How to Ask for a Raise From your Employer in 6 Easy Steps 2021 Update

Filed in Education by on February 6, 2022

How to Ask: Requesting more money from an employer isn’t easy, even when you know you deserve it. If you knocked it out of the park over the past year, took on more responsibilities, or received a stellar performance review, it’s smart to talk to your manager about a pay increase. 

How to Ask for a Raise From your Employer

As a Professional Researcher, I can help you find a new job. But if what you want is more money at the job you have and you’re not sure how to start the conversation, your best bet may be to articulate your request in a letter asking for a raise.

I will show you some highlights of what you could write in an email or handwritten letter and offer tips to help you develop confidence about the message you want to send. This article is meant to enlighten you on how to ask without being absurd or over naive.

Below is a step-by-step guide to asking for a raise.

1. Choose The Right Time To Ask

It’s not uncommon to want a raise. In fact, in a recent survey, only 19% of people were comfortable with their rate of pay. However, when you do ask for a raise, you need to carefully choose your timing. Ask yourself these questions as you’re identifying the right time to ask for a raise:

How is the financial health of the company?

If the company is not doing well, this is not the time to ask for a raise. As an employee, you may be aware of the company’s financial health.

You should look for warning signs, such as cutbacks in spending or layoffs. Check the news for stories about your employer or industry. Do company research and look at financial reports.

Even if the financial health of the company is good, this research will be useful to you when you talk to your manager.

How is your manager’s workload?

If you know that your manager is under a lot of stress or focused on too many things right now, it may not be the time to ask for a raise. Paying attention to your manager’s moods and identifying how to help them demonstrates a level of maturity that will be useful to mention in your conversation about compensation.

When is the best time of year to ask for a raise?

In many businesses, there are times when it is natural or convenient to talk about pay. Some employers may conduct annual or quarterly reviews with employees. If you have one coming up, your employer might already expect to discuss your compensation.

The end of the fiscal year could be another option. A fiscal year is a 12-month period that companies use for budgeting and tax reporting purposes. At the close of that period (the end of January is common), employers are likely to make hiring and compensation plans for the next year.

If you see that one of these opportunities is coming up, make note of it on your calendar. This will give you a headstart on planning for the conversation with your manager.

Have you completed a significant task or project?

If the company is doing well and your manager isn’t too stressed, but a convenient time to ask for a raise isn’t coming up, reflect on your recent accomplishments. Have you just reached an impressive milestone or exceeded an important goal? This could be a good time to ask for a raise.

Be sure to document the details of the specific accomplishment(s) you’ll reference in your conversation about a raise. Even though your manager may be aware of your work broadly, they may not be up to date on precisely how impressive it was.

2. Get Salary Trends

At this stage, you may be asking yourself how much of a raise to ask for.

Every job has a market value. This value is usually within a certain range. To learn the salary range for your job, visit website calculators, and enter your job title. This salary information comes from over 450 million data points.

You’ll be able to see the national salary trend for your job title. You can then choose the state or metro area where you work to get a pay rate that’s appropriate for your city.

On each salary trend page, you’ll see a figure that is “most reported” (see note below). Your education, experience, and other factors will influence how your pay rate compares to that figure.

By learning about the trend for your job title and your city, you will have a foundation for understanding the monetary value of your work. From there, take the following steps:

  • Compare what you’re currently being paid to the trends you find. Where you fall within that range may affect the increase in pay that you ask for.

  • Consider your education, years of experience, years you’ve worked for your current employer, and any specialized skills or attributes you bring to the table. These all add value by increasing your ability to perform the job. Ideally, your employer would take them into account when determining your compensation.

  • Make a list of your accomplishments, taking note of which ones added the most value to the organization. When possible, use numbers to illustrate an accomplishment. For example: “Launched a rebranded company website, which resulted in 20% month over month increase in site visits last quarter.”

  • Identify a salary range or percentage increase in pay that you’d be happy with. Note that 3% is considered an average or even generous pay increase. That shouldn’t necessarily deter you from asking for more if you believe your current pay is significantly out of alignment with what you could earn, but it can give you an idea of where to start.

Note: All salary figures are approximations based upon third party submissions to Indeed. These figures are given to the Indeed users for generalized comparison only. The minimum wage may differ by jurisdiction, and you should consult the employer for actual salary figures.

3. Set a Meeting

It’s ideal to ask for a raise in person and in private. If you’re not in the same location as your manager, have the conversation over a video call, if possible.

Do not ask for a raise without setting an appointment on the calendar first. The best setting is a room with a closed door. Don’t discuss it in workplace common areas, such as a kitchen or hallway. If you can avoid it, don’t ask for a raise in an email.

If you have a performance review coming up, you may not need to expressly invite your manager to a meeting since that review may already be on the calendar. If you’re not asking for a raise during a performance review, you may want to put the meeting on the calendar at least two weeks in advance.

In either case, it’s good to let your manager know that you plan to discuss compensation in this meeting. Here are some lines you can use in the meeting description or an email.

  • “Would it be alright if we spent some time during my performance review discussing my compensation?”

  • “I’d like to set a short meeting to discuss my compensation. Please let me know if this time works for you.”

You should approach asking for a raise with the same level of seriousness you would have for a job interview or an important presentation, and you should dress accordingly. Even if your workplace has a relaxed dress code, consider dressing slightly more formally for this meeting. Your appearance can convey to your manager that you understand the significance of the conversation.

4. Prepare What to Say

Before your meeting, you should prepare what you’re going to say to get a raise. Below, we’ve listed some guidelines and an example script.

As you’re preparing, it may be helpful to recognize that feelings of fear and anxiety are natural when discussing money. Writing and practicing a script is one way to manage those feelings. If you rehearse it enough, you’ll be able to stick to it even when you’re nervous. Throughout your script, focus on the professional rather than personal reasons why you deserve this raise.

Prepare What to Say

Begin your conversation by clearly stating the purpose of the meeting. You may consider opening lines such as:

  • “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. In my current role, I’m excited to keep working towards key company goals and grow my responsibilities. As a result, I’d like to discuss my salary.”

  • “Thank you for taking this meeting. I’m excited to share some of my recent accomplishments with you and discuss my salary. Is now a good time for that?”

If your manager is open to the conversation from there, follow up with specifics: tell them the increase or salary figure you’d like, cite the research you’ve done to arrive at that number, and close with examples of your work that justify a raise. When you give an example of your work, include a metric that makes the value clear. Here are some examples of accomplishments backed up by metrics:

  • “Over the last few months, I planned and then executed our largest client event to date. Attendee feedback significantly surpassed last year’s event satisfaction scores, averaging an 8 out of 10. Lead generation is also up 10% since last year.”

  • “I’ve consistently exceeded my sales quota, most recently reaching 128% of my monthly goal.”

Here’s an example script for asking for a raise:

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. In my current role, I’m excited to keep working towards key company goals and grow my personal responsibilities. As a result, I’d like to discuss my salary.

Based on the research I’ve done, which includes looking at averages for my job title in this metro area and considers my tenure here, my years of experience and skill set, a salary increase of X% is appropriate.

In the time since my last salary adjustment, I’ve worked on several initiatives that have added significant value to the company. For instance, in the last few months, I [insert example your most impressive accomplishment]. These achievements have made me ready for a raise.

Does that sound fair?

Pro-tip: Throughout your pitch, avoid words that could undercut your position, such as belief, feel, think, just, only, might. These words can make it seem that you are not feeling confident or sure—and if you convey uncertainty, your manager may become uncertain, too.

Go into this conversation knowing that you deserve a raise and communicate your confidence with strong words that leave little room for negotiation.

5. Be Ready For Questions

If you’ve asked for a raise at a good time and given evidence that you deserve to be paid more, you should expect your manager to give your request careful consideration.

You can expect them to ask you follow-up questions, such as inquiring about the details of your recent accomplishments or the salary research you’ve done.

You can also expect there to be some negotiation. Listen carefully to how your manager responds to your request. If you feel intimidated at any point, return to your evidence to strengthen your case.

Ask your questions to understand where they’re coming from. Phrases such as “Can you tell me more about…” and “What I’m hearing…” can create space in the conversation for more understanding. Here’s an example of how a conversation may unfold:

Manager: Thank you for that overview. While I agree that you’ve contributed a great deal to the company, a raise of X% may not be possible at this time.

Employee: From my research, I’ve learned that X% is a reasonable increase and in line with what I’ve contributed. Can you tell me more about why that increase isn’t possible today?

Manager: That amount is not something I have in the budget right now but it’s something I could make a case for in the future.

Employee: That makes sense. What I’m hearing is that you agree that my receiving a raise is appropriate but maybe not right now. How can I help you make that case in the near future?

Of course, there is the possibility that you receive a rejection when you ask for a raise. In this case, you should learn more about why you are being rejected. Ask questions such as:

  • “Are there skills or accomplishments you’d like to see from me before increasing my compensation?”

  • “Are you satisfied with my performance overall?”

  • “Is there a better time for us to have this conversation shortly?”

It’s also normal at this stage to negotiate about the salary increase you initially suggested. You may need to ask for a lower amount if you are met by a lot of resistance.

If a raise doesn’t seem possible at this time, you may consider asking about other elements of your compensation, such as vacation time or flexible hours.

6. Thank Your Manager

Regardless of how the conversation went, end by thanking your manager for their time. Later that day or the next, send them a follow-up email that recaps your reasons for asking for a raise and includes a summary of the conversation you had.

If your manager needs to ask someone else about your raise, this email will make it easier for them to have a conversation on your behalf. If they reject your request for a raise, this email can serve as a record of the conversation. You may decide to request a raise again at a later date, and you can reference this email at that point.

Sample Template Of A Letter Asking For A Raise

Dear (Name),
As my X-year anniversary gets close, I would like to formally request a review of my salary for my work as a (job title). During my time at (name of company), I have taken on additional responsibilities and have achieved success in several areas. I’ve made a list of some of my accomplishments and responsibilities, which include the following:
• Taking the lead on …
• Meeting goals in …
• Improving efficiencies that led to a savings of $X for the company …
• Achieving success in …
• Adding to my (skill level or education as it relates to the job) …
Aside from my X skills in this role, I have also demonstrated excellent X abilities and proficiency with X. The staff can count on me for X.
I enjoy my work here and appreciate the support you and the team have shown me. Given the added value I have brought the company, I think it is fair to request a bump in pay.
Based on the research in the Robert Half Salary Guide, I’ve found that the midpoint salary (or median national salary) for this position is $X for my experience level. Considering regional variances, an X percent raise would put my compensation closer to those salary benchmarks.
Thank you for your consideration. I am willing to work with you to accommodate my request, taking into account what is best for the company. Please let me know if you are available for a short meeting.

If you feel you are not being compensated fairly and aren’t making progress with your current employer, it may be time to look for a new job. On CSN, you can research employers and see how they are rated for compensation/benefits and job security/advancement, among other factors.

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CSN Team.

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