How to Ask for a Raise at Work (With Examples)
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- Prepare your case and determine what value you bring ahead of time.
- Rehearse your raise request and get feedback from others before the actual meeting.
- Schedule a meeting to request a raise at a good time to boost your chance of approval.
- In the meeting, show confidence, use data, and be specific.
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:
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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:
- After an excellent performance review
- When you complete a major project
- When you take on new responsibilities
- After a good financial quarter for the company
- When a year or more has passed since your last raise
- If you receive a job offer from another company
- When your boss is in a good mood
Carolyn Riggins, founder of CDR Consulting, suggests asking yourself the following questions before contacting your manager:
- When was the last time you received a raise in salary?
- How has your job performance merited a raise in salary?
- How has your success at work contributed to the organization's revenue growth?
- Why do you believe that you need a salary raise at this time?
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:
— 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:
If you helped the company surpass goals set:
During your meeting, focus on how you have contributed to the company. Use numbers and data when possible.
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
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.
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.
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.