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How to Ask for a Raise

Asking for a raise is intimidating. So intimidating that, as a recent study conducted by found, nearly 60% of employees report that they were too afraid to ask for a raise. Of those who didn’t ask for a raise, 43% of employees said they believed their request would be rejected. Another 28% said they didn’t ask because they were worried about being demoted or even fired. And yet, this same report found that no employers reported firing or demoting an existing employee simply for requesting a pay increase.

Asking for a raise can make anyone anxious, but the source of that anxiety comes from paranoia rather than any reasonable fears. And one thing is certain - if you can’t get over your worries over what might happen, you definitely won’t get a raise. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Fortune favors the brave, so here are some tips on how to be brave and ask for that raise.

Read the Room

Just like anything else in business, the timing of your request for a raise is extremely important. Your request for a raise is less likely to be successful if your company is struggling financially or has had cutbacks. Try to time your request after a big win at work, such as bringing in a new client, the successful completion of a big project (especially one that saves the company money), or when you’ve received recognition and/or more responsibility.

Evaluate your Performance Honestly

Before you talk to your manager about a raise, take an honest look at your work performance. Where have you succeeded? What can you improve? Do you really believe you’ve earned a raise? You are the first person you need to convince that you deserve a raise, so an open evaluation of your work and your performance are essential. If you aren’t convinced you’ve earned a raise, you won’t be successful at convincing anyone else. If you’re convinced, don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Do your Research

When you ask for a raise, your manager will expect you to propose an amount. Make sure that you review sites like, Glassdoor, and Payscale for information on what other people with your background and in your industry are being paid. The information you get from these websites will help you to know what to ask for when you request a raise.

Prepare a Presentation

Approach your request for a raise as you would any work presentation. Develop an outline to use when you make your request and include talking points, including any kudos and official recognition you’ve received. Don’t be afraid to sing your own praises.

Just like any important presentation, you should practice with a friend or a colleague before you meet with your boss. By practicing and preparing to make your request, you will be more likely to sound relaxed and confident, and your request is more likely to be successful.

Schedule a Meeting to Discuss your Request

When you’re ready to request a raise, be sure to schedule a meeting with your boss. This isn’t a conversation that should be had in the elevator or between meetings. Make sure that you have adequate time to present your request to your boss, and that your boss has enough time to listen to you without worrying that they’re going to be late for a meeting.

Be Positive and Upbeat

Begin the conversation on a positive note. Mention how much you enjoy your job, what you’ve accomplished, and what you would like to accomplish going forward. Treat your request as you would any other business proposition and focus on your value to the company rather than your feelings. Remember, you’ve worked hard and deserve this increase, so don’t be shy about asking for it.

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