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How Can I Ask for a Pay Increase?

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Pay increase meeting

Times are tough.  The Covid-19 viral pandemic affected global economies beyond anything that the world has ever experienced in nearly a century.  In fact, the prolonged nature of the health pandemic has far-reaching repercussions to the global economy.  The resurgence of infectious cases, new variants, and the disruptions of labor markets are putting pressure on personal savings.  For that reason, organizations should reconsider what they pay their employees.

However, companies were also not spared by the pandemic.  In fact, some businesses had to temporarily close their premises during the pandemic while others laid off their staff to stay afloat.  With these challenges, an employee is left wondering whether to find a new, higher-paying job or simply ask for raise.

You have no choice but to ask for a salary increment if you love your current job and are happy to work for your present employer.  So then, how do you ask for a raise if you’re dissatisfied with your present pay and you believe that you should be paid more?

The following tips will help you to ask for a salary increment.

Tips for Asking for a Pay Rise

Some employees like their employers and believe there is growth potential, yet they want to earn a higher salary because of their role in the company.  However, they find it a challenge to face their bosses and tell them that they are dissatisfied with their pay.  In fact, they are torn between finding a new job with better pay and asking for a raise.

They may ask whether their bosses know that they are dissatisfied with their current pay and what they’re planning to do about it.  In some instances, bosses have identified hardworking and loyal employees, but they don’t know that they’re dissatisfied with their pay until they speak up.

On the other hand, some bosses ignore such issues because they think the once-a-year across-the-board pay raises in addition to profit-sharing checks or occasional bonuses that they throw in once in a while are enough.

However, asking for a pay rise is the best way to tell your boss that your contribution to the company is worth far beyond the usual annual pay increase they give you.

The following tips can help you prepare for a salary increment conversation with your boss.

Choose an Appropriate Time to Ask

The majority of employees want a raise.  Actually, only 19% of workers are comfortable with the pay they’re getting.  However, asking for that deserved salary increment needs some planning.  The following factors can help you determine the right time to ask for a raise.

The Financial Health of the Company: Look for signs that the company is doing well.  Warning signs like layoffs and cutbacks show that the company is not doing well financially.  You can do company and industry research online as well as look at financial reports.  Even when your company is doing well, such information will help you when negotiating for a salary increment.

Manager’s Workload: Don’t ask for a raise when your boss has a lot to focus on or is under a lot of pressure or stress.  In fact, pay attention to your boss’s mood and look for ways to help your supervisor mention the conversation about increasing your compensation to increase your chances of getting the deserved salary increment.

The Time of the Year to Ask for Pay Raise: You can’t ask for a pay rise at just any time of the year.  Such conversations are likely to succeed during quarterly or annual reviews.  Therefore wait until such time, and your employer will be ready to discuss your compensation.  Additionally, the end of the fiscal year is when organizations prepare their budgets and report taxes.  That’s when employers decide to hire and give pay and bonuses.  So make a note of such opportunities and plan to have a conversation with your manager.

Completion of a Major Project or Task: An opportunity to talk to your manager when they’re less stressed may not easily come by even if the company is doing and it’s the end of the fiscal year.  However, you can initiate the pay raise conversation if you have recently either exceeded a critical goal or reached an impressive milestone.  You can document all the details of these accomplishments and refer to them in your conversation about a salary increment.  Reminding your manager about your outstanding achievements can enrich the discussion.  However, it’s important to know that you’re just bringing them up to date because they’re already aware of it.

Determine the Percentage of Salary Increase You’re Seeking

You need to ask yourself how much pay rise you want before meeting your boss.  Each job has a market value and is shown within a specific range.  You can find the value of your job title by researching the internet.  This will give you the national and state average as well as the trend.

Additionally, you will find the necessary experience, education level, and other factors that influence the salary of your job title.  The information helps you to understand the monetary value of your job title.

The following are the next steps that you should take before heading to your boss’ office.

Market Trend: Compare what you’re currently earning with the market trend.  Your salary increment will depend on where you fall on the range.

Qualifications: Your years of experience, education level, specialized skills and attributes, and the duration you have been with the current employer.  These factors enhance your ability to do your duties, and your employer will consider them when determining your compensation.

Accomplishments: Consider the value you have added to the organization.  Enumerate your achievements and use numbers to illustrate them.  For instance, you can state that you designed an app that resulted in a 27% year-on-year increase in revenue.

State Your Percentage Increase You’re Seeking: Most employers consider 3% a generous pay rise.  However, you can ask for more if you think your present pay is significantly below the market trend.  It’s important to understand that third-party sites give approximated salary figures because wage ranges vary from one state to the other.  So use them to get an idea of what the market is offering.  You can also ask your HR to give you the actual salary figures.

Book a Meeting

A face-to-face meeting is the best method of asking for a pay raise.  So set an appointment with your boss and carry the supporting documents to the office.  However, you can have this conversation virtually if you’re working remotely or not in the same location.

Always set an appointment first so that you can have a closed-door meeting with your boss.  In other words, avoid discussing your pay raise in workplace common areas like the hallway or kitchen.  More so, don’t discuss salary increment on email.

Take advantage of the upcoming performance review meeting.  If not, put a meeting on the calendar two weeks or more in advance and tell your manager that you intend to discuss compensation in that meeting.

Further, it’s important to approach the discussion with the same level of seriousness you had during the job interview.  That means you should dress appropriately or slightly more formally in the event that the appointment falls on a day that the company has a relaxed dress code.  This appearance tells your manager that you understand the importance of this conversation.

Prepare Your Script

What will you tell your manager now that you have set an appointment?  The above preparations show that you intend to have a formal conversation with your boss the same way you did when joining the company.

The following tips can help your prepare for this appointment.

Practice: Feelings of anxiety and fear are natural, especially when discussing this topic.  However, writing your speech down and rehearsing it can help you manage nervousness and not forget any important point that you need to use to defend your request for salary increment.  It’s crucial to drive this discussion using a professional approach rather than a personal one.  For instance, you can mention the market trend, your qualifications, experience, and accomplishments instead of the increase of responsibility because you got married, a second child, moved to a bigger house, etc

Craft a Nice Introduction: Begin the conversation by stating why you asked for this meeting.  For instance, you can thank the boss for accepting to meet you.  Tell him how you’re working towards meeting key company goals and growing your personal responsibilities.  As a result, you’re here to discuss a pay rise.

Support Your Decision with Specifics: Once your manager is open to having this conversation, follow it up with specifics.  You can begin by starting the salary figure you’re seeking, tell him how you arrived at that, and provide examples of your work to justify the pay rise.  Give a metric for each accomplishment that makes your work valuable.  For instance, state that you have consistently exceeded the sales quota by 145% of your quarterly goal.

Avoid these Words in Your Pitch: Avoid using words such as I feel, believe, think, might, only, or just.  Putting these words in your speech shows that you’re unsure or confident of what you’re saying.  Instead, go for that meeting convinced that you deserve a pay raise and use strong words to communicate because they leave little room for your boss to negotiate with you.  Remember, if you’re uncertain about your salary increment, your boss will also be skeptical.

Anticipate Questions

Your boss will most likely give your request careful consideration if you ask for a pay rise at a good time and you have supporting evidence.  But even with that, expect some follow-up questions about your salary research or recent accomplishments

Your boss will also try to negotiate, and it’s important to listen carefully to how the boss responds to your request for a pay rise.  You can keep your script open so that it can remind you about the evidence you used to justify your pay rise and refer to them when responding to questions from your boss.

The manager may thank you for your contribution but state that the pay increment you have requested may not be possible at that time of the year.  However, you can ask your manager to tell you why that percentage increment is not possible at that moment.

Although you should expect some rejection when you ask for a pay rise, it’s important to know his reasons for the refusal.  So ask your boss some questions to help you understand his side.

  • You can ask him if there are certain skills and accomplishments that you must have before getting an increase.
  • Ask whether he is satisfied with your overall performance.
  • Enquire if you could have this conversation sometime in the near future.

Based on his response, you can accept negotiating the amount of increment you had asked earlier.  In other words, you should be ready and willing to accept a lower amount if you’re met with a lot of resistance.  Alternatively, you can ask for another form of compensation if a pay rise is not possible at all.  This includes flexible hours or vacation time.

End the Meeting by Thanking Your Boss

Thank your boss for his time, even if you didn’t achieve what you were looking for.  In fact, you should send him a follow-up email that restates why you asked for a salary increment and provide a summary of your conversation.

In some instances, your manager might not be the ultimate decision-maker about the pay rise, so your email will help him have a conversation with the appropriate person on your behalf.  Further, your email can serve as evidence of your discussion when your request is rejected, and you can use it as a reference at a later date.

Asking for a pay rise was one of the solutions you had at the beginning of this journey.  Looking for a new job was the second option that you may consider at this point if you feel that you’re not fairly compensated or you’re not making any progress with your employer at the moment.

Therefore, you can research how competitors are paying their employers and apply if there is a vacancy there.  You can also explore top-rated employers in terms of compensation, benefits, career advancement, job security, and much more.

Kossi Adzo is the editor and author of He is software engineer. Innovation, Businesses and companies are his passion. He filled several patents in IT & Communication technologies. He manages the technical operations at

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