A Complete Guide on How to Ask for a Raise

Even if you have a good relationship with your boss, asking for a raise can be a daunting experience. In fact, a 2018 survey revealed that two-thirds of individuals have never asked for a raise. If you're a part of this group, you're depending on your boss to recognize your efforts and offer a pay increase to match your achievements. However, there’s no guarantee that this recognition will come to an employee who does not ask.If the thought of asking for a raise fills you with fear, you should know that your boss likely won't feel the same trepidation about the conversation. Asking for a raise is a normal part of having a job, and when it's done correctly, is likely to result in success. As you prepare to talk to your boss about a raise, it's important to consider your overall performance, the timing of your request, your expectations, and how to conduct the conversation.

When to Ask for a Raise

Timing is everything. There are many ways you can time your request perfectly based on your performance and your company's calendar. To understand when you should ask for a raise, it's important to know when you shouldn't ask for one. For instance, even if you're armed with every piece of data that details why you should have a raise, you don't want to interrupt your boss on a particularly busy day or when you can tell they have a lot on their plate. It's best to avoid asking for a raise if you know the organization is making cutbacks or conducting layoffs. Similarly, asking for a raise after recent pay increases or shortly after a budget meeting could limit your results because the money has already been allocated. Luckily, there are many ways to time your request accordingly. These examples each display a good time to ask for a raise.

  • The market rate for your job is higher than what you're being paid. When you consider your pay rate in comparison to the average rate for your position, remember to take your total compensation into consideration.
  • You've taken on additional responsibilities. Even if you weren't promoted to a new position, taking on new responsibilities means you're completing more work for the company.
  • Performance reviews are coming up. Often, companies conduct performance reviews before providing pay increases. Asking before your review can put your accomplishments on your boss' radar.
  • It's nearing the end of the fiscal year. Asking for a raise after the yearly budget has been put in place might result in lower rates of success, but asking in advance could have the opposite effect.
  • You've been doing excellent work for a year since your last salary was set. Yearly pay increases are combut not all organizations automatically dole them out. As a result, you may need to request the raise you deserve.
  • The financial health of the company is good. If you deserve a raise and you've done your research, it's easier to tell whether the company can afford additional compensation.
  • You have an offer from a competing company. During competitive hiring periods, it's not uncommon for hiring managers to seek passive candidates. If you're happy where you are but find the additional compensation tempting you to leave, have a conversation with your boss.

How to Ask Your Boss for a Raise

This is often the most daunting part of the process. Even if you know you deserve it, approaching your boss for a raise can feel awkward. However, it doesn't have to. It's ideal to ask for a raise in person and privately. To accomplish this, it's a good idea to schedule a meeting. Before your meeting, prepare what you plan to say, and the reasons you know you deserve a raise. Although you may have explained your plan to discuss your compensation, it's a good idea to open the meeting by clearly defining your intentions. After thanking your boss for meeting with you, outline the specifics of your request. While you should be able to highlight your accomplishments, it's likely not necessary to plan a detailed presentation. After you've explained your position, be prepared to answer questions. Be prepared to answer with responses that further explain why you deserve a raise. It's also important to prepare for a denial. When your boss says they can't give you a raise or can't afford the increase you asked for, you should be prepared to respond calmly. Ask questions about your boss' satisfaction with your performance, what changes you can make to make you eligible for a pay increase, and when it would be a good time to revisit the request.

An infographic describing how to ask for a raise giving an ineffective example "I need a raise because my bills are high" and an effective example I've consistently met and exceeded my targets over the past year."

How Much of a Raise Should I Ask For?

Determining how much of a raise to ask for can be complex. Inflation, the market rate for your position, and your contributions to company success should be taken into consideration. While traditional pay raises have been as low as 3%, it's okay to ask for more during times of inflation, but remember that your request should be realistic and grounded in research. A performance raise should also offer more than a typical cost of living increase. If you know you're underpaid, it's acceptable to ask for as much as 10%. If it's impossible for the company to provide such an increase, consider how other types of compensation can work toward your total request. Flexible schedules, paid time off, bonuses, and stock options can all be valuable contributions to your salary.

Asking for a raise can feel like a major hurdle that you'd rather not face. However, it's an important to recognize your contributions to the company you work for. When you conduct yourself professionally, asking for a raise is unlikely to hurt your relationship with your boss and is likely to result in success or at least positive movement in the right direction. For more information about career advancement or finding the perfect role, contact the recruitment experts at Career Group Companies.

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