Another year on the job has passed. You’ve made it through multiple staff changes, overtime, extra duties, priority shifts, new projects and impossible deadlines. You know you are a valued employee and think it’s time for a raise. Does your employer think so? Here are some ways to approach the often uncomfortable subject:

Consider the timing: Is your company in good financial shape? Have you experienced any recent cutbacks, reorganizations or downsizing? Companies rarely want to give up more money, but there are certain circumstances where raises may be out of the question. Evaluate how your company is doing before requesting a pay increase. Now, even if things are tight that doesn’t mean you can’t ask.

Take the right approach: Do you have regularly scheduled meetings with your boss? If not, determine the best way to bring up the topic of a raise. You may want to ask for a meeting with or without specifically stating you want to discuss salary. You could always be more general on the invite and title it something like “Career Discussion.” This is a conversation you don’t want to have over email.

Prove your value: When the meeting time arrives, you will need to state your case. Simply stating you need more money or you deserve more money without providing some proof won’t work. I would recommend preparing a few things before you have this conversation: 1) Find relevant and reliable salary data (salary.com, Glassdoor.com) to determine your value in the marketplace; 2) Outline all projects that have really stretched or gone beyond your original job description and include the positive results (money saved, time saved, etc.) Use as many numbers as possible; 3) State how you are doing the job better than others in the same role (if possible). This isn’t to devalue others, but to show how you do more with better results.

Even if you have all the right information and your employer knows how valuable you are, there still may not be funds to give you a raise. If that’s the case, you need to consider if you are happy enough in your role to continue at the same wage or are you ready to start looking for another opportunity that may be able to provide the salary you deserve. Or, you can always ask for other perks, such as additional vacation days, training opportunities, etc. You have to decide what is most important to you. Good luck!

Jill Kempka

About Jill Kempka


Jill loves to share information about ways to keep up with the changing world of work. She focuses on quick tips, facts and helpful lists to give job seekers tactics and advice they can immediately use.

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