When to Ask for a Raise

When to Ask for a Raise

It can be challenging to know when and how to ask for a raise when you feel underpaid. It’s essential to do your research and develop an organized plan that demonstrates why you deserve more significant compensation.

Undoubtedly, it can be an intimidating conversation to have. We’re rarely encouraged to toot our horns. But with some tips, you can successfully approach the conversation with confidence.

When It’s Time to Have the Compensation Conversation

The decision to ask for a raise is not one to be taken lightly. It would be best to consider several factors before making your requests, such as the state of the economy and your company’s financial health.

Additionally, timing is everything when it comes to asking for a raise. You don’t want to ask too early in your tenure or during a time of financial duress. Taking an organized approach can help ensure your success.

Begin With Research

Before engaging in any salary negotiation, you must do your research and know the industry standard for your field. This way, you can enter into the conversation armed with data and have a clear idea of what salary you should be aiming for. There are several resources available that can help you to determine the going rate for your particular skill set and experience level. You can explore websites, such as Glassdoor, Payscale, and Salary.com. You can also explore job postings for similar roles with salaries listed or talk to recruiters in your field.

Once you have a good understanding of the market value of your labor, you can begin to formulate your expectations. With this information, you will be better prepared to engage in a productive conversation about your salary. Remember that this should be a collaborative conversation, and you’ll have better results with a salary range rather than a specific amount, as you’ll appear more flexible and less demanding.

Plan Your Timing Strategically

Timing is everything. An ideal time to ask for a raise is usually during your annual performance review or even about a month or two before that. This allows you to discuss your recent accomplishments and why you feel you deserve a raise. It also allows your employer to see that you’re mindful of your career momentum. And you’ll convey that you’re organized and focused on achieving the next steps in your career development.

On the other hand, asking for a raise at the wrong time, such as during times of financial hardship for the company, can often result in frustration and potentially damage your relationship with your employer. You also want to be wary of asking during times of transition, such as new leadership or a lot of department reorganizing. Let the dust settle before broaching the subject. Otherwise, you’ll appear as self-focused, rather than a team player.

Prepare for Your Meeting

Take the time to prepare thoroughly, so you don’t appear to be asking on a whim. That includes giving your manager a heads-up about the topic so they’re also ready. You should always come prepared with facts to support your request. Remember that your boss generally has at least one team they oversee and often won’t realize what individual contributions you’re making. This is why it’s great to help them discover that your worth has grown with specific examples.

Consider whether any of the following examples apply, and use them to support your request.

  • You made significant contributions recently.
  • Your role has expanded.
  • Your title changed.
  • You had a yearly anniversary.
  • You received a job offer.
  • You’ve gained industry knowledge or skills, bringing more value to your contributions.

Present Your Proposal

Now that you have your research and information lined up, here’s an example of how you might put that information together for the conversation.

I feel that my industry knowledge and skills have grown and resulted in several meaningful wins for the team. As an example, I recently had the opportunity to contribute when working on a pitch for [XYZ Company]. As a result of my contribution, we won the account and got the project off to a strong start. It was a great feeling to be able to help out in such a significant way, and I’m looking forward to continued opportunities to contribute to my team’s success in the future.

Offer Alternatives

There will be times when your boss genuinely feels that you deserve a raise, but it’s simply not an option currently. Take that opportunity to continue negotiations, such as asking to revisit the subject within a specified time frame. Or, perhaps, the budget won’t support a raise, but could you negotiate for flex time, additional vacation time, or the chance to work from home?

Consider Your Options

The good news is, according to a survey conducted by Payscale, 70% of employees who asked for a raise were offered one. The bad news is, there’s a possibility that you might be in the 30% that get denied. After hearing the company’s reasons for turning you down, you’ll need to determine your next move.

Are you willing to do so if they suggest waiting for a specific time frame, such as when the subsequent quarterly or annual budgets are determined? What if they say no and are unwilling to offer a raise? If you’ve done your research and genuinely feel that you’re not fairly compensated, it might be time to consider finding a new job. And this time around, ensure that you include salary negotiations as a step in your job search process.

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