How to Ask for a Raise at Work

IMG_1071The best way to deal with debt is to pay it off entirely. But in order to do so, maybe you need to tweak the incoming side of the spending equation — your income. In other words, maybe it’s time to make more money if possible.

But of course it isn’t that easy. Let’s say you’ve been advancing at your workplace for a stretch of time, but your efforts have not been acknowledged with an increase in pay. You feel that you have earned your way to a higher salary, but in order to get it, you’re going to have to ask. For many, the discomfort of asking for higher pay is enough to keep them at the same payscale for too long. Although asking for a raise can be intimidating, sometimes — as the old saying goes — the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In other words, you probably have more to gain than lose by simply asking.

Asking for a Raise

When the times comes to ask for a raise, keep in mind some basic points that will help you justify an increase in salary to your employer.

  • Do your research. Before charging into your boss’s office proclaiming your value to the company, look around at what others are getting paid in your industry and in your area. Tools like offer free salary reports that may help you determine what you are worth. Have solid, fact-based information with you at the time of your salary request to back up your view on why you deserve a raise.
  • Choose the right timing. Just because you’ve learned a former coworker earns much more at a different organization, doesn’t mean that it’s a good time for you to ask for a raise. Time your conversation around a successful endeavor or recent achievement.  Don’t wait for your performance review to ask for a raise. By that time, it is likely your employer has already agreed to a set amount to offer. Instead, be proactive — if you don’t ask, you won’t receive.
  • Ease in. Instead of starting out the conversation proclaiming your need for more pay, begin the conversation by discussing your work performance. Emphasize times when your work performance went above and beyond, and remind your boss of your recent achievements.
  • Be realistic. Look into pay practices of your organization. Talk to your HR department about pay increases to see what the previous trends have been in offering increases. Once established, consider the size of the organization and its resources when putting together a dollar amount.
  • Ask questions. If your boss denies your request, don’t stop there. Ask questions as to what your options are to earn higher pay. Inquire about specific tasks you can do to improve your performance.

Even if your first attempt at asking for higher pay is shot down, don’t get discouraged. At least now your employer is clear on your desire for higher pay, and although your company may not be able to accommodate your first request, organizational changes may make the increase in salary a viable option in the future.

Posted in Finance
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