So you’ve been taking on more responsibility at work, your boss says you’re a real asset to the company, but your salary hasn’t changed in a few years. If this describes your current work situation, it might be time to ask for a raise.
By Caroline Farhat
According to PayScale’s “Raise Anatomy” report, only 37% of workers have asked for a raise. Of those that did ask, 70% received some sort of increase in compensation. Those are pretty good odds so if you’re excelling at your job, you should ask! The average raise in 2019 was 3%, according to the 2020 Compensation Best Practices Report. This means that if you are earning $40,000, your raise would increase your income by $1,200 per year. The amount of a raise depends on the sector of work, location, and demand for the position. Typically, jobs in the private sector usually receive higher raises than jobs in the government. As a best practice, you should usually wait to request a raise after you have worked for the company for at least one year. Additionally, in most cases, you should not ask for a raise more than once a year.
If you feel it is time to ask for a raise, here are some tips on how to appropriately request one.
Prepare for a Meeting
When you are ready to ask for a raise, request a meeting with your boss and let them know you’d like to discuss your salary.
1. Plan your request at the right time
When you want to ask for a raise, pay attention to the timing of the meeting with your boss.
An appropriate time for a meeting would be:
- After you successfully completed a big project that brought value to your company
- During a performance review meeting when you have exceeded expectations. Performance review meetings are a typical time when companies award raises. Being prepared to ask for a raise during this time could allow you to negotiate for more than the planned raise.
Times to avoid a meeting:
- During a busy season of work when your boss will not be able to focus on your request
- When you are behind on your work. If you are not able to perform your current workload, it will be hard to justify a raise to your boss.
2. Prepare talking points
Go into the meeting prepared to advocate for yourself. Although you don’t have to memorize a speech, it’s good to be prepared with the following information:
- Specific examples of accomplishments you have achieved at work recently. This could be anything from securing a big client to implementing an idea that brings in extra revenue for your company.
- How you have exceeded expectations for your position.
- Additional responsibilities you have undertaken. If you have taken on more responsibilities by taking initiative, be sure to highlight those.
- The value you will continue to bring to the company in the future and examples of how this will be accomplished.
3. Do your research
It’s important to know that the salary you are requesting is realistic for your position and your location. A great resource is Glassdoor. You can compare salaries for your sector or receive a personalized salary estimate based on your market and position.
4. Practice, practice, practice
Asking for a raise can be a nerve-wracking conversation. By preparing and practicing before your meeting, you can walk in confidently and armed with data to back up your request. In addition to practicing your talking points, you will want to be ready for any questions or negotiations that may arise. While it’s good to have a specific salary in mind, you should also be open to other numbers or benefits that your boss may offer. For example, the company may offer you work from home or extra vacation time in place of a salary increase.
In the Meeting
You’ve requested a timely meeting, prepared extensively, and now it’s go-time. Once you’re in the meeting here’s what you should focus on:
1. Your Demeanor
Pay attention to your tone and body language when speaking. You want to appear confident in yourself and your abilities. Show a positive attitude about the value you bring to the company, but do not appear arrogant. If you get questioned about why you deserve a raise, keep your cool and answer with the talking points you prepared.
2. Communicate Your Accomplishments
Instead of just rattling off a laundry list of accomplishments, focus on a few incredible examples and, if possible, bring proof of your work. Here are a few ideas of what you can present in the meeting:
- Two-three examples of big projects you accomplished
- Work you did that was beyond the scope of your job
- Specific examples of when you took the lead and were successful
- Examples of work brought that brought monetary value to the company
- Ideas for your future at the company. Companies value loyal workers so be sure to point out how you have demonstrated loyalty and your desire to remain with the company.
3. Explain Why You’ve Earned It
Be sure to avoid talking about why you need the extra money and instead focus on how you have earned a raise. For example, if you are in sales, instead of saying you need the money because of increased living costs, say you have earned this raise because you are the most successful sales associate, have brought in $100,000 in revenue, and receive great reviews.
4. Bring a Specific Number
It’s best to have a specific number you are requesting, according to a study by Columbia Business School, instead of a range. For example, you want to request $55,000 as opposed to saying $52,000 to $57,000. Provide the reasoning for how you arrived at that number and, if applicable, give examples of how it is in line for the type of work you do.
If you have been in your role for over a year and are killing it at your job, you should seriously consider asking for a raise. But before you do so, preparation is absolutely critical. Follow the steps above and you’ll be in a great place to have this discussion with your boss. Good luck!
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