How To Ask for a Raise: A Guide (With Tips and Scripts)
By Jamie Birt
Updated September 30, 2022 | Published March 15, 2018
Updated September 30, 2022
Published March 15, 2018
Jamie Birt is a career coach with 4+ years of experience helping job seekers navigate the job search through one-to-one coaching, webinars and events. She’s motivated by the mission to help people find fulfillment and belonging in their careers.
Related: Asking For A Raise: A How-To Guide To Earn What You Deserve
In this video, we explain how to ask for a raise, how to calculate your ask, measure your contributions and help you earn what you deserve.
If you believe you should be paid more for the work you do and want to do something about it, you have two choices: find a new higher-paying job or ask for a raise.
Both of these job choices can introduce new anxieties, but they’re each a gateway to new opportunities. We can certainly help you find a new job—but if you like your current employer and believe you can grow there, it’s often a good idea to ask for a raise. After all, your employer may not know you’re dissatisfied with your current pay until you speak up.
In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide to asking your boss for a raise, plus tips and scripts to help you prepare your own request.
How do you ask for a raise?
The following is a simple step-by-step guide you can follow as you prepare to ask your employer for a raise.
1. Choose the right time to ask
It’s not uncommon to want a raise. In fact, in a recent Indeed survey, only 19% of people were comfortable with their rate of pay. However, when you do ask for a raise, you need to carefully choose your timing. Ask yourself these questions as you’re identifying the right time to ask for a raise:
What is the financial health of the company?
If the company isn’t doing well, this is not the time to ask for a raise. As an employee, you may be aware of the company’s financial health. You should look for warning signs, such as cutbacks in spending or layoffs. Check the news for stories about your employer or industry. Do company research and look at financial reports.
Even if the financial health of the company is good, this research will be useful to you when you talk to your manager.
Related: 8 Methods To Increase Your Salary
How is your manager’s workload?
If you know your manager is under a lot of stress or focused on too many things right now, it may not be the time to ask for a raise. Paying attention to your manager’s moods and identifying how to help them demonstrates a level of maturity that will be useful to mention in your conversation about compensation.
When is the best time of year to ask for a raise?
In many businesses, there are times when it is natural or convenient to talk about pay:
Some employers may conduct annual or quarterly reviews with employees. If you have one coming up, your employer might already expect to discuss your compensation.
The end of the fiscal year could be another option. A fiscal year is a 12-month period companies use for budgeting and tax reporting purposes. At the close of that period (the end of January is common), employers are likely making hiring and compensation plans for the next year.
If you see that one of these opportunities is coming up, make note of it on your calendar. This will give you a headstart on planning for the conversation with your manager.
Have you successfully completed a significant task or project?
If the company is doing well and your manager isn’t too stressed, but a convenient time to ask for a raise isn’t coming up, reflect on your recent accomplishments. Have you just reached an impressive milestone or exceeded an important goal? If so, this could be a good time to ask for a raise.
Be sure to document the details of the specific accomplishment(s) you’ll reference in your conversation about a raise. Even though your manager may be aware of your work broadly, they may not be up to date on precisely how impressive it was.
Related: What Is the Average Salary by Age?
2. Research salary trends
At this stage, you may be wondering how much of a raise you should request.
Every job has a corresponding market value. This value is usually within a certain range. To learn the salary range for your job, visit Indeed Salaries and enter your job title. This salary information comes from over 450 million data points. You’ll be able to see the national salary trend for your job title. You can then choose the state or metro area where you work to get a pay rate that’s appropriate for your city.
On each salary trend page, you’ll see a figure that is “most reported." Your education, experience and other factors will influence how your pay rate compares to that figure. By learning about the trend for your job title and your city, you will have a foundation for understanding the monetary value of your work.
Next, compare your current salary to the trends you're seeing. Where you fall within that range may affect the increase in pay that you request. From here, you can take the following steps:
Consider your qualifications
Consider your education, years of experience, years you’ve worked for your current employer and any specialized skills or attributes you bring to the table. These all add value by increasing your ability to perform the job. Ideally, your employer would take them into account when determining your compensation.
Make a list of your accomplishments
Take special note of which ones added the most value to the organization. When possible, use concrete numbers to illustrate an accomplishment. For example: “Launched a rebranded company website, which resulted in 20% month over month increase in site visits last quarter.”
Identify a target salary range or pay increase
Note that 3% is considered an average or even generous pay increase. That shouldn’t necessarily deter you from asking for more if you believe your current pay is significantly out of alignment with what you could earn, but it can give you an idea of where to start.
You can use Indeed's Salary Calculator to get a free, personalized pay range based on your location, industry and experience.
Note: All national salary figures are approximations based on third-party submissions to Indeed. These figures are given to the Indeed users for the purpose of generalized comparison only. The minimum wage may differ by jurisdiction, and you should consult the employer for actual salary figures.
3. Set a meeting
It’s ideal to ask for a pay raise in person and in private. If you’re not in the same location as your manager, have the conversation over a video call, if possible.
Do not ask for a raise without setting an appointment on the calendar first. The best setting is a room with a closed door. Don’t discuss it in workplace common areas, such as a kitchen or hallway. If you can avoid it, don’t ask for a raise in an email.
If you have a performance review coming up, you may not need to expressly invite your manager to a meeting since that review may already be on the calendar. If you’re not asking for a raise during a performance review, you may want to put the meeting on the calendar at least two weeks in advance.
In either case, it’s good to let your manager know that you plan to discuss your compensation in this meeting. Here are some lines you can use in the meeting description or in an email.
“Would it be alright if we spent some time during my performance review discussing my compensation?”
“I’d like to set a short meeting to discuss my compensation. Please let me know if this time works for you.”
You should approach asking for a raise with the same level of seriousness you would have for a job interview or an important presentation, and you should dress accordingly. Even if your workplace has a relaxed dress code, consider dressing slightly more formally for this meeting. Your appearance can convey to your manager that you understand the significance of the conversation.
4. Prepare what to say
Before your meeting, you should prepare what you’re going to say to get a raise. Below, we’ve listed some guidelines and an example script.
Rehearse your script
As you’re preparing, it may be helpful to recognize that feelings of fear and anxiety are natural when discussing money. Writing and practicing a script is one way to manage those feelings. If you rehearse it enough, you’ll be able to stick to it even when you’re nervous. Throughout your script, focus on the professional rather than personal reasons why you deserve this raise.
Start with an opener
Begin your conversation by clearly stating the purpose of the meeting. You may consider opening lines such as:
“Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. In my current role, I’m excited to keep working toward key company goals and grow my personal responsibilities. As a result, I’d like to discuss my salary.”
“Thank you for taking this meeting. I’m excited to share some of my recent accomplishments with you and discuss my salary. Is now a good time for that?”
Follow up with specifics
If your manager is open to the conversation from there, follow up with specifics: tell them the increase or salary figure you’d like, cite the research you’ve done to arrive at that number, and close with examples of your work that justify a raise. When you give an example of your work, include a metric that makes the value clear. Here are some examples of accomplishments backed up by metrics:
“Over the last few months, I planned and then executed our largest client event to date. Attendee feedback significantly surpassed last year’s event satisfaction scores, averaging an 8 out of 10. Lead generation is also up 10% since last year.”
“I’ve consistently exceeded my sales quota, most recently reaching 128% of my monthly goal.”
Here’s an example script for asking for a raise:
"Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. In my current role, I’m excited to keep working towards key company goals and grow my personal responsibilities. As a result, I’d like to discuss my salary.
"Based on the research I’ve done, which includes looking at averages for my job title in this metro area and considering my tenure here, my years of experience and skill set, a salary increase of X% is appropriate.
"In the time since my last salary adjustment, I’ve worked on several initiatives that have added significant value to the company. For instance, in the last few months, I [insert example of your most impressive accomplishment]. These achievements have made me ready for a raise.
"Does that sound fair?"
Pro-tip: Throughout your pitch, avoid words that could undermine your position, such as: believe, feel, think, just, only and might. These words can make it seem you’re not feeling confident and if you convey uncertainty, your manager may become uncertain too. Go into this conversation knowing that you deserve a raise and communicate your confidence with strong words.
Related: Work From Home Jobs That Pay Well
5. Be ready for questions
If you’ve asked for a raise at a good time and given evidence that you deserve to be paid more, you should expect your manager to give your request careful consideration.
Further, you can expect them to ask you follow-up questions, such as inquiring about the details of your recent accomplishments or the salary research you’ve done.
You can also expect there to be some negotiation. Listen carefully to how your manager responds to your request. If you feel intimidated at any point, return back to your evidence to strengthen your case.
Ask your own questions to better understand where they’re coming from. Phrases such as “Can you tell me more about…” and “What I’m hearing…” can create space in the conversation for more understanding. Here’s an example of how a conversation may unfold:
Manager: "Thank you for that overview. While I agree that you’ve contributed a great deal to the company, a raise of X% may not be possible at this time."
Employee: "From my research, I’ve learned that X% is a reasonable increase and in line with what I've contributed. Can you tell me more about why that increase isn’t possible today?"
Manager: "That amount is not something I have in the budget right now but it’s something I could make a case for in the future."
Employee: "That makes sense. What I’m hearing is that you agree that my receiving a raise is appropriate but maybe not right now. How can I help you make that case in the near future?"
Of course, there is the possibility that you receive a rejection when you ask for a pay raise. In this case, you should learn more about why you are being rejected. Ask questions such as:
“Are there skills or accomplishments you’d like to see from me before increasing my compensation?”
“Are you satisfied with my performance overall?”
“Is there a better time for us to have this conversation in the near future?”
It’s also normal at this stage to negotiate the salary increase you initially suggested. You may need to ask for a lower amount if you are met by a lot of resistance.
If a pay raise doesn’t seem possible at this time, you may consider asking about other elements of your compensation, such as vacation time or flexible hours.
6. Thank your manager
Regardless of how the conversation about your pay request went, end it by thanking your manager for their time. Later that day or the next, send them a follow-up email that recaps your reasons for asking for a raise and includes a summary of the conversation you had.
If your manager needs to ask someone else about your raise, this email will make it easier for them to have a conversation on your behalf. If they reject your request for a raise, this email can serve as a record of the conversation. You might decide to request a raise again at a later date, and if you do, you can reference this email at that point.
If you feel you’re not being compensated fairly and aren’t making progress with your current employer, it may be time to look for a new job. On Indeed, you can research employers and see how they’re rated for compensation and benefits and job security/advancement, among other factors.
Related: How To Find the Best Jobs for You
Related: Salary Negotiation: How To Get a Raise
Tim, a congressional staff member, shares his winning tips for getting a significant salary increase from his employer.
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