How to ask for a raise at work

The topic of money isn’t one that most relish having with their boss. However, knowing how to ask for a raise at work helps ensure you receive proper compensation for your job. Whether you have taken on more responsibility in your position or have been with your company for years without a raise, knowing how to broach the conversation with your boss is all part of being employed.

In this guide, you’ll learn what you need to do to prepare ahead of time for a conversation about your raise, and you’ll find helpful tips for navigating the discussion. Read on to find out how you can successfully ask for a raise.

Prepare ahead of time

Long before you sit down with your boss to ask for more money, it is important to take the time to prepare for the discussion. Never enter into a conversation about a raise without spending ample time doing your research and putting together the information you need to make your discussion successful.

Do your research

If you find yourself wondering, “how much of a raise should I ask for?” you’re not alone. Many professionals are not sure what exactly they should be paid.

According to recent data, the average raise is 3%. However, the specific amount you should ask for will depend a lot on your role, whether or not you have added responsibilities, and where you work.

To help calculate your raise, start by researching the average salary for your job. If your pay is below average, it is fair to ask for a raise that brings you up to the market level. Additionally, if you took on recent management work or other tasks that were not part of your original job, look into what pay is offered for someone starting out in your current role.

Pulling these numbers will help you as you approach your boss. When you can point to industry data that showcases how much people in your position are paid on average, it is easier to explain to your boss why it is fair for you to ask for increased pay.

Additionally, take into consideration how your company handles raises. If you have an HR department, you can ask whether or not your position is on a set raise structure or not. In some cases, companies handle raises using a combination of data points, such as your length with the company, your seniority in the organization, and the revenue attached to your department’s goals. Understanding how this works can help you navigate the conversation intelligently.

Build your argument

Along with understanding how much to ask for, you’ll want to spend some time putting together a case for your raise. While your goal is not to get into an actual argument with your boss, you do want to present evidence that will back your request.

What should you include when you ask for a raise? Consider highlighting the following:

  • Your skills: Make a list of unique skills you bring to your team. For example, if you are the only person on your team that knows how to update product listings on your company website, this is an asset that will help reinforce the value you bring.
  • Your accomplishments: Along with your specific skills, write down everything you have accomplished over the past year for your business. This should include hard facts backed by numbers. For example, rather than saying “I helped drive new customer sign-ups,” be specific and state, “I increased our customer sign-ups by 10% by launching a digital marketing campaign through Google Ads.”
  • Your goals: Along with all you currently provide, make sure to let your boss know how you plan to continue to invest in your business. For example, you might conclude your presentation with two strategies you have for the year ahead that will help drive revenue goals.
  • Your desired compensation: Finally, make sure you are ready to state the amount of money you believe you should earn, backed by your reasoning for choosing that number.

Consider your timing

Asking for a raise should be timed carefully. For example, if your company just went through one of the worst quarters for revenue to date, it might not be the best time to broach the topic. Similarly, if you just started your job a month ago, asking for a raise right away might not be ideal.

However, don’t feel like you have to wait for the perfect moment. Even if you don’t get the answer you want, it is professionally acceptable and even expected to ask for a raise.

Set a meeting

Once you are ready to discuss your raise, take the time to set a formal meeting with your boss. Do not have a conversation about a raise through a drop-in meeting or during a casual chat. To set the stage, let your boss know ahead of time what you plan to discuss in order not to blindside them.

Tips for the raise discussion

The day has come, and you’re ready to walk into your boss’ office to ask for a raise. Use these final tips to help make the conversation productive.

Show confidence

It’s normal to be nervous when asking for a raise. Most people find discussing their compensation with their boss stressful. However, remember two things:

  • It is normal to ask for a raise. Your boss will not think you are greedy or find this conversation surprising. Part of being a professional is discussing your pay.
  • You are prepared. After all the research you did, and with the data you gathered, you’re ready for this conversation. Don’t let a few butterflies in your stomach hold you back from asking for what you know you deserve.

Lay out your information

When asking for a raise, don’t beat around the bush. Get straight to the topic and lay out the information you have gathered in a logical presentation. State your case and ask for your raise.

Answer questions

Your boss might have questions about your request, and they might even give you pushback. This is all a normal part of the process. Be ready to defend your statements and explain your logic.

Don’t threaten to leave

It is tempting to try to use an ultimatum to get a raise. However, threatening to leave your job if you don’t get the money can backfire. Unless you have every intention of walking out the door and never coming back, don’t use a threat to fight for a raise.

Follow-up tips

At the end of your conversation, your boss might do one of a few things. Use the following guide to help you know how to follow up based on how your boss responded:

  • If your boss asks you to think about it: Sometimes your boss won’t give you an immediate answer. They might have to run the request past their own boss or through HR. In this case, ask for a timeline of when you can expect an answer, and be sure to hold them to that timeline.
  • If your boss says yes: If your boss agrees to your raise, be sure to ask when the raise will be implemented and request a confirmation of your raise in writing.
  • If your boss offers a different amount: If the amount your boss offers is close to your asking number, you may want to consider agreeing to it. You could also ask if you can be stair-stepped up to the amount you requested based on performance goals.
  • If your boss says no: If your boss refuses to give you a raise, ask why. You have the right to understand their reasoning. In some cases, this might be a signal that it is time for you to start looking for a job elsewhere.

How to ask for a raise example

If you’re looking for inspiration for your conversation to ask for a raise, use the following example as a jumping-off point:

“Thank you for meeting with me. As you know, I have been working as a digital marketing specialist on your team for two years now. During these two years, I have taken on added responsibilities as our team has grown. Recently, I took over managing our interns, as well as becoming the sole contact in charge of updating our product listings through our website. Additionally, I drove our customer sign-ups by 10% by running a targeted marketing campaign through Google Ads. This earned our business an additional revenue of $10,000 per month. In the year ahead, I plan to run a similar targeted campaign through social media channels to help drive those numbers higher.

The positive feedback I have earned from my monthly reviews has pushed me to research what people in similar roles to mine are earning. I have found that to be on par with market pay, a salary increase of 15% is in line with my skills. Please let me know if you have any questions and how we can proceed with reviewing my compensation.”