How To Ask For A Raise

There are times we’re thoroughly satisfied with our jobs, with nary a care in the world. But those times are few and far between. What will make our everyday lives a little better? Pay. Some think of a better boss, some say more flexible working hours, others claim they rather be working from home, or have more time for family. But we can probably all agree on that one thing. How our firm values us.

These are some of the most important things you can do in securing a pay raise, without risking your job.

1. Be objective about it.

Your are responsible for your work, and your managers are responsible to the company. If you are asking for a raise on a whim and good feels, you’re only going to get as┬ámuch in return. What you need to do is objectify your worth to the company. Show it in these few ways:

1) Projects have you taken on and what do they do for the company’s revenue,

2) Your increased responsibilities as compared to your last raise, and

3) How much you have earned or saved for the company.

2. Ask at the right time.

“There is a time for everything.” And that includes asking for a raise. Don’t do it when people are swamped with work and projects. Do it two weeks after busy periods, so you give your boss a chance to settle down, and you hopefully have chunk of good work to show for!

Do it in the window of 1-2 months after taking on new roles, so you can prove your competency in handling them well, and objectively explain the reasons for your raise.

VERY IMPORTANTLY: do it in private.

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3. Compare it against another firm’s offer.

This is a dangerous method and should be deployed only if you feel you are severely undervalued (as compared to industry standards), AND are ready to leave your company.

Take the offer to your boss and explain that you like working at your current firm, asking of a raise with the objective reasons above. Then say that you value yourself reasonably in your request, because you have industry proof of your higher value (the job offer in your hand). Do it tactfully, or not at all. The lasts thing you want to do is threaten your boss before he writes your reference. This will affect your long term career prospects.

4. DO NOT compare against your peers and their responsibilities.

Like it or not, we live in a world with little corporate transparency. What this means for us is that our bosses will avoid talking about pay like the plague. It’s a taboo topic because it’s never going to be fair. If you use the knowledge of your co-workers pay against your bosses, all you’re likely to see is an awkward conversation and a less vibrant working relationship with your boss. No raise. No go. Mission abort, I repeat, mission abort.

A typical conversation regarding a raise should go like this

You: Sir/Ma’am, I’ve something I want to talk to you about.

Boss: What is it?

You: It’s regarding salary.

Boss (cynically): Yes…?

You: I just wanted to have a discussion with you about what I am doing to help the company earn/save/grow in handling new projects X, Y and Z.

Boss: Go on…

You: Well, since my salary was last determined, I’m doing _______ more for the company, and I feel that it’s only fair that given my increased contributions that I have a small raise of $_____. What do you think?

Boss: We’ll see about that. I have to speak with finance regarding this matter.

You: Okay thank you!

Remember bosses don’t like talking about pay, so as much as possible your goal is to make them feel like they’re having a conversation about your performance standards and not your salary! You should always use the word “small” because even if your raise request is a significant one, it helps with the psychology of bargaining! All the best in securing your next raise :)


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