12 ways to ask your boss for a salary increase (and get it)

by Casey Slide


Attempting to ask for a raise by mentioning the amount another employer has offered is likely to work against you.

In years gone by, many workers could depend on receiving an annual or semi-annual raise – but unfortunately, for all but a few, this is no longer the case. In fact, many employers continue to cut back on staff or hours just to maintain in operation.

With that in mind, you might think that asking for a raise is an exercise in futility. After all, when money is tight, your company won’t be inclined to hand out extra cash like candy. However, management does want to do what’s required to keep an employee on the payroll if it helps their overall bottom line. After all, it costs money to hire and train new employees, and employee turnover is never profitable. So make a strong case for a raise and follow proper protocol, and your request is likely to be honored.

How to Ask for a Raise


Prior to asking for a raise, it is imperative that you take substantial time to thoroughly prepare to make the request.

1. Know What You Are Worth
Before you ask for a raise, be sure that you are worth more money than you are already receiving. Your worth depends on such factors as how much others earn in your field, your level of experience, your special skills, and even your geographical location.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has a useful tool on its website to calculate salaries. Study it carefully, and make sure your request is reasonable – you could do more harm than good if you ask for a $5,000 raise when you’re already earning $5,000 more than you’re worth.

2. Understand Company Policy
In addition to knowing what you are worth, it is essential to know your company’s policy on raises. If your company only gives raises after performance reviews, prepare to ask then. Your company may also have a policy of giving raises only after achieving certain goals. Review your company’s employee handbook, or contact human resources for information.

3. Develop a Persuasive Argument
If you are paid less than others in your field, explain this to your superiors – but do not rely on this fact alone. Additionally, mention a positive performance review, goals accomplished, and extra duties or training you’ve acquired. Furthermore, cite solid statistics as a direct result of your efforts, such as cost savings, customer conversions, customer satisfaction, or increased productivity. Mentioning relevant, non-measurable attributes such as initiative, commitment, and a positive attitude can also help to prove you deserve a raise. Remember, this is not the time to be modest.

4. Practice Negotiation Skills
Brush up on your negotiation skills, and be confident in your position. Even if your boss thinks you deserve a raise, he or she is likely to make you work for it. You don’t need to read books, but do learn effective negotiation tactics, such as using silence to your advantage, and asking for slightly more money than you expect to receive. A little time and effort in this area could have significant payback.

5. Have Confidence
Have confidence in yourself, and know exactly what you want to say. Practice your proposal in front of friends, family members, or the mirror – or better yet, record your delivery. You can practice different scenarios, and you can experiment with your newly learned negotiation strategies.

6. Be Flexible
Mentally prepare yourself for all situations. There is a chance your boss could immediately agree; however, he or she might need time to think about it, or reject your proposition right away. There is also the possibility that your boss will agree to give you a raise, but not for the full amount for which you are asking.

Be realistic with yourself, and acknowledge that your efforts may not have desired results. But keep in mind that the worst that could happen is that your boss says “no.”

7. Ask at an Appropriate Time
If your company has just laid off employees, or if their financial numbers are not looking good, it’s generally not the right time to ask for a raise. You’re likely to be rejected, and may even be perceived as being greedy. Conversely, if your company had been having a good year, make the most of the opportunity.


Once you have adequately prepared, it is time to follow through with your plan.

8. Set Up a Meeting
Don’t surprise your boss by asking for a raise in the middle of the hallway or between his or her important meetings. Schedule a meeting that will give both of you the time and space to focus on this important consideration. This way, your boss will not be caught off guard, and you will have his or her full attention.

9. Be Specific
Don’t beat around the bush. Get right to business by stating what you want and why you deserve it. Then, state your number. Be ready to support your suggestion with an account of your accomplishments and value.

10. Be Flexible
If your boss tells you that he or she can not give you a monetary raise at the moment, inquire about getting more time off or receiving a bonus. Be sure to ask at what point you should revisit the question of a raise with him or her.

11. Don’t Negotiate By Using an Offer From Another Employer
Attempting to ask for a raise by mentioning the amount another employer has offered is likely to work against you. For example, your boss might say that you should take the other offer, as he or she is not willing to give you that amount. While this tactic works well when you are negotiating a salary upon hire, it does not work in your favor when asking for a raise.

12. Don’t Threaten to Quit
This tactic is generally unprofessional, and can be offensive. Even if it works, it can damage your relationship with your employer. It’s important to never burn bridges, as you never know when you’ll need a reference or other assistance from your boss.


Read this article in Money Crashers


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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