E Career Strategy Library E Planning Your Career E When and How to Ask for a Raise

When and How to Ask for a Raise

When and How to Ask for a Raise from your Employer

Raise is an integral part of every career journey since it serves as a financial boost and an indication that your work is valued. You might be at a juncture in your career where you feel like a raise is due. Unfortunately, according to a study, only 37% of employees ask for a raise. This hesitation in asking may be due to fear or discomfort in making the request.

In fact, many employees choose to move on from the job in search of better pay rather than asking for a raise. And while there are good reasons you might want to switch jobs, this isn’t one. It might be better for you to assess the possibility of getting a raise at your current job, as it may align better with your long-term career goals.

Types of Raises

The percentage of raises you are entitled to varies significantly based on the type of raise you are requesting. It also dictates the best time to put in the request and the steps involved. Therefore, you’ll first need to identify the type of raise that matches your needs. Here are the most common types to consider:

1) Annual Raise or Merit Increase: This type of increment comes about once a year when the company carries out appraisal procedures. Most employees would be considered for appraisals, but those who have displayed exemplary performance are generally given a higher priority. 

2) Cost-of-living Adjustment or Inflation-related raise: This is where your salary or benefits are modified and increased to match the current cost of living in your area and the inflation rate. 

3) Promotional Increment: Generally, any promotion or even an improvement in the job role should come alongside a raise. In case it doesn’t, you may ask for one.

4) Retention: In certain situations, raises are given to ensure that employees do not feel discontent and move on from the company. On rare occasions, some employees are also offered a raise to prevent a resignation.

While raises are often expected without request in these cases, you might need to make a request in some circumstances. This may be because you weren’t offered a raise or the raise you received was not satisfactory. Based on your situation, you can narrow down the categories you’d fall into and identify the appropriate time to ask for a raise.

When to ask for a raise

Asking for a raise at the wrong time could lead to a negative outcome. For example, if you have only been on the job for six months, it may not be the best time to ask for a raise. You may also want to pay heed to other factors such as the appraisal season in your company, the general progress the company is making, and so on. This list comprises some of the best opportunities to make your request:

1) When you’re being underpaid

Being underpaid does not mean that you are valued less than others. Your pay depends not only on your skills, but also on the level of experience you had at the time of hiring, the company’s financial conditions, and the initial work duties assigned to your role. That said, if you’ve discovered that you’re being underpaid, you can request a raise.

2) When you take on more responsibility or have just been promoted

When you are employed, your work function is often well defined. Over time, you maybe entrusted with additional responsibilities that are related to your newly acquired skills. Being given these new tasks and responsibilities shows that you have maintained a great track record at work, convincing your employer to expand your role beyond its initial scope.

These responsibilities may also come with a promotion which usually garners a raise. However, you may have to explicitly ask for one in some cases. In either scenario, you would want to check if the skills you’ve learned are adding value to the company. If they do, these skills can be used to lobby for a raise. 

3) When you’ve worked in the role for a long time without a raise

If you’ve been in the same role for years and have not been offered a raise, it’s time to ask for one. You could also make use of your yearly work anniversary as an opportunity to bring up this discussion. It is a great milestone that marks your consistent effort.  Another good opportunity is the time of your yearly performance review. If you’ve been putting in consistent effort, your manager will undoubtedly notice and recognize it at the performance review. Therefore, you won’t have to work too hard to prove that you deserve a raise. 

4) When the company is doing well

Success in the company is a milestone that is frequently overlooked. This could be the successful completion of a major project, the onboarding of new clients, a new round of funding, or gains in profit. There is one caveat, though. You can only make use of this opportunity if you have contributed in some way. 

5) When you’ve added irrefutable value to the company

If you’ve worked on a mission-critical project or solved a problem that no one else could, your contributions may have been noticed by your colleagues and your manager. This situation puts you in a position where the company can clearly see your value and makes a strong case for itself. When you’re recognized for the work, you could mention your intention to ask for a raise. 

6) If you possess critical skills

Say you work in a high-demand job role, where the average market salary is steadily rising or there is currently a skill shortage. In such a case, replacing you would likely cost your company money. Consequently, they would be more likely to give you a raise. Another instance where this would come into play is if you are a key player in revenue generation or working on the company’s Intellectual Property.  

7) When you receive a competing offer from another company

You’ve recently received an offer letter with a huge bump in salary. But if the company you’re currently with is more aligned with your career goals, you may want to stick around. In this situation, you can inform your manager that you have received a better offer from another company. You can mention that despite a better package, you would prefer to stay with the company as you are now deeply invested in its growth. This gives your manager the necessary leverage and proof of value to request a raise on your behalf.

How to ask for a raise

Asking for a raise requires making an informed request that resonates with the employer. So, it may not be as easy as writing an email. The process should involve researching the general payscale, quantifying your achievements, finding the best opportunity to put in your request, and presenting a solid case to your manager. Though it may seem complex, you can get through this process effectively by following the guidelines mentioned below: 

1) Research the job and average salary

Before you ask for a raise, it is vital to get an understanding of the market rates for your job role.  Research the average salary of people in comparable positions with the same experience. Keep in mind that pay scales vary broadly based on the geographical location and experience level.

You can go a step further from Google Search and head to the ‘Salaries’ section on websites like Glassdoor, Salary.com, and PayScale to get a fair idea of the pay. O Then, take into account factors such as your experience, skills, and qualifications. These could drastically change your pay range. You could reach out to friends or recruiters you know, to narrow your calculations.  

2) Deciding on the percentage of raise to ask for

The average annual raise in most companies is anywhere between 3% to 5%. When asking for a raise, you will need to estimate the appropriate percentage based on the data you’ve collected. To put it simply, you would need to be able to provide a clear justification for your request to be considered. For example, if you feel like your raise or salary does not keep up with inflation, you can ask for a raise that matches the inflation rate. If your pay is 20% to 30% less than the industry standard, then asking for a 25% increment would be justified. 

3) Make a great case for yourself

When asking for a raise, you are essentially trying to convey that the value you bring to the job and the company is worth more. The market data and average pay rates are just some of the many aspects you need to consider when creating a pitch for a better salary. Here’s what you could include in your pitch.

  • Demonstrate the wage gap using the data collected
  • Include significant contributions you made to the company
  • Highlight key achievements  and any up-skilling that you may have done
  • Bring to attention additional job roles you’ve taken up

If you’ve previously engaged in salary negotiations, you could draw from that experience to negotiate for better pay. Once you get the information you need, structure your pitch in a clear and concise manner. Try to keep your narrative between three to five sentences and make sure no significant detail is missed.

4) How to put forward your request

Once you’ve carried out your research and identified the optimal time to make your request, you will need to present your request to your manager. Start by writing an email to your manager to set up a meeting for a discussion. A meeting works best since this gives you the opportunity to convince your manager by appealing to their emotion.

You’d want to ensure that you express your request effectively in the meeting. Since confidence is crucial in this conversation. We recommend practicing with a friend or a career counselor. This will allow you to be better prepared and build up the confidence necessary for the meeting. When in the meeting, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Ensure you stay calm and collected
  • Do not sound pushy
  • Do not give ultimatums as this could reflect poorly on you
  • Be confident as you’re only asking for what you deserve

How To Ask For A Raise: Example

I have really enjoyed working with the team here for the last <number of years> years.

 

Over this time, I have picked up several valuable skills such as <skill 1, skill 2, and skill three>. This allowed me to be instrumental in achieving <results> in some of our key projects. I was also able to accomplish all of the KPIs that were initially set for this role and drive the company’s success by <show role in company’s growth>.

 

While I appreciate the opportunities given to me and your faith in my abilities, I would like to talk about adjusting my compensation at this juncture. 

 

Based on a quick look at the average pay in this field, added responsibilities, and my active contribution to the company. I believe a raise of 10% would be ideal. That said, I do understand that this is a tough decision and would require quite a bit of thought, so I am open to discussing this further. 

 

Would you mind sharing your initial thoughts with me?

Best practices when asking for a raise

1) Offer alternatives

Since giving out a raise is a critical decision, make sure you provide your employer with a few alternative perks they could provide or changes in your role. You could ask for more paid time off, a shift to more “work-from-home” time, or a reduction in job roles. Apart from suggesting alternatives, you may also want to get an understanding of when a raise would be on the cards. Ask your manager what it would take to get a raise, set measurable and achievable goals, and work towards it.

2) Do not threaten to walk out

Sometimes employees make the mistake of giving employers an ultimatum by telling them that they would move on from the role if not provided with a raise. This reflects poorly on you as an employee as it shows that you lack a commitment to the job or company and that money is your primary priority. Not only could this dissuade the employer from giving you a raise, but it could also hinder future opportunities with the company.

3) Always set the scene

Since this is a sensitive topic, ensure that you do not catch your manager off-guard. Let them know via email or verbally that you will need to discuss a raise. It gives the manager some time to prepare for the conversation, which could ultimately lead to a more fruitful discussion.

4) Do not ask for a raise when the company isn’t doing well

While the company’s performance as a whole may not be entirely dependent on your performance, it does play a role in the decision to provide raises. If the company is going through a rough patch, your employer may be limited in their ability to provide raises. This could be due to a constraint in the budget or simply due to the stress the company is going through.

Frequently asked questions about requesting a raise

1) How often can you ask for a raise?

In most cases, we do not recommend asking for a raise more than once a year. The only exemption is if you have had an agreement with your employer that they would review your performance and consider a raise after a certain period (four to six months).

2) Whom to ask for a raise?

Ideally, the first person to reach out to is your immediate supervisor. Your supervisor or manager may then direct you to an HR representative who might be better poised to assist you with this.

3) How can you work towards a raise?

If you have just joined a company or have recently gone through a review in performance, you can sit down with your manager and create a set of SMART goals  (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based).

4) What are some ‘don’ts’ when asking for a raise?

While there are no hard and fast rules, there are a few situations you may want to avoid. For example, you may want to avoid asking for a raise via email, putting in a request at a high-stress time, giving an ultimatum, or comparing your salary with your colleagues.

Once your request for a raise has been heard, your manager or HR may come back with an alternate offer. The alternative could be a change in percentage or a promise of a raise at a later date.

What to do if your request for a raise is rejected?

Once you put your case forward, your manager may want to discuss the specifics further. They may also say they require some time to think it through or send the request to the higher-ups. This is a good sign as it means you have been able to elucidate that a raise is due.

More often than not, a request for a raise is met with a positive outcome. It has been seen that among those who ask for a raise, 70% of employees receive the raise. However, outcomes vary from company to company.  In case the outcome is unfavorable, remind yourself that it is not a direct reflection of your value. It may be owed to the company’s budget or a change in the company structure.

In rare cases, it is possible that you may not be given the raise you deserve despite your best efforts. In these instances, you may have to look at a change in your employment status. You can look into getting an internal transfer within your company but to a different division. You can even consider looking for job opportunities elsewhere. A new job can come with several benefits, including a significant bump in your salary.

 

If you’re unsure of which path to take and want clarity on what would be the best option for you and your career, you can always talk to our experts. However, it is crucial to be mindful of the fact that a raise is not just an upgrade to your financial status but also a sign of progress in your career. That is why highly recommend requesting a raise before making a critical decision.

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