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How to Ask for a Raise at Work

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When & How to Ask Your Boss for a Raise

Inflation is rising much faster than we’d all like. Every dollar you make just isn’t worth as much as it was a few years ago. If you need more cash with each paycheck, it’s oftentimes easier (and wiser for your career) to ask for a raise rather than look for a new job, which can be time-consuming and possibly fruitless.

But asking for a raise is no small task. Many of us find it tough to bring up the topic of money at work, especially when we ask for more of it from our bosses. But knowing how to ask for a raise at work is one of the core skills you’ll need to advance in your career.

The squeaky wheel, as they say, gets the grease! So, let’s break down how you can ask for a raise at work when you decide your paycheck isn’t as big as it should be.

When to ask for a pay raise

The secret to securing a pay raise at work lies just as much in knowing when to ask for a raise as it does in knowing how to discuss the topic in the first place. The best times to ask for a raise at work are:

When your lifestyle needs it. It’s common practice in many organizations to offer pay raises to new parents, for example. Other examples of a lifestyle change that could justify a pay increase would be if your rent gets raised, your house needs repairs, or your spouse loses their job, and you become the sole income provider for the time being.


family with piggy bank

Is there a “wrong” time to ask for a raise?

Yes, and asking at the wrong time can diminish your odds of hitting a pay bump in the near future! To avoid seeming insensitive or irritating your boss, don’t ask for a raise:

How to negotiate a pay raise

Asking for a raise is an exercise in both strategy and charisma. Even if you’re asking for a raise for the first time, you can successfully get a pay increase – provided you prepare ahead of time!

Have a number in mind

For starters, always plan to ask for a specific amount with your raise. The last thing your boss wants to hear is that you want more money and to earn a higher salary, but you don’t know how much you deserve. Instead, do your research and have a specific raise percentage or dollar amount in mind from the moment you walk into your boss’s door.

How much of a raise should you ask for?

It depends!

Pay raise standards can vary by industry, employee seniority, and more. That said, average pay raises are usually around 3%. Calculate whether your standard yearly pay raise is 3% – if so, consider asking for a pay raise between 4% and 5% instead.

If you want much more than this – say, a 10% to 20% raise – you need to have a good reason! Have a lot of evidence to support your assertion that you deserve such a significant pay increase before setting up a meeting with your boss.

If you don’t know the average pay for someone in your position, do some research. You can use raise calculators or public salary data sets from sites like Payscale to get a basic idea of what you deserve based on your job title or job description.

Schedule a meeting

Never ask for a raise by interrupting your boss during their daily routine or duties. Instead, schedule a meeting with your boss sometime in the next week. Not only does this give them (and you) time to prepare, but it also ensures that your boss will be in the right frame of mind when they hear your raise request.

woman has a meeting


List your accomplishments

When the meeting finally rolls around, dive right into your accomplishments and accolades. If you’ve won awards for workplace performance, mention them! Break out spreadsheets of your numbers and try to nail down, in dollars or other exact numbers, just how much value you’ve brought to your company.

The more information you can provide about what you bring to the table, the better. A boss might be more inclined to grant you a raise if you can prove that you deserve it.

Reference past performance reviews

Similarly, present your boss with past annual reviews that describe your stellar performance, attitude, and more. In fact, you can prep for your raise meeting even more by asking for performance reviews or letters of recommendation from direct supervisors, such as department managers.

Act confidently

Perhaps most important of all when it comes to asking for a raise is self-assurance. Make eye contact with your boss, speak clearly, and state what you want plainly and directly. In other words, act confident! Confidence is key to securing a raise at work.

If your boss believes that you believe you deserve a raise, they might grant you that raise even if they’re personally on the fence. It’s often worthwhile for a company to pay an excellent employee a little more and keep them on the roster than it is to tempt them to look elsewhere.

The Key to Increasing Your Salary

As you can see, asking for a raise takes some time. Even if you’re approved, you won’t see that pay increase until your next payday, or perhaps the one after. If you need quick funds in the meantime to pay for unexpected circumstances such as car repairs, or even a vacation to take that much-deserved PTO, your local Regional Finance office may be able to help.

The information and materials provided on this website are intended for informational purposes only and should not be treated as an offer or solicitation of credit or any other product or service of Regional Finance or any other company. This website may contain links to websites controlled or offered by third parties. We have not reviewed all of the third-party sites linked to this website and are not responsible for the content, products, privacy policy, security, or practices of any linked third-party website. The inclusion of any third-party link does not imply any endorsement by Regional Finance of the linked third party, its website, or its product or services. Use of any third-party website is at your own risk.

Sources accessed – 6/22/2022 – What is an Average Cost of Living Raise? Definition and How to Calculate

Investopedia – Salary Secrets: What is the Average Raise Percentage?

Payscale – Salary Data & Market Pricing


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