Guide: Do's and Don'ts for Pay Raise Requests (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

At some point in your career, you may want to ask for a raise as your responsibilities and roles increase. Regardless of your company or position, there are many do's and don'ts of asking for a pay raise. Knowing how to request increased compensation professionally can reduce the chances of conflict and ensure that you get adequate rewards for your efforts. In this article, we explain things to do and to avoid when requesting a pay raise.

What are do's and don'ts for pay raise requests?

If you want to earn a higher salary, there are do's and don'ts for pay raise requests. It's important to justify the pay review with verifiable evidence. Asking for a pay review also requires correct timing if you want to achieve the desired results. Knowing your worth and being able to convince your manager or employer that your responsibilities require more reward can help you get the raise you want.

Do's of asking for a pay raise

Here are important actions to take when asking for a pay raise:

Determine your value

Before asking your boss for a pay review, one of the most important activities you want to embark on is a personal evaluation. Find out your value so you know what your professional experience and skills are worth in the field. There are several online resources that provide detailed salary insights for specific job titles in particular locations.

Find out the salaries of related positions within your company and compare them with rates from other organisations. Check the compensation rates of people with similar skills, experience and responsibilities. Having this information can help you negotiate a pay raise from a position of strength and increase the chances of getting your pay increased.

Justify the raise with evidence

Before asking for a pay raise, it's important to have a valid reason for your request. One good point to justify a raise is if your roles and responsibilities have expanded since the last time you got a raise. You can also support your request with specific achievements in your role. For example, you may have led a team that won a multi-million dollar project for the company.

Besides generating increased revenue, higher efficiency and productivity and consistently high performance can position you as a strong candidate for increased compensation. Your research may also show that the company is underpaying you based on your qualifications, experience and skills.

Prepare adequately

Once you have all the information required to support your request, prepare adequately. If you're basing your pay review on achievements and performance, prepare all the documents and evidence to strengthen your position before meeting your boss. Make copies of your certifications, degrees, awards and related materials so you can present them during your discussion. If you want to use salary surveys or other external resources, study the materials thoroughly and note down important points that can help you convince your manager to approve your pay raise.

Choose a specific figure or range

Once you've done your research, consider choosing a figure or range for your new salary. Consider your current salary, lifestyle and responsibilities and the amount of money that can support you based on your contributions to the organisation. When choosing a figure, it's important to be realistic about what the company can afford to pay.

Ask for a raise

After doing all the research and collecting the evidence to support your case, ask for a raise. In many organisations, management may know you deserve increased pay but continue with your current compensation package if you don't request a review. If you believe your roles and responsibilities, credentials and contributions require earning more, don't hesitate to ask for increased remuneration.

Related: Write a Convincing Salary Increase Letter in Six Simple Steps

Ask at the right time

Besides having valid reasons for asking for a pay raise, it's also vital to make your request at the right time. One of the best times to ask for a raise is immediately after the company achieves important milestones or objectives or you deliver exceptional performance in your role. You can also ask on or before the anniversary of your employment with the company, at the end of the financial year or just before management completes the next budget. That way, the company can include any pay increase in their calculations for the next fiscal year.

Ask with confidence

When asking for a pay raise, it's important to be confident and positive. Talk about your contributions to the company, reiterate commitments to its future and outline the skills, experiences and achievements that make you worthy of a higher salary. Keep the conversation professional and be assertive, but don't be arrogant or threatening.

Ask after a promotion

One effective way to get a pay raise is through a promotion. Typically, getting a promotion means increased responsibilities and powers, which naturally qualifies you for a higher salary. In some organisations, you can't get a pay raise without being promoted, and some employers may not even give you a raise after promotion. In such cases, requesting for a pay review is justified after your functions expand.

Related: How to Request a Pay Raise (With Steps and Tips You Can Use)

Don'ts when asking for a pay review

Here are things to avoid when asking for a pay raise:

Don't ask for too much

When asking for a raise, it's important to not ask too much. Even if your market research suggests you're being underpaid, there may be several factors different employers use to determine their employees' remuneration package. While it's important to know your value as a professional and how much you contribute to the organisation, it's also vital to acknowledge that your company has specific criteria it uses to determine compensation, including its financial situation.

Related: How to Answer Salary Expectations Questions in 3 Simple Steps

Avoid comparing yourself to other employees

You may find out that your colleagues earn more than you do, but it's not appropriate to use that as a yardstick for determining your own pay. Even if you share the same roles, your employer may decide to pay other people more because of specific personal strengths or professional achievements. Instead of basing your argument on what colleagues earn, look for other valid reasons to support your case and convince the manager or company to approve your request.

Don't ask for a raise during difficult periods

The chances of getting a raise often depend on when you ask. Avoid asking for pay reviews when the company's finances aren't healthy. Consider putting off your request when the manager is handling problems. It's also not appropriate to ask for a raise after a poor performance evaluation. Wait for a proper time, such as when the organisation just completed a successful calendar, when your manager is happy with you for excellent delivery on a job or after a positive performance appraisal.

Avoid a negative tone

It's important to be polite and positive when asking for a pay review. Regardless of the situation, it's important to avoid being emotional while arguing your case and show understanding if the other party requests more time. It's also not ideal to threaten to leave your job if you don't get a raise. Even if there is a job waiting for you, be professional when asking for increased pay.

Don't be afraid to look for better opportunities

If you think the company doesn't appreciate your efforts, it's okay to look for better opportunities elsewhere. After making your case for a raise and providing valid reasons to justify your demands, you may not achieve the desired results. In such cases, you can consider searching for another job where the employer is going to compensate you adequately for your experience, credentials and results.

Related: How to Negotiate Your Salary (Steps and Tips)

Tips to increase the chances of getting a pay raise

Here are tips that can improve your chances of getting increased pay:

  • Notify your boss: Before going into a discussion about a pay raise, let your boss or manager know what you want to ask to give them time to prepare for the discussion.

  • Avoid getting emotional: Focus on the facts and be professional and positive.

  • Make your conversation brief: Limit your conversation to 15 to 30 minutes, within which you argue your case using concise, positive and active language to communicate your points.

  • Prepare your thoughts adequately before the negotiation: Write your thoughts in advance. Keep the language simple and clear and visualise how you want to deliver the conversation so it's hitch-free.

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