How to Ask for a Raise at Work (With Examples)

Not sure how to ask for a raise at work? Learn some of the best ways to ask for a raise with confidence and (hopefully) get a yes.

portrait of Joanna Kalafatis
by Joanna Kalafatis

Published on May 19, 2022 · Updated on June 15, 2022

Edited by Giselle M. Cancio
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How to Ask for a Raise at Work (With Examples)
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People often don't know how to ask for a raise at work. Though it may seem intimidating, asking for a raise is often the first step to receiving a salary increase. Payscale reports that only 37% of workers have asked their employers for a raise, but 70% of the employees who asked received one.

What to Do Before You Ask for a Raise

Research and preparation often help when asking for a raise. Before you have a conversation with your manager, consider the following steps:

Look into salary trends to see how much employees in your industry and with your experience level typically make. Resources like Payscale and the Bureau of Labor Statistics can help you with this process. Create a list of your major accomplishments during your time at work. Collect positive customer reviews or performance evaluations you have received. You can also consider asking for a LinkedIn recommendation from past collaborators. List measurable benefits you have brought to the company; include specific numbers and data. Look into any additional education or certifications you could complete to help increase your value as an employee. Write out how your responsibilities, hours, and role may have increased and expanded during your employment. Determine the specifics of what you are requesting. How much of a pay raise do you want? Are there any added benefits you'd like to receive?

Best Tips for Asking for a Raise

Now that you have prepared your case, figure out how to properly ask for a raise. Implement the following tips to present your research to your manager in the best possible way:

  • Rehearse your request for a raise. This can help you feel more confident when you have the conversation with your manager.
  • Record your rehearsal before asking for a raise. This may help you identify any nervous speech habits, excessive pausing and filler words, or anything else that could make you sound less confident.
  • Prepare a list of possible questions and think about your answers to them.
  • Schedule the meeting to discuss the raise well ahead of time.
  • Focus on positive and assertive language. Avoid apologetic words (e.g., "sorry to bother you").
  • Prepare a letter for your manager summarizing your main points and requests. They may need to share it with other executives to approve a raise.

When to Ask for a Raise

If your company doesn't give annual raises, you will have to take the initiative and decide when to ask for a raise. Schedule your request carefully to boost your chances of success. Here are some of the best times to ask for a raise:

Carolyn Riggins, founder of CDR Consulting, suggests asking yourself the following questions before contacting your manager:

Examples of What to Say When Asking for a Raise

Suzie Finch, CEO of The Career Improvement Club, recommends to keep things light, express a positive mood, and highlight all the things you enjoy about the role.

"If you go in a bundle of nerves and just blurt out 'I want more money,' it won't end well. Run through your value points and where you excel, and then bring out the killer line: 'with all things considered I was hoping we could agree on a pay rise, what do you think?'

Here is a sample message that you might use to ask for a raise meeting with your manager:

"I am writing to request a raise in my current salary. I have been with the company for five years now and believe that my contributions warrant an increase in salary. The skills and experience I've gained during my time with the company are on point with a $5,000 raise. I appreciate your consideration of my request. I am free to discuss this at your convenience."

Jennifer Hartman, Human Resources Expert, Fit Small Business

When the day of the meeting arrives, be strong in your tone, voice, and body language to start the meeting. Here are a few examples of how you can begin your conversation:

"Thank you for meeting with me. Since I recently finished *major project* and have taken on more duties and responsibilities in my role, I would like to discuss my compensation and continued growth within the company."

If you helped the company surpass goals set:

"Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. After I helped the department exceed its goals this quarter by X%, I am excited to see what further value I could bring to this company. Therefore, I would like to discuss my salary."

During your meeting, focus on how you have contributed to the company. Use numbers and data when possible.

"I helped our team finish this major project one week ahead of schedule. In the last year, I exceeded my sales goals by X%. Based on the research I have done and the years of experience I have in this role, I believe an X% raise is fair."

What to Expect After Asking for a Raise

After you ask for a raise, give your manager some time to consider your request. Thank them in person, and then thank them again with a short follow-up email later in the day; this message should also summarize a couple of main points from your meeting.

In most companies, managers need to consult with others before approving a raise. If you don't hear a response within a week, follow up to see if they have made a decision.

If you didn't get the raise you wanted, don't give up hope. Ask your manager if there are other perks the company can provide instead, like extra vacation days. Ask what additional skills you can develop or certifications you can attain to help your chances of getting a raise in the near future.

"It's also important to remember that if you don't secure a raise not to stress, you haven't lost anything, in-fact it's likely you would have still gained, you'll be able to use the feedback to improve and would have highlighted to your employer you are ambitious (never a bad thing)," Finch said.

Frequently Asked Questions About Asking for a Raise

true What is a reasonable raise to ask for?

The average annual raise in the U.S. is approximately 3-5%, depending on the industry and region. Strong employees who want a salary raise can reasonably ask for 10-20% above their current salary and then negotiate with their managers from that starting point.

Use Payscale or the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the average or median salary for someone in your industry and city. If your salary is far below this number, or if you have an exceptional skill set or important clients you bring to the company, you can ask for the higher end of the 10-20% range.

true What should you not say when asking for a raise?

Steer away from "qualifiers," i.e., words that minimize your accomplishments or confidence. These include words and phrases like "just," "I feel like," "actually," "only," and "might."

When you're brainstorming about how to ask for a raise, focus on work-based rather than personal reasons. Stress the value you bring to the company rather than mention increased living costs or unexpected personal expenses.

Don't give your manager reasons to reject your raise. Avoid referring to things like tight budgets within the company, the weakness of the current economy, or other potential financial issues before asking for the raise you want.

true Will I get fired if I ask for a raise?

Payscale reports that 4% of employees surveyed don't ask for a raise because they don't want to get fired. However, most businesses do not fire people for requesting a pay raise. Managers expect their employees to ask for salary increases. In most cases, the worst response you will get is a simple "no."

If your company does fire you for asking for a raise, you likely had no real future or potential for growth in that company anyway. Companies that treat their employees well and have good business practices do not fire people for salary raise requests.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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