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Five tips on how to ask for a pay raise

Written by

Shaun McGowan

Asking for a pay raise is a normal part of growing with a company. But let’s face it, it’s not easy.

Many of us are reluctant to do it, even though we know we deserve it and we really need it.

Why? Because we’re worried about seeming greedy. Or because it feels awkward initiating the conversation.

If you feel like that, you’re not alone. But rest assured that if you handle it properly, asking for a raise can be a pleasant exchange between you and your supervisor.

These five tips will help you navigate asking for a pay raise with confidence and charm.

1. Do your research

Before you do anything else, put time into researching your industry and the salaries of other employees in your position, either at your company or at companies like yours.

You will also want to consider your company’s salary structure.

For example, some companies have a cap on per cent increase to salary, so you should have good idea of what is a reasonable request before you set up a meeting.

Also, factor in your company’s evaluation, raise, and budget schedule. If your company performs employee evaluations and grants performance-based raises around the same time each year, it may be a good idea to put in your request a couple months in advance, so your employer will have time to consider your request.

2. Be proactive, all the time

You’re an invaluable asset to your company or department and you need to show that.

So, whenever you meet a big goal… or go above and beyond the call of duty for customer service or to make a sale… take a moment to share those achievements with your supervisor.

Eagerly accepting opportunities to take on more responsibility will show your employer that you’re a vital part of the team.

Be proactive all year round, and when the time comes to request a pay increase, your employer will already have a good idea of why you feel you’re worthy.

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3. Don’t make this common mistake

Many people base a request for a raise on the fact that they need the extra money. Your personal finances are not your employer’s concern.

What they need to know is why you deserve the raise.

Focus on what you do for the company that warrants a rise in pay.

Your employer will want to hear about your goals regarding your future with the company. Your short-term and long-term career goals are a great talking point to show that the company should invest in you and your future.

Your employer will be more apt to agree to your request if you present well-reasoned arguments as to why you deserve the pay increase – and what you plan to do to continue to earn it.

4. Use timing to your advantage

Remember that your boss is human too.

Pay attention to their mood and workload before you ask for a meeting. If your boss is having a hectic day and hasn’t had time to take a lunch break, they may not appreciate having to set aside time to discuss your pay – something that is reasonably a back-burner matter.

Consider the timing of your last pay increase. If it has been less than a year, you may want to wait to revisit the topic, unless there has been a drastic change in your level of responsibility within the workplace.

It’s a good idea to time your request on the heels of a win – such as meeting a sales goal or receiving a glowing customer review.

These small things can really weigh in on your employer’s decision.

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5. Be prepared

As well as doing your research and preparing solid reasons why you deserve a pay increase, you should also prepare yourself for a negative response.

The budget may not allow for a pay increase – or your employer may not agree that your performance warrants one.

If you don’t get the answer you’re hoping for, respectfully request more information from your employer.

Ask what you can do to earn a pay increase, if there are any higher paying positions you could work toward, or if there is any other way for you to advance further within the company. Accepting ‘no’ with a good grace and a positive attitude is a sure way to show your employer how dedicated you are to being a team player.

Oh, and if things go your way and your employer is receptive to your request, be ready with a number in mind that you’d happily accept – but be prepared to negotiate and compromise.

Rehearsing the conversation is a great way to prepare for the meeting and ensure that you remain calm and assertive.

You may even want to prepare a short list of your achievements and responsibilities for your employer to look at after your meeting, if they need to discuss your request with another department or supervisor – or just need more time to consider your request.


Asking for a pay rise is a scary prospect – but if you follow these five simple steps, you’ll really boost your chances of success.

What’s more, you’ll showcase your talents and put yourself in line for future advancement in the workplace.

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About the Author

Shaun McGowan from



Shaun McGowan

Shaun is the founder of and is determined to help people pay as little as possible for financial products. Through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded and Lend.


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