How to Ask for a Raise

By Staff

Asking for a raise can be stressful. Being prepared will help you to focus on what you want. Here are some tips and suggestions on how to ask your employer for a raise.

Be Realistic:

What are people doing your job getting paid? If you have a good idea of what those in your industry are being paid, you can make a fair assessment of what your salary should be. Keep in mind that a $60,000 salary being paid to someone in Toronto is very different from a $60,000 salary being paid to someone in Nova Scotia. Salary scales and rates vary from area to area and you might not make as much if you live in a smaller area. Adjust your expectations accordingly.

Do You Deserve a Raise?

Of course, we all feel like we're worth a lot, but simply working at the same rate of pay for a certain amount of time doesn't necessarily mean you deserve a raise. Just showing up for work and doing what's required of you doesn't necessarily entitle you to ask for a raise. Make a list of your accomplishments and why you deserve a raise. It will go a long way to justifying your request if you can concretely show your boss why you are valuable to the company.

Decide What You Want:

Are you looking for a certain percent wage increase? Decide what rate you'd like, and be prepared to negotiate. Conventional negotiations usually suggest that you start with a little more than you want, then be prepared to accept a little less. Though it's tempting to ask for a lot inititally, be careful because you risk being turned down altogether.

If your company isn't prepared to pay you what you want, have a back-up plan that includes either no wage increase or a smaller wage increase, plus more vacation time, paid days off, or other perks. This is a good plan that might get you a little bit of what you want, especially if you know your boss is going to say he cannot afford to pay you any more money.

Pick The Right Time:

Scheduling a meeting with your boss right after a budget restraint seminar is probably not the best time. Pick a time when you know your boss will be relaxed and in a good mood. Make sure there aren't any stressful situations occuring at the office at the time you want to ask for a raise. Pick a time that's opportune for you too, such as after you've just successfully completed a big project, or during a favourable employee review.

Make Your Case:

Present your case professionally and with confidence. Don't let it get personal by telling your boss what you need the money for. It's not your boss's problem that you need more money. Never get angry or present ultimatums to your boss. Instead, prepare your case. Have all the documentation you need to back-up your request. Focus on your own achievements. Don't worry about what others in your office are getting paid. Be clear about what you want and be prepared to substantiate your claims of being a valuable employee with hard facts. If you're in sales, show your employer that you've met or exceeded your quotas. If you're in the service industry, present your boss with favourable customer reviews or examples of how you went beyond your job description to help a client.


If you don't get what you want initially, ask for suggestions from your employer as to what they could provide you with instead.

If your boss decides to review your case and delays a decision, suggest a time frame for meeting again. This will help keep your request in the forefront of your boss's mind, and your boss will know that eventually, your request will have to be addressed and resolved.

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