How to Ask Your Employer for a Raise

How to Ask Your Employer for a Raise

How to Ask Your Employer for a Raise

If you have been working for the same company for a couple of years and have not yet received a pay rise, it might be time to take the initiative and ask for one yourself.

Requesting a raise can feel daunting, but it is important to take responsibility for your career progress and ask for the level of remuneration you feel is proportionate and deserved.

If you do not feel confident enough to lodge a request, you may be missing an opportunity.

Working in a role in which you feel underpaid and underappreciated will only lead you to become resentful and discontented with your job.

The best way of initiating a conversation around salary is to submit a formal request.

You will need to follow up any written request with a one-on-one meeting with your manager, but a written request is a professional way of initially lodging your desire for greater remuneration.

Also, if you are nervous about raising the subject, a written request can help you to broach it in a structured and non-confrontational manner, open opportunities for discussion and include clear evidence in support of it.

It also avoids putting your manager on the spot, giving them a chance to duly consider the ask.

Moreover, a request in writing is required to be taken seriously and further correspondence or conversation on the topic would be expected.

A written request will also be kept on file, regardless of the outcome, providing a record.

This article will talk you through what to consider when writing a pay rise request and how to make a strong case, to give you the best chance of being considered for a raise.

What to Do Before Asking for a Raise

Before asking for a raise, make sure you are prepared to have an evidence-based conversation around your request.

First, it is worth finding out how your salary matches up to the average for your role and experience level.

You can find out if you are being underpaid by comparing the salary data using the following resources:

Compare your existing wage to these salary trends. Use them to gather relevant data showing your raise request is in line with the industry average for someone with your experience, skills and role.

It may also be worth inquiring with your HR department as to how pay raises at the company are calculated.

Next, review your responsibilities and performance in the role.

Think about what you have achieved for the company over the time you have worked there and why this indicates you are worthy of a raise.

Try to consider your achievements quantitatively, pulling out headlines with numbers if possible, such as a percentage of increased sales, the number of new clients brought in or projects successfully delivered.

Consider what is most prized by your firm and illustrate how you have delivered against that metric – companies tend to respond to requests written in the same language they speak.

By ensuring you have done enough research to back up your request, you will be in a stronger position to intelligently challenge any comments or questioning about the sector/role appropriate level of your current wage.

When Is the Right Time to Ask for a Raise?

When requesting a raise, consider the appropriateness of your timing. It may have a great bearing on the outcome of your request.

If the company has been under recent financial strain, it may not be the best time to ask for a raise. Your request may be viewed as simply unviable or, worse, insensitive.

If, however, it has just secured a new account and is growing and positive about the future, this may be your time.

If management has recently seen good progress, they should be more open to recognizing their employees’ skills and investing in their job satisfaction, as this will also feed progress.

Do also pay attention to smaller factors like your manager’s workload or current level of satisfaction. Submitting a raise request to someone who is feeling over-worked and burnt out may damage your chances of a positive response.

It is also sensible to consider the timing in the context of your own work. Have you just completed a well-received project or signed a new client?

Recent achievements in your performance make a good backdrop for a raise request.

If your annual review is soon, your raise request may sit well with this process.

If, however, it is mid-year and salary reviews form a normal part of an annual review process, it is likely better to adhere to the structure and hold off on your raise request.

If applicable, consider how long it has been since your last raise.

Company culture will dictate the time frame for salary reviews but, in general, a year or more should have elapsed before submitting a request for a further increase.

Three Key Things to Include in Your Raise Request

These key points will strengthen your request, encouraging action and, at the very least, acknowledgment.

1. Assess and Include Qualifications, Awards and Accomplishments

Include a clear indication of the value you bring to the company.

The best way to do this is to highlight any professional qualifications you have achieved during your time at the company, alongside any awards or major accomplishments.

These will differ depending on your career sector and role but may include being certified by a professional management organization or industry body, successful publications, securing funding for new projects, repeatedly hitting targets, or receiving internal acclaim or outside press for your work.

These quantified achievements will help to demonstrate why your work stands out and merits a pay rise.

2. Research and State an Exact Figure, Percentage or Salary Range

In your request letter, be clear about what it is you are asking for. A specific request is more likely to be taken seriously and, in stating a salary figure or percentage rise, you are less likely to receive a counter offer well below what you would be willing to accept.

If you are unsure of the company’s financial flexibility and therefore uncomfortable committing to an exact figure, include a salary range instead.

It is sensible to pitch your desired salary figure slightly above what you would be happy with, to act as a safeguard. It may help alleviate some of the impact of inevitable comprise during negotiation.

3. Request a Meeting to Discuss Your Raise Request

Do not leave the next step open or ambiguous. Ask for a meeting to discuss your raise request further.

This will help to ensure your request does not get lost or put off to some unspecified future time.

If you have access to shared calendars, suggest a date and time which appears free.

What Not to Include in Your Raise Request

It is best to avoid the following in your pay rise request:

  • Comparing your salary using any insights you might have into the pay-level of your colleagues.

  • Using the length of time you have been at the company as the main justification for your raise.

  • A negative tone – complaining about your current salary and any lack of appreciation you may be feeling.

If your raise request is rejected, thank management for considering your request and be patient. Do not react negatively and risk your working relationships or the chance of a future raise.

Even if you decide you are unhappy continuing to work at the same salary level, remember you will still need your manager to write you a good reference.

How to Write Your Raise Request Letter

Once you have conducted your salary research and noted your achievements, it is time to craft your written raise request.

This section will guide you through how to write the request step-by-step and will provide examples.

Your letter should be formal and professional in tone and language, regardless of whether you usually have a more informal relationship with your manager.

In the decision-making process, it will likely go beyond your manager and will also remain on file after the request is resolved.

Who Should You Submit the Raise Request To?

You should submit your raise request to the person who manages salary decisions for your team, such as your manager or the head of your department.

If you are line managed by an individual who does not have those responsibilities, it is still best practice to approach them first and indicate your intentions.

Be wary of going above someone’s head and causing unnecessary friction.

Be transparent about your request and ensure it reaches the desk/inbox of the person who can action it.

It is now most common to send your salary request letter as an email attachment. Ensure the attached letter is formatted correctly and professional both in appearance and tone.

Opening Paragraph – Introduction of Yourself and Your Request

In the first paragraph of your request, clearly outline the reason for the letter, your role, how long you have been at the company and briefly why you believe your work warrants a raise.

For example:

Dear Bill,

I have greatly enjoyed working for ABC Consulting over the last three years. During my time here I have become a key part of the team, working across all our specialist areas and delivering consistent results. As my annual performance review approaches, I am writing to request a review of my current salary in tandem.

Paragraph Two – Your Achievements

List out your achievements in the role, including any qualifications, awards or accomplishments. These should be succinctly conveyed and quantified where possible.

Do not assume management knows about the detail of your work or successes. Sell yourself by highlighting your top accomplishments for the company using percentages, figures and time frames.

If possible, indicate how your work has positively impacted the company’s bottom line.

If you can present the case that you are a valuable asset, your request has a better chance of being heeded and approved.

Including your achievements as a bullet point list calls attention to the content and makes them easier to read and absorb.

For example:

My notable contributions over the last year alone include:

  • Securing $200,000 of funding for two new community engagement projects – including salaried coordinators.
  • Attracting two new high-profile clients to the company – Hope Housing & Bay Construction.
  • The completion of CPD to gain the next level of professional certification, bringing increased kudos to the expertise of the company.
  • I exceeded the benchmarks set in my last performance review within the first quarter of this financial year.
How to Ask Your Employer for a Raise
How to Ask Your Employer for a Raise

Paragraph Three – What You Are Seeking

After listing your accomplishments to indicate your value to the company in paragraph two, the third paragraph of your letter should include what pay raise you are seeking – as an exact figure, percentage or range.

Keep this short and to the point. Make it is clear what you are asking for from management. Back up your requested amount by referencing your research into salary trends.

If you feel you are being underpaid, you may wish to highlight the discrepancy between your current pay and the average industry wage for your level and region.

But remember that drawing direct comparisons between you and your co-workers can cause unnecessary friction.

For example:

Considering these achievements and the benefit to the company, I would like to request a salary increase of 5%. This raise would bring my salary in line with the regional industry expectations for an individual with my responsibilities and experience.

Paragraph Four – Call to Action

The final paragraph should request a meeting to discuss your salary increase – to ensure your request is furthered – and a polite sign off.

For example:

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my salary increase further, at a time convenient for you. I am content to wait until my performance review in a fortnight or to attend a separate meeting if this is deemed more appropriate.

I would like to express my gratitude for the support and opportunities I have been given since I joined ABC and I look forward to continuing to play a valued role in the company’s evolution and expansion.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my request and I hope to confirm a follow-up meeting date soon.

Sincerely,

Beverley

How to Prepare for a Meeting About Your Raise

Once you have submitted your request – including asking for a follow-up meeting to discuss it further - you will (hopefully) have a meeting time set by your manager.

Here are four tips for preparing for your in-person meeting:

  • Try and put the nerves aside – Conversations about salary are commonly reported as uncomfortable by both employees and employers. You have done your research and opened the floor for a natural conversation about your salary. Remain strong in the belief that you deserve the raise you requested; let that give you the confidence to sell yourself.

This article on general interview advice may help.

  • Be clear on your request – Be ready to reiterate what you would like and give a brief explanation of the research that led you to settle upon that figure.

  • Keep your achievements in your mind – It is important to remember the accomplishments you highlighted in your written request. Be prepared to expand on these to back up your case. It is also sensible to have further examples ready to illustrate your value just in case.

  • Be prepared to negotiate – All salary meetings will involve an element of negotiation. If you are told the raise is not feasible, enquire as to why and whether a compromise is possible. The response could indicate a raise may be possible in the future. If so, ask what you can do to strengthen your case then, such as further skills or accomplishments. If you are met with great resistance to your pay raise, consider other benefits you may be able to secure in lieu of your increase, such as extra annual leave, a flexible working arrangement or paying for a course to gain you a new qualification.

Example Raise Request Letter

Here is the full raise request letter:

Dear Bill,

I have greatly enjoyed working for ABC consulting over the last three years. During my time here I have become a key part of the team, working across all our specialist areas, and delivering consistent results. As my annual performance review approaches, I am writing to request a review of my current salary in tandem.

My notable contributions over the last year alone include:

  • Securing $200,000 of funding for two new community engagement projects – including salaried coordinators.
  • Attracting two new high-profile clients to the company – Hope Housing & Bay Construction.
  • The completion of CPD to gain the next level of professional certification, bringing increased kudos to the expertise of the company.
  • I exceeded the benchmarks set in my last performance review within the first quarter of this financial year.

Considering these achievements and the benefit to the company, I would like to request a salary increase of 5%. This raise would bring my salary in line with the regional industry expectations for an individual with my responsibilities and experience.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my salary increase further, at a time convenient for you. I am content to wait until my performance review in a fortnight or to attend a separate meeting if this is deemed more appropriate.

I would like to express my gratitude for the support and opportunities I have been given since I joined ABC and I look forward to continuing to play a valued role in the company’s evolution and expansion.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my request and I hope to confirm a follow-up meeting date soon.

Sincerely,

Beverley

Final Thoughts

Submitting a raise request outlining the value you bring to your company is the best way of initiating a conversation around salary increase.

Do your research around average industry salaries and carefully review your achievements in the role so you can confidently support your request.

A letter that is clear and proportionate in its asks and strongly evidences the strength of your work stands a much greater chance of securing a meeting for further discussion.

Once you have an outcome from your request, whether positive or negative, it is a good idea to get confirmation in writing. This provides a paper trail for the process and will either help to get your raise actioned sooner or aid subsequent raise requests.

If your raise request is unsuccessful, remember that there will be opportunities to make your request again.

Taking the chance and asking for a raise puts you in a stronger position regardless of the outcome, as opening a dialogue about salary means you can discuss what you can do to increase your chances of securing a raise next time around.

Also, assertiveness is generally viewed as a positive trait by employers.

Expressing your desire for a raise also means your employer is aware of your dissatisfaction regarding remuneration and will hopefully seek to ensure a request can be approved in the future.

If, however, your current role is proving to have little chance of promotion and no funds are available to invest in your skills development, it may well be time to move on to a role in which you can gain the career progression needed for job satisfaction and growth.


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