The Raise (and How to Get One)

It’s the one thing most people want, and think they deserve, but never ask for: a raise. Even when they possess the business skills to deserve one, most American workers have balked at asking for an increase in salary. In fact, according to a 2015 US News and World Report article, “How to Ask for a Raise – and Actually Get It” nearly 60 percent of Americans don’t ask for more money. In a 2015 PayScale.com poll, 38 percent of those polled said they received a raise before they asked for one. 28 percent replied that they were uncomfortable asking for one. 19 percent said they didn’t want to ask for one because they didn’t want to come off as “pushy.”

If you’re not part of that 38 percent who received a raise before they asked for one, it’s time to start thinking about asking for what you want—but you don’t need to be uncomfortable or pushy to achieve success. Here are five things to keep in mind when asking for a raise in pay.

Top 5 Ways to Get a Raise at Work

1. Timing is everything.

Ultimately, experts agree that the very best time to ask for more money is when you are negotiating a job offer—this is when the company is most interested in working with you to entice you to come aboard.

But let’s say that you’ve been at your job for at least a year, and you’re thinking of asking for a salary increase. Take a look around you—have there been layoffs in your department lately? Make sure the “climate” in your company is a positive one before you ask for a raise.  It also helps to be happy in your job and doing your best work, rather than asking for a raise as a way to make yourself feel better about a bad work situation. When your employer is seeing positive results, and the company seems financially stable, he or she may be in a better position to provide what you’re asking for.

It also helps to be happy in your job and doing your best work, rather than asking for a raise as a way to make yourself feel better about a bad work situation. When your employer is seeing positive results, and the company seems financially stable, he or she may be in a better position to provide what you’re asking for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. Do your homework.

If you’re going to ask for more money, you need to know what others in your field, with your level of experience and expertise, command in today’s job market. Websites that list general salary information such as glassdoor.com are a good place to start, but they aren’t always up-to-date. Instead of relying on them, make a few phone calls to colleagues and friends in your field with similar job descriptions. While most people will balk at disclosing their salary outright, you can try asking them, “Does a salary of around $X sound about right for a role like this, or does that seem too high or too low?” Also, if you belong to a professional organization or guild, they can often provide you with salary guidelines in your area. What you need to know is how high is too high, and what is a reasonable amount to ask for.

While most people will balk at disclosing their salary outright, you can try asking them, “Does a salary of around $X sound about right for a role like this, or does that seem too high or too low?” Also, if you belong to a professional organization or guild, they can often provide you with salary guidelines in your area. What you need to know is how high is too high, and what is a reasonable amount to ask for.

3. Go in with a game plan.

Now that you’ve thought it through, come up with an amount you feel is reasonable and fair—and be prepared to justify it. Make a list of all the positive contributions you’ve made to your department or team since you came aboard, including cost-trimming measures you’ve taken, positive workflow changes you’ve made that have saved time and money, and any solid positive feedback you’ve received from colleagues and clients.  You might want to believe that your employer knows all this already, but the truth is, they may not know—or they may have forgotten. Talking them through your contributions and achievements is not bragging in this case. You are simply detailing the concrete value you’ve brought to the team as an explanation of why you should get a raise. To get started, read

You might want to believe that your employer knows all this already, but the truth is, they may not know—or they may have forgotten. Talking them through your contributions and achievements is not bragging in this case. You are simply detailing the concrete value you’ve brought to the team as an explanation of why you should get a raise. To get started, read US News and World Report’s great checklist, “7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Asking for a Raise”.

relaxing24. It’s not all about money.

Keep in mind that in today’s working world, a bump in compensation can be more than just extra money in your paycheck. More paid time off per year, as well as the possibility of flex time, working from home, higher retirement contributions, transportation allowances, and other benefits are possibly negotiable forms of compensation your company may consider more favorably than a dollar amount, especially if you suggest them. For more information on alternatives to asking for a monetary raise, check out

For more information on alternatives to asking for a monetary raise, check out Forbes’ article, “10 Things To Ask Your Boss For Instead Of A Raise”.

5. Choose your words carefully—and then choose silence.

Walking in and saying you deserve a raise because you’ve worked hard won’t wash—you’ll need to be persuasive. Instead, do some homework and come up with concrete examples of what you’ve done that make you worth considering for a raise. Keep your discussion emotion-free, calm, and positive. Some experts suggest posing your request as a question, such as: “And because I’ve achieved all this, a 5 percent pay increase would be appropriate, wouldn’t you agree?”

You could also approach the situation with a strong yet polite statement: “I created this specific protocol that was responsible for this improvement in the department’s performance this year, and I am receiving positive results on this project, which will help reach our goals next year. Therefore, I believe a salary increase to $X is appropriate.” It’s also important to know when to stop talking. Once you’ve laid down your facts, sit quietly and wait for a response.

Assessing Your Business Skills

Asking for a raise means taking the time to assess what talents and skills you provide your employer. If you’re looking to learn a new skill, or you’re considering moving toward the next step in your current career or even a brand new career path, KnowledgeCity can help. We have over 9,000 video tutorials in Business, Computer Software, and Safety Compliance. If you’re looking to start your own business, complete our Small Business Management and Management Essentials courses. Try it free.