How to Ask for a Raise at Work

Two men shaking hands in a meeting

Asking your employer for a raise can be intimidating for many employees. Believe it or not, as many as two-thirds of employees believe they deserve a pay raise, but only a few will ask for one!

Fortunately, if you know how to ask for a raise, it isn’t as scary, and you may just get exactly what you want. Let’s talk about how to ask for a raise at work in 2022!

Choose Your Style

Before we ask, we must first choose the best way to ask for a raise. Here’s how to choose between a letter and an in-person request.

Writing a Letter

Writing a letter to request a raise may seem informal, but there are circumstances where it’s okay. If you feel more confident making your points in written form, it may help you avoid forgetting any of the points you want to make, allowing for more time to carefully prepare your statements.

Alternatively, you could write a letter to request an in-person meeting while still highlighting and preparing the points you want to make within the letter. This way, your boss will be prepared for the conversation and have time to consider your proposal before the meeting.

In-Person Meeting

Of course, an in-person meeting is more formal and personable, whether it follows a letter or a verbal request. In most cases, we would suggest an in-person meeting, whether you start with a letter or not.

During an in-person meeting, you will have more opportunities for negotiations and have a hand in the discussion. If you ask for a raise in the letter, your boss may talk to their supervisors and make the increase without your further input.

Instead, give yourself a seat at the table for these discussions and prepare to negotiate. Let’s talk about how.

How to Ask for a Raise at Work

Now that we’ve decided how to ask for a raise, it’s time to get started. Regardless of how you choose to ask your boss for a raise, here’s how it’s done.

Prepare in Advance

Doing a little homework can help you legitimate your request. For example, looking at salaries online of comparable jobs with similar experience, determining how much value you’ve added to the company, or discussing long-term goals with the company can help you.

This will show that you’re prepared and make it more difficult for your employer to reject your request. If you are dead set on this raise, then we recommend finding a fallback position ahead of time. 

Also, it wouldn’t hurt to have your negotiations prepared. If you’re worried about your employer bringing up any issues from the past or anything that may harm the value of your potential raise, then plan ahead for them. Write them down and rehearse the key points you want to make.

This may also be a good time to find a backup job or temp work if you don’t get what you want.

Request a Meeting

Whether you sent a letter or if you’re planning on doing this in-person, ask your boss for a specific meeting, set the time, and show up early. Don’t do this until you’re fully prepared, as your boss may be ready at that very moment!

Highlight Your Strengths

During the meeting, start by highlighting your past accomplishments and what you bring to the team. If you truly believe you deserve a raise, then there should be at least a few items on this list!

Also, this would be a great time to talk about your goals with the company. How do you, as an employee, intend to help the company move forward in the coming months or years? This could be an excellent selling point.

Prepare to Negotiate

Your boss may agree that you deserve a raise but may also want to negotiate the increase to your salary. That’s okay, as long as you have a minimum and ideal increase in mind.

You just need to know how to negotiate a raise, but it isn’t that difficult. If they ask you how much you’d like, aim for your ideal proposal. Let’s say it’s 10% and your minimum is 5%.

In that case, start by saying you deserve a 10% raise because of XYZ. They may immediately counter with an offer of 5%, which means you’re already within your intended negotiating range and you can work up from there.

Otherwise, consider ahead of time how much you are willing to compromise and discuss options. One great negotiating tactic that’s hard for employers to pass is to say: “I will agree to an X% increase now, but if I accomplish what I’ve laid out here within 90 days, then I would like to discuss an additional X% increase.”

Essentially, try to make them an offer they can’t refuse. This way, you’re showing confidence, not settling too low, and still keeping the door open for your ideal salary increase.

Don’t Be Threatening

Being confident in your worth is important, but don’t threaten your boss with resigning or anything else. If you show them that other brands in the industry are paying higher salaries, then that’s enough of a hint that you can find work elsewhere, so there’s no need to threaten.

Try your best to be confident in your request without sounding overly demanding. If your intention is to find another job upon denial of your request, then have a job lined up, but try not to rub it in their face.

If your request turns into a tough negotiation, having another job offer lined up may help you negotiate. In many cases, it’s the right time to leave a job. However, we’d recommend saving this for negotiations rather than leading with it.

Ask Away

Now that you know how to ask for a raise, why wait? The answer on when to ask for a raise is: the sooner you do, the sooner you can enjoy your new salary increase. Remember, always come prepared, have a backup plan, and prepare to negotiate!

Stay up to date with our latest employment news and feel free to contact us with any questions!

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Jill Wells

Jill Wells is the Managing Director of WellsGray Recruitment with over 30 years experience in the recruitment industry. Since 1998, Jill has built the reputation of WellsGray as one of Victoria’s leading specialist providers of temporary, contract and permanent staff, having proudly established long-term relationships with its clients and candidates.

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