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Ask for a Raise in 3 Easy Steps: Your Roadmap to More Money

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Annual reviews are the designated time each year when we receive performance evaluations and, if we’re lucky, a salary increase. These sessions offer valuable insights into how our managers perceive our work and what steps we can take to advance our careers. For many, annual reviews also present the perfect opportunity to address a question we often ponder in private: Is it time for a pay raise?

While it’s natural to be optimistic, the tension of the meeting can sometimes cause us to frame this critical question less effectively than we’d like.

Below are three essential steps to master this delicate conversation.

1. Do your research

The importance of this first step can’t be overstated: Familiarize yourself with your company’s salary practices and policies, as well as the timing of pay raises. This knowledge provides a specific timeframe during which you can accumulate evidence of your performance and take on additional responsibilities. Doing so equips you with compelling reasons to demonstrate why you deserve that extra income.

It’s crucial to research current salary trends in your industry. Websites such as Glassdoor and Payscale offer valuable insights into the market rate for your position, as well as projections for future increases. Armed with this data, you can enter your review with concrete evidence to support your request for a raise.

Be aware that if you’re already employed by a company that pays above the industry standard, this information may not bolster your case for a higher salary.

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2. Be straightforward with your manager

Without a doubt, merely listing your accomplishments and vaguely hinting that your current role is insufficient won’t give your manager actionable steps to address your concerns. In fact, this approach is likely to generate confusion rather than clarity.

It’s also best to keep emotions out of the discussion. If a salary increase is warranted, chances are both you and your manager have sensed it’s due. Therefore, there’s no need to resort to flattery, hesitant probing, or, worst of all, guilt-tripping. Stick to the facts and present a clear case for why you deserve the raise.

It’s advantageous to approach the conversation with a specific salary figure in mind. This provides your manager with a clear understanding of your expectations, eliminating ambiguity. When the decision is left to the discretion of your manager or the company, you risk receiving an offer that falls short of your expectations. What could have been a straightforward process may then devolve into protracted negotiations and discussions, an outcome that’s best avoided.

3. Substantiate your claims

The words are out. Your manager is no longer required to read minds. The question is: are they mentally reviewing all your accomplishments in a positive light?

Again, if this is something that’s been a while coming, chances are good that they are. But it’s your responsibility to bring them to the forefront of your manager’s mind nonetheless, as proof of why you’re worth the figure you’re quoting.

If you’ve diligently tracked when pay raises are typically offered, as suggested in the first step, you should have an impressive array of achievements to showcase your value to the company. While it’s crucial to link these accomplishments to the key performance indicators for which you were hired, it’s even more impactful if you can demonstrate how you’ve gone above and beyond by adding value to the company.

For instance, if you were hired to oversee a transition project, did you not only successfully execute it but also manage to reduce company costs in the process?

While your achievements may be crystal clear to you, it’s important to remember that your manager is often balancing multiple tasks and priorities and may not recall them as vividly. This is why it’s crucial to provide evidence of your contributions to the business, whether they can be measured quantitatively or qualitatively. Aim to see things from the perspective of the CEO—not just your manager. What accomplishments would stand out at that level, and what data can you present to back them up? Have you assumed additional responsibilities that benefit the company, going beyond what was initially expected of you?

Other Steps to Consider

  • Document Your Achievements: Keep a record of your contributions and achievements. A well-documented portfolio can serve as tangible evidence during salary negotiations.
  • Upskill: Investing in further training or courses can make you more valuable to your company. Skills that directly impact the business are often rewarded with a salary increase.
  • Research Industry Standards: Knowing what professionals in your position are earning elsewhere can provide leverage during negotiations. Use platforms like Glassdoor to gather information.
  • Take on More Responsibility: Volunteering for projects that are outside your regular duties can show initiative and make you a more valuable asset to the company.
  • Timing Matters: Choose the right time to ask for a raise, such as after successfully completing a big project or during annual reviews.
  • Network Internally: Building relationships within your company can give you allies who will vouch for your contributions when it’s time for a raise.
  • Quantify Your Value: Use data and metrics to showcase how your work has positively impacted the company. Numbers can make your case more compelling.
  • Practice Negotiation: Hone your negotiation skills beforehand. Being well-prepared can make the conversation about a salary increase more effective.
  • Consider Non-Monetary Benefits: If a salary increase isn’t possible, consider negotiating for other benefits like extra vacation days or flexible working hours.
  • Be Prepared to Walk Away: Knowing your worth and being willing to seek opportunities elsewhere can sometimes encourage your current employer to offer you the raise you deserve.


What contributions have you made that have advanced the company toward its objectives? Do you have documentation of your involvement, and has your manager seen it? If not, be prepared to share it, but only when asked; unsolicited boasting is generally not well-received.

It’s natural to feel apprehensive about asking for a salary increase, regardless of your circumstances. While it’s possible—and unfortunate—that your company may not be able to meet your salary expectations in some cases, it’s still worth making a well-prepared case for your value.

If your current employer can’t meet your salary expectations, remember that other companies may find your skills and experience worth investing in. Why not explore our job search section for new opportunities?

How to Raise Your Own Salary
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06/11/2024 08:56 pm GMT

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