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How to Ask for a Promotion

Posted about 4 years ago by Harry Silvester
How to ask for a job promotion

A TotalJobs survey of 5,000 UK workers found that 67% were denied a pay rise or a promotion last year and that this led to demotivation in the workplace. Only 12% of workers said they felt 'fully engaged' throughout the working day.

Asking for a promotion can be a tense conversation. You’re effectively fast-tracking yourself, quicker than your employer. Risky, but backed up with sufficient reason and evidence - it can pay off, quite literally.

The possibility of being turned down is an outcome you must be prepared for. At times this can be an emotional process, so preparation when asking this question is pivotal.


Where to start?

First of all, outlining whether or not a promotion is feasible is a good place to start; you may be indirectly asking for your manager's job! Some organisations provide a career tracking document upon joining; make sure you take a look at this. Normally, this would include key metrics and targets you’d need to achieve before being considered for a step up, which you can obviously measure yourself against.

If not, you will need to present key metrics you have met/exceeded, to warrant your case - referring back to the job description for your role will help. Putting yourself in the shoes of your manager is a great way to identify if you think you deserve a promotion. How will the business benefit from promoting you? Self-gain alone, most likely, isn’t in the interest of your manager or employer.


What Would a Promotion Look Like?

Identify where a promotion would take you, does somebody already have this role? Is there capacity for two people in this role? You must remember that a promotion has to be in the best interest of your employer, the business and other stakeholders that may be affected.

When preparing to ask your manager this question you should also be prepared to discuss how your role will change. This will inevitably include new areas of responsibility but will you also still be required to pick up all of your current responsibilities? If so, how will you manage the increase in workload if there isn’t someone taking previous tasks off your plate?


Building Your Case

If you’re asking for an increase in pay, I would suggest conducting market research. What is the market value of your role? You can find great information on current salaries through sources like our salary survey. Being able to present this in a meeting with your boss could be eye-opening for them.

You will want to answer every question and counter any concerns and reservations that your manager has so plan what you think they will ask. Speak to your colleagues too. How are you generally perceived in the business? Your colleagues will be able to answer these questions, hopefully with honesty, which will help shape your plan. Has anyone ever asked for a promotion in the past? If you have a good relationship with them ask what their strategy was.


The Execution & Outcome

Make sure you have enough time to sit down with your manager to discuss the promotion - this won’t be a 5-minute chat - so pin them down for a period of time you need to effectively deliver your proposal.

Executing your plan will vary case to case, but simple thoughts such as making sure you’re picking a good time can be important. Your employer could be on a recruitment freeze or in the process of laying off staff so take this into consideration. Always follow up with an email, outlining the discussion points in the email, just in-case your manager misread, misjudged, or just forgot about a point you made.


Finally, be prepared for a ‘no’. Be prepared to walk back over to your desk and crack on with your work, without becoming blatantly demotivated. If you’re doing a good job, the opportunity will arise again in the future, so stick to the hard work and keep knocking on the door.