How to ask for a pay rise

At a table in a work office, a woman with a pen and notebook talks to a man

The best way to ask for more money and why this is important for women.

Five ways to improve your pay

Here's how to give yourself the best chance of getting a pay rise. 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for more money.
  • Work out what you’re worth and why you're valuable.
  • Meet to discuss your achievements and ask for more pay.
  • Consider the full situation not just the pay.
  • Make it normal to talk about pay gaps.

1. Don't be afraid to ask for more money

Many people, particularly women, find pay conversations uncomfortable and as a result miss out on pay increases that their employers could have been happy to give them.

2. Work out what you're worth and why you're valuable

When you ask for a pay rise you need to show your employer how valuable you are, and that you're worth paying more so they can keep you.

Try to think about it from their point of view and describe how your work helps them to achieve their aims.

If you're given more responsibilities you should plan to ask for a raise because you're becoming more valuable to your employer.

Keep a list of your achievements through the year and how they contributed to your employer’s aims, then use this when you ask for a pay rise.

3. Meet to discuss your achievements and ask for more pay

Ask your manager for a good time to meet to discuss your performance and pay.

Use this meeting to discuss your achievements and make the case that you deserve a pay rise.

4. Consider the full situation not just the pay

Remember your manager may not be able to pay you more even if they want to.

If you get turned down for a pay rise, you may be able to ask for something else, like training or more flexible conditions.

Also ask your manager how you can improve so you'll have a better chance next time.

5. Make it normal to talk about pay gaps

According to Stats NZ, the gender pay gap is 9.1%, which means on average women are paid 9.1% less than men.

According to Dr Jo Cribb, co-author of Take Your Space: Successful Women Share Their Secrets:

  • about 20% of the gender pay gap in Aotearoa New Zealand can be accounted for by differences between men and women in education, occupation choice, age, type of work and family responsibilities
  • the remaining 80% of the gap is likely due to behaviour, attitudes and assumptions about women in work, including unconscious bias and discrimination.

Dr Cribb says that not talking about pay gaps makes it worse. 

"If we can start normalising conversations about pay and pay gaps, we will encourage greater transparency and we can bridge the pay disparities. 

"We want an Aotearoa New Zealand where everyone is paid fairly for their work, where pay discrimination based on ethnicity, gender or ability no longer exists."

Find out more


  • Based on Sorted’s 'Get paid what you’re worth' and reused with permission.
  • Sorted, interview, July 2022.

Updated 25 Jul 2022