5 subtle signs it’s time to ask for a raise

Can you remember the last time you asked for a raise? If not, that might just be a straight-up, obvious sign you need to start a conversation about your salary. But things are not always so black and white. In a fast-paced business world where restructuring happens on a regular basis, and in the face of the job uncertainty brought by Covid-19, you could be left scratching your head over whether it’s time to talk about money.

Fear not: We’ve tapped on the shoulder of women’s leadership and career advancement expert Francine Parham to get her take on the topic. And it turns out there are subtle signs you should be asking for a raise now rather than later. Feeling weird about it? Don’t. “The organization expects you to perform and you should be expecting to receive compensation equal to your level of contribution. If your boss doesn’t bring it up, then you should be prepared to bring it up by at a minimum discussing it and asking about it as it relates to you – it sets expectations,” says Parham. “If you remain silent, you may be overlooked and send the message that it’s OK when it’s not. Everyone deserves the appropriate compensation for their responsibilities and assigned work assessed against their level of contribution made for their company.”

If you need an extra dose of courage, remember that starting salary negotiations is not just about you. It fosters necessary conversations towards creating a fairer, more diverse workplace. “The bigger question is, why aren’t women getting raises? What is truly getting in the way? More women are starting to ask and will negotiate, which the hope is that it continues, but the gap is huge. It is even wider for women of color. This will take time and a lot of negotiation for women and women of color in the workplace,” says Parham.

Now that we’ve convinced you that initiating the talk is paramount, here are five subtle signs it’s time to ask for raise.

1. You are always thanked for going above and beyond

If you are always praised for going above and beyond your responsibilities and tasks but it never translates into concrete discussions about your career development or compensation, it’s time to ask your boss about it. It’s a good position to begin the conversation from, as you are clearly considered to be a valuable player in your organization and will have negotiating power.

2. You are starting to feel resentful

Are you starting to feel underpaid and undervalued? Have all your conversations with your closest office buddies turned into rants about how much you give and how little you get? “Don’t wait until you become frustrated that you want to leave – by then it’s too late,” says Parham. Resentment builds when you don’t voice your expectations. If you know you’re doing a great job and want your paycheck to reflect that, ask for a raise. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised about the outcome of the conversation.

3. Temporary responsibilities have become permanent

What’s a telltale sign the moment has come to ask for a salary increase? “When you are assigned temporary responsibilities or an assignment that over time becomes a part of your permanent job or role,” says Parham. If your job description has evolved to include additional responsibilities, it’s absolutely acceptable to want your pay to match your new role and responsibilities. In fact, it’s a great way to start the conversation.

4. Your role has expanded after a reorganization

According to Parham, it’s common to end up with extra work on your plate after a reorg — without any formal conversation about your salary. “Your company goes through a reorganization in which new roles, responsibilities and tasks are assigned to you that expand your job, but there is no discussion of compensation,” she says. If you recognize yourself in this scenario, you may have been happy to take on extra responsibilities. Or perhaps they just crept up on you. In any case, it’s time to chat about compensation.

5. You haven’t been promoted yet

If you’ve been recently promoted, it might be too soon to ask for another raise. But if you haven’t been promoted at all in your current organization, it might be a sign you need to be more vocal about your career development — and your salary expectations. “I wish every professional knew that they should expect their salaries to increase over time just as the company expects them to perform better over time. The professional should ask, seek the information and be clear about what they expect. If they don’t receive it, have asked for it and don’t get it, then they should leave,” says Parham.