Climb the Ladder

How to Approach a Raise

Bringing up the subject of money—specifically more money at work—can feel intimidating to most people. So when it comes to asking for raises, some are dissuaded by the idea altogether. However, asking for a raise at work shouldn’t feel like a burden to an employee who works hard and feels that they’re worth the salary increase. Also, according to an Indeed survey from 2018, only 19% of employees were happy with their salaries. Now that salary transparency has started to become a trending topic, there is hope for employees looking to earn more. In fact, New York City recently passed a bill requiring employers to give a minimum and maximum wage range in every job post.

What does this mean for you? Well, it may be time to ask for more money. If so, here are some tips on how to approach a raise.

Find the right time to ask

It’s crucial to introduce this topic to your supervisor at the right time. If your company does annual or quarterly reviews with you, this could be an ideal time to work the topic into conversation. On the other hand, if your company doesn’t have these types of meetings slated, create a timeline for yourself to follow and salary goals you’d like to hit. For instance, if you have only worked at a company for nine months, maybe your one-year mark is a good chance to ask for a raise. Additionally, it’s common to ask at the end of the company’s fiscal year.

Follow salary trends

Think about why you’re asking for a raise in the first place. Have you looked up the salary range for your job in your city? Have you chatted with friends or coworkers about their salaries? You’ll need to go into the meeting with your supervisor armed with the knowledge of salary trends related to your jobs and make a good case as to why you deserve more money. If you’re not sure where your salary sits on the high or low scale, use the Bureau of Labor Statistics as a resource.

Have a specific number in mind

Now that you’ve done your research on salary trends, make sure you have a specific number in mind for what you’d like your new salary to be. You want to be as prepared as possible, proving to your supervisor that you’re educated on the topic and can talk through it. The more confident you are when you approach them, the more likely the conversation has a chance of working in your favor.

Know how to ask

While every company’s formality may differ, you also want to go into the conversation with a loose script in mind. This will show you’re sharp and prepared, helping to make a strong case for your raise.  

Here’s a script example from Indeed:

“Based on my research, which includes looking at averages for my job title in this metro area and considering 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.”

Back up your reasoning

This point goes back to how important your salary research is. You’ll need to not only have a script in mind and an idea for how you’d like the conversation to go, but you also need to be prepared for anything your supervisor could ask. Are you aware of how much the median salary of your job has fluctuated in the last few years? Do you know details about the financial status of your company? Looking into such questions can go a long way as you prepare for this talk.

Be prepared for it to go either way

Lastly, remind yourself that this is a conversation that has the potential to go either way. If your boss denies your raise, it could be for a number of reasons that may not even be related to your performance, but what you can control is this: the ability to be prepared and recognize your worth at your company.

The trend of companies being transparent about their salaries is providing employees with the ability to talk openly and more honestly about money. It also will help give them confidence when asking for more.

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