You've worked hard, boosted the bottom line, even earnt praise from your boss, but your salary remains the same.

That can really sting when you see colleagues - who may be less productive - getting promotions and that all important wage rise. You've hinted and waited for the boss to take you aside and give you the good news - sadly it never comes. One reason for their success might be that they know how to ask for a pay rise. There is an art to it says Adam Shapley, managing director of Hays in New Zealand.

"Asking for a pay rise can be nerve-racking. Many people avoid it altogether because they find it too difficult to broach this topic, while others prepare incorrectly and so fail to maximise their worth.

"But with the latest data showing that the overall value of pay rises is falling, New Zealanders are increasingly prepared to have this tricky conversation with their boss in order to improve their earnings."

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In a recent Hays survey 56% of New Zealanders say a salary increase is their number one career priority this year, with 53% intending to achieve this by asking their boss for a raise.

Gather supporting evidence

"Firstly, for your salary increase request to be successful, you need to show your boss why you deserve a raise," says Shapely.

"It's not enough to say the cost of living is increasing or that you're generally doing a good job. You must have specific and quantifiable evidence.

"Ask yourself - "What have I achieved since the last time my pay was increased that warrants a raise today?" Prepare a list of your recent achievements that exceed your objectives. It may help to look back at your last review or your original job description. Then list any changed or rising work volumes or duties you're now undertaking and consider projects you've been involved in. For each accomplishment, list the resulting benefit to the organisation."

Research typical market salaries

Next, research the salary you feel your performance and results are worth by reviewing a recent Salary Guide. This enables you to back up your request with evidence and demonstrate that the salary you are asking for is in line with current market rates.

Set the meeting and remain professional

You are now ready to ask your manager for a meeting to review your salary. Don't spring this conversation on your boss though, warns Shapely. "She or he could be in the middle of an urgent task or their attention could be required elsewhere. Instead, book a time with your manager and clearly state that the objective of your meeting request is to present your case for a salary review."

When it comes time for this meeting, Shapely suggests you keep it professional.

"Take control, but stay calm and focused. Do not become emotional and do not talk of how much money you need, such as rising bills or the cost of living. Instead, clearly present the evidence you've gathered to support your pay rise request."

Be prepared to negotiate

Your boss may want to negotiate the value of your salary increase. According to Shapely, you need to be prepared to discuss, at length if necessary, the salary you feel your results are worth.

"Throughout this discussion, keep in mind your justifications for asking for a pay rise in the first place.

"Also consider how much you are willing to compromise – it can help to have an ideal salary increase figure in mind as well as the minimum increase you feel your results are worth."

Have a fall-back position

"You should also have a contingency plan in case your employer comes back to you with the news that she or he cannot afford to increase your salary at this point in time," suggests Shapely.

"Can you agree a date for another pay review in three or six months?

"Could your boss instead offer additional benefits, such as working from home or an alternative location one or two days a week, paying for additional study or extra annual leave?"