How To Request a Pay Raise (With Steps and Tips You Can Use)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 16 August 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.

When you've achieved significant accomplishments at work or when you've taken on new responsibilities, you may consider requesting a raise. Increased pay can potentially help you feel more satisfied in your role and achieve your own personal financial goals. Requesting a raise can also boost your confidence at work and support your career growth. In this article, we discuss the definition of a pay raise, provide steps you can use to ask for your next pay increase and answer some frequently asked questions about pay increases, to help you evaluate and improve your own salary.

What is a pay raise?

A pay raise, sometimes referred to as a merit increase, is usually a desirable event that occurs when an employee receives a higher rate of pay than they received before. Employers might award you with one to recognise a career achievement, extended tenure or even an increase in the cost of living. A raise is usually monetary and might also include additional perks or benefits such as extra holidays and personal days. Increasing your wages can also inspire other benefits such as increased self-esteem and career advancement.

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

How to ask for a raise

If you believe you're qualified for an increase in pay, consider discussing this with your manager or supervisor. Taking the time to prepare can increase your chances of negotiating a higher raise and can help you feel more at ease when speaking with your manager. Use these steps to help you negotiate a higher raise:

1. Track your accomplishments

When you ask your manager for a raise, show them the value you bring to the company and provide them with examples of when you exceeded expectations. Record your accomplishments to help you recall evidence of your success easily. For example, this can include major projects, added responsibilities, training or new credentials, such as an advanced degree. Try to refer to measurable achievements whenever possible. Start tracking your accomplishments and accolades as soon as you're hired to show your growth over time.

2. Research average salaries

Use online resources to conduct research and determine how your pay compares to others in the same industry and position. Make sure to compare your salary to others with the same level of experience and to those with similar qualifications for the most accurate data. Consider localising your research to your geographical location to account for the different average wages in different places.

During your research, consider any outside factors that may affect both your current and proposed salary. For example, both your geographic location and the cost of living in your city can alter your pay rate. Your company's size and financial state may also affect your salary. Doing a fair amount of research can help you set realistic expectations regarding a salary range and find a particular figure to use as your starting point during negotiations.

Related: 50 of the Highest Paying Jobs You Can Apply For

3. Identify potential obstacles

Consider anything that might impede your request for higher compensation. For example, your company may have recently laid-off employees or performed other cost-cutting measures. These activities might mean your company has fewer funds to allocate to your pay increase. If you decide to negotiate a raise despite these circumstances, let your boss know you're aware of these situations and ask them how you can help resolve these challenges. You might even suggest strategies to support your raise while minimising the financial impact on your organisation.

4. Consider a fair salary

Taking your research and value into consideration gives you an idea of a realistic salary range and provides you with information to use when requesting a raise. Identify a fair salary number and aim for a slightly higher figure to allow for negotiation. Be sure to keep your expectations reasonable and comparable to other similar roles.

5. Consider negotiating benefits

Before you start a conversation regarding a raise, think of other areas you may be willing to negotiate outside of your salary. For example, you might negotiate benefits like more holiday time, stock options or flexible work hours. Consider mentioning these alternatives or additions at the beginning of your pitch. You can also keep a few in mind in case your manager doesn't approve a higher monetary raise.

6. State your case at the right time

Consider requesting a raise after taking on additional responsibilities or after you successfully completed a project. This provides your boss with more examples of the value you present to the company. You can also ask for a raise when your employer doesn't have a set schedule for raises or when you have someone to advocate on your behalf. Consider making your request for a pay increase when your company is doing well financially, also, to boost your chances of success.

7. Set up a meeting

Set up a meeting with your manager to begin a dialogue about a higher raise. Use your understanding of your manager's communication style and preferences to develop a plan for your pitch. Include a statement of your desire to receive a more substantial raise given your new responsibilities or previous accomplishments and accolades.

For example, you can start by saying, "Thank you for the opportunity to succeed as a part of your team. I'd like to request a raise given my added responsibilities and recent project completions. Is it possible to adjust my salary to reflect this? Based on the research I've done, I was hoping for a raise of [your desired salary]." You can also provide them with a typed list of your accomplishments with your salary request at the top of the document.

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

Frequently asked questions about raises

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about raises:

What are other words used to discuss raises?

Some employers use different terminology to discuss raises. For example, some companies might call a pay raise a merit increase when it's connected to excellent performance. Sometimes, people use the word promotion in connection with a raise. A promotion often includes a higher title or role in addition to a raise. You might also hear the phrases wage increase or salary increase used when discussing pay increases at work.

Related: Career Goals: Definition, How-To and Examples

When is it appropriate to ask for a raise?

Here are some times when it might be appropriate to ask for a raise:

  • Following a specific event or achievement: If you've recently accomplished a significant achievement or completed a noteworthy task at work, you might consider it to be a good time to ask for a raise. If you've successfully led a profitable project, for example, you might include that accomplishment as evidence of your value and a reason you deserve a higher wage.

  • When your company is doing well: Some businesses award raises based on the company's overall financial success. Be mindful of your organisation's overall fiscal well-being and consider timing your pay increase request for a time when the business is doing well. They may be more likely to agree to your raise when there are extra resources available to fund it.

  • Based on your company's pay increase schedule: Some companies offer wage increases on a set schedule, in which case your request may be most successful in line with that time frame. Others provide raises only upon request and with evidence of strong performance. Note which format your company uses and plan accordingly.

Tips for requesting a raise

Here are some additional tips you can use when requesting a pay raise:

  • Communicate clearly: Clear communication can be a foundational element of a successful request for a pay increase. Be sure to choose your language carefully, whether you're using writing or spoken communication to make your request.

  • Stay positive: Emphasising your accomplishments and positive contributions to your organisation can help you make a more effective appeal for a wage increase. Maintaining a positive attitude can also help you feel more confident in your request which might affect your manager's decision.

  • Leverage your experience: Be sure to request a wage increase when you've been with a company long enough to prove your value to your team. If you have extensive experience in your field or a lengthy tenure with your current company, you might use this information to your advantage when requesting a raise.

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