How to ask for a raise

Before reading this article it is important to note that the methods by which raises are given vary depending on the company you work for.

Some companies automatically raise employee salaries on a yearly basis, while others may do cost-of-living increases or give raises based on merit.

It is possible to negotiate a raise with most employers. However, if you want a raise you’re going to have to convince your employer you deserve it.

This article provides you with details on how to prepare, approach, and negotiate asking for a raise.


According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review by Gill Corkindale (an executive coach and formerly management editor of the Financial Times), the first step is “good preparation and research”.

Begin by asking yourself “why am I looking for a pay rise now?”.

For many it could be because they feel undervalued, while for others it could be because their salary is lower than most of their peers’.

This is also the time to evaluate whether other elements of your compensation need to be addressed, such as your pension, bonus, stock options, or leave entitlement.

Once you have established the reason you are seeking a raise you should ensure that you get your timing right.

Asking for a raise when company profits are doing well is a much better idea than doing so just after major downsizing.

If you feel the company is in an economic position to give you a raise, it is the time to ask. If not, simply postpone the idea until the timing is right.

In addition, Jaime Petkanics, career advisor and founder of an online guide for job advice, told Business Insider that people should ask for a raise when they have been in the same position without a change in compensation for at least a year or two, particularly if the role has changed.

Petkanics said: “No one else is going to look out for your career progress or compensation the way you will for yourself. The ball is in your court and if you don’t ask, you may not ever receive.”

Making your approach

Have a plan – be sure to have specific pay rise figures in mind. Use facts about your productivity: such as your ability to meet objectives, overcome challenges, and your recent successes. Also mention the salaries of similar roles in other companies (if they are higher) to support your request.

Bear in mind that according to researchers at Columbia Business School, “negotiators who make precise first offers seem better informed of the good’s true value, and more credible offers tend to prompt more conciliatory responses from recipients.”

Once you know what tools you’re going to be using in the negotiation it is time to pick the moment. Try and schedule this just after completing a successful project rather than when your team or boss are facing problems.

At the meeting – negotiation

Make sure that when you speak you are clear and specific. Try not to bring in unrelated topics into the discussion and do not compare yourself to your coworkers.

In addition, it is important to remain calm and not to  become emotional. Even if you start getting feelings of frustration or anger, you will get a better result from your boss if you can stay calm during the meeting – if not it could cloud their opinion of you.

Give your boss the impression that you  enjoy your role and merit the raise you request. You may have to  be willing to accept alternatives to a raise (such as a company car or more leave).

In her article titled, “How to Get the Pay Raise You Want”, Gill Corkindale concluded:

“Of course, there is no guarantee that you will get what the raise you seek. If you don’t receive what you want, try to find out whether this is due to company policy, the salary expectations for your role, or your own performance. Is there anything you can do to influence the situation, for example, seeking wider responsibilities or more stretching targets?”