Asking for a Raise

It’s 1st of Feb, and you’re settling in being back at work. You’ve got your goals for the year ahead, and at some point, you are going to ask for a raise. Whether its sooner or later, here are the Do’s and Don’ts to get you through effectively.


  • Joke about your low salary. It’s obvious to your manager that you passively aggressively suggesting you aren’t paid what you are worth, and you are hoping that they will take the hint and give you a raise. This demonstrated two things to your manager: you aren’t prepared to be professional and that you have no idea how business decisions are actually made. You basically just come across VERY annoying.
  • Explain why you need the money. This is a sure fire way for your manager or the decision maker to stop listening. Why should they care? Your living costs and lifestyle are not your managers responsibility, and they may think you have poor money management skills, especially if you are known to buy a coffee and lunch every single day. You also add that the costs of living have gone up..well, that usually means the cost of business has gone up too. Asking for a raise is based on your performance and what they are buying with that extra money, so focus on that.
  • Compare your salary to others. It might be tempting, but unless someone junior is making more money then you, don’t bring it up. This person may have had excellent negotiation in their interview, and the company won’t give out equal money to others to make everything fair. Your boss will just be irritated and likely want to know how you found it out, and you potentially drag that colleague into the mess. Use the knowledge to your advantage, knowing they are willing to pay higher.
  • Declare an ultimatum. Unless you aren’t prepared to actually walk and the company is beyond redemption AND you possibly have already been made another offer you are keen on.. then never threaten. It’s unprofessional, not mention annoying, and puts your manager on the defence instantly.


  • Start as you mean to continue. Setting the stage from day 1 is important, it is very difficult to ask for a raise or bonus post-project work. Don’t be shy about it, and if you are, practice role playing employer/employee negotiations on a raise with a trusted partner or friend that has experience with it. You may be in a role already, but they want you to take on more responsibility, or perhaps you have identified an area you could improve and are wanting to take on more responsibility. Either way, bring up the additional pay, maybe it doesn’t come straight away but it could turn into a ‘3 month review’ to see how the project has gone, and what could be continued with further.
  • Know your company policies. Do your research! Know how your company manages pay rises, whether this comes with quarterly or yearly reviews, if there are any procedures or criteria for it. More often than not, managers are behind on reviews and its actually your job to insist on it. Starting with a review is a great way to start negotiations.
  • Know your worth. Research your industry standards of pay expectations, take into consideration your skillset and soft skills (people skills, emotional intelligence etc.) and what else you bring to the company. Also be aware of what other companies do, sometimes online information isn’t that accurate. Confidentially speak to others in the industry (not others your own company is good practice), and sound out a ballpark figure of what they may be on.
  • Prepare for your boss. As mentioned above, it’s good to know your companies policies and procedures – there may be reasons you cannot be paid more for the role you are doing. This may mean to need to create a new role for yourself. This is definitely doable, you just need to present it in a way that you get buy-in form your boss, as the will champion you for the raise. Outline all of your duties form your old role, find something new (as you need to show you are adding more value), and how it will positively impact the bottom line. Remember: your manager will need to show the powers above why you deserve a raise, so do this work for them, anything to make their job easier will help this process be smoother for you.
  • Don’t give up. If you are declined the raise, do not be discouraged. Perhaps the business finances aren’t ready for it, or you weren’t able to demonstrate your value first time around. Ask your manager if they need any further supporting information, and what you can do to ensure a raise next review. Put an action plan in place for yourself and the company with tangible goals and outcomes.

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