities, and the current market value.

Hoping it will be a productive conversation. Let me know if there is anything specific you would like me to prepare.


(your name)”

I know, this can be daunting. There is always a fear that the conversation will become confrontational, or your manager will be annoyed that you even asked. However as an employee, and a human living in a world where the cost of living is increasing drastically, you are entitled to a reasonable conversation around it.

Here are a few reasons that it’s time to initiate a conversation about your salary and ask for a pay rise.

Inflation vs Salary

Inflation went up by 3.5% in 2021. So if the cost of living and expenses has increased, your pay should fall in line with that. The Hair & Beauty award rate increase by 2.5% last year. So you should have at least received an increase that falls in line with that percentage, without there even being any changes or adjustments to your responsibilities. That might only be 60 or 80 cents per hour, but on a full-time contract, that’s an additional $1500+ per year.

Your skill has improved, or your responsibilities have changed

Picture this. Two years ago you might have started in a business where you had to build up your own clientele. And you had a thing or two to learn about a product or colour range. And you weren’t allowed to lock up the salon. Fast forward to now, you’re fully booked. You’re helping to train new team members. And you have a salon key and often manage the salon open/close. Your responsibilities, skill, experience and what you bring to the team have changed drastically in that time, and it’s time that your wage reflects those changes. Depending on how much things have changed, this might be worth a couple of dollars per hour!

You’re making good money for your salon

Most salons are on a commission or profit share arrangement. However if you’re not, and you’re bringing in a healthy amount for the salon, you may want to consider asking for a base increase, or if a percentage of your earnings could be paid as a bonus/commission.

The demand for your skill has increased

The skills shortage in the hairdressing and beauty industries has placed candidates in a unique position where they can quite easily negotiate their wage. We’re not suggesting that you look at the highest paying job advertisement in your area and then go ask for that. We’re suggesting that you understand the market value of an employee with your skills and experience. Find a healthy balance between staying where you are, enjoying your job security, still getting to work with your existing clients, but also be paid within a reasonably close proximity to your market value.

There is a huge difference between having a sense of entitlement and knowing what your skills are worth. But don’t get sucked into thinking you can have it all. Some employers offer amazing benefits IN LIEU of high paying base wages. For example, commission structures, flexible working time, exclusive training opportunities, and various other forms of perks or reward.

Weigh up what is most important to you. When you’re negotiating your wage, work with your employer on finding a healthy and overall mutually beneficial working arrangement. Talk it out, keep it positive, and if they’re not willing to come to the party or work with you – it might be time to give us a call.

Good luck!

Keep up to date with the latest in employment and recruitment in the hair and beauty industries at the HeadHunter blog.