how to ask for a pay raise

Boosting Your Salary: How to Ask for a Pay Raise

Asking for a pay raise at work can be nerve-wracking. You don’t want to make yourself look bad in the eyes of your boss, but, it’s hard to stay in a job you feel is not paying you enough. Depending on how long you have been at your job without a raise, and on the relationship that you have with your boss, it may be a good idea for you to ask them directly.

Going into the conversation adequately prepared can help you have a serious and direct conversation. The following are a few simple tips that will increase the chances you’ll get a raise.

Asking Your Boss for a Pay Raise

A pay raise should be a regular part of your job. Raises and promotions should occur regularly as you grow and expand your responsibilities. However, raises are not automatic.

If you want to continue to earn more for the work that you do, you have to make an effort. You have to push for recognition of the hard work that you do in order to get paid for it.

Determine What You Want

Before you walk into a conversation with your boss about your compensation, you should figure out what you want to ask for. If you’re asking for a straight pay raise, you should ask other people in your field what a normal raise looks like for them. Doing some basic market research using online tools like LinkedIn’s Salary Insights can also help.

You should also keep in mind that you can ask for alternative forms of compensation. You can ask for an increase in vacation time, changes in your benefits package, or anything else that your employer provides to you.

You should also check your employee manual to see if there are any guidelines on raises. Some companies only give raises and promotions at certain times, while others cap the maximum that you are able to get in certain positions.

Justify Your Raise

Now that you know what you want, you’ll have to put together your argument as to why you deserve it. You should make a list of all of the things that you’ve accomplished for the company over the recent past, as well as any additional duties that you have taken on outside of the scope of your job description.

If you have any data or figures that can back up what you’re saying, like an increase in sales or a particularly valuable client that you’ve landed, be sure to include those as well.

Set a Meeting and Negotiate

In order to properly ask for a raise from your boss, you’ll want to make sure that you bring it up at an appropriate time. Bringing up a potential raise in a casual conversation is going to surprise your boss and leave them with a bad impression.

Instead, you’ll want to lay out what you want, why you deserve it and be ready to negotiate to a different figure if they prove to be initially resistant. Don’t set this meeting right away, however. Instead, wait until the company is doing well: avoid talking about pay increases if there have been layoffs, budget cuts, or large projects have been canceled.

Be aware that your boss may tell you that a raise is not possible for a reason outside of their control. If this is the case, ask what your options are, or if there is anything you can or should do to secure higher compensation.

You should also avoid setting ultimatums, like saying that you’re going to quit or that you have an offer at another firm at a higher rate. Knowing that you’re actively looking for another job can cause an employer to slowly start phasing you out. It can also create bad blood between you and your boss, which can affect your ability to get a good reference later on.

The worst-case scenario is your employer calling your bluff and firing you. If you do have a job lined up, this may not be the end of the world, but you’re still robbed of making a choice yourself. If you don’t have a job lined up, this can result in a great deal of financial distress and a panicked job search – which may land you at a lower rate of pay than before.

Dealing with Rejection

If your request for a pay raise was rejected, don’t stop pushing. Hopefully, your boss has outlined the steps that you need to take to secure a raise. However, if the company is suffering financially, or if your boss dismissed your request without letting you make your case, it may be time to look elsewhere.

Changing jobs can come with a pay raise, even if your title or job description doesn’t change. In 2017, full-time employees who changed their employer saw a 5.2 percent increase in pay, compared to a 4.3 average increase for those who stayed in the same place.

Get More Inside Information to Accelerate Your Professional Career

The above tips are a great guideline to use when asking for a pay raise, but remember that every job is different. Working at a non-profit or a startup comes with a lower salary and fewer raises, whereas larger companies tend to have set procedures in place for pay raises.

If you want even more information about how to develop professionally, consider signing up for our paid newsletter. We can offer tips and strategies that can help you get promoted faster than your peers and earn what you really deserve.

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