When was the last time you asked for a salary increase? If your answer is “never,” you’re not alone; a recent survey revealed that less than half of all employees have asked for a raise in their current field. However, just because you’re in good company doesn’t mean you want to belong to this group.
Since the late 1980s, companies have been spending increasingly less money on employee raises (and extra perks aren’t making up the difference). The gender pay gap might be even wider than we thought, and the chasm continues to grow when we analyze the data focusing on wages for women of color. So, the onus is on you to ask for what you deserve, and strategize appropriately so you can give yourself every advantage throughout the process. Here are our best tips for asking for the raise you deserve.
- Start building the framework for your ask several months in advance. If you don’t already have a regularly scheduled feedback meeting with your superiors, this is a great time to get that on the books. During these conversations, you should use some of the time to highlight your accomplishments, ask for creative feedback, and brainstorm growth opportunities. Start planting the “I deserve a raise” seeds long before you actually ask the question, and your boss will start seeing you as a highly productive team member who is worthy of a salary bump.
- Set up a meeting to discuss your request. Most companies are only offering small cost-of-living or merit-based raises (if they even offer them at all). If you’re looking for a significant increase in your take-home pay, you’ll likely have to directly ask for it. If your company makes pay decisions on a regular schedule (for instance, everyone gets their annual 2% raise in the spring), schedule your meeting a few months in advance so your supervisors can have the chance to work your ask into their budget.
- Provide concrete data when it comes to the value you add to your company. During this meeting, the focus shouldn’t be on what you want to do for the company, but what you already have done. This is not the time to be modest. Come prepared with a list of accomplishments you’d like to highlight and direct links to how they serve the company’s broader mission. Even better, bring along measurable data – for instance, if you met 125% of last quarter’s sales goals, or brought in $400k in grant funding for your team’s project, use this information to clearly demonstrate the value of your work.
- Come prepared with a thoughtful ask. Before you ask for a raise, do your homework. What do other people with your level of training and job responsibility generally make? Don’t forget that salaries can vary drastically based on location and size of the company. By completing market research, you’ll be able to ask for a number that is reasonable and in line with what you could expect to be offered.
- Leave your personal needs out of it. You might be finally taking the leap and asking for a raise because you’re in a financial bind, or a family member is ill and you’re taking over some of their bills. Even though these can be emotionally wrought topics, keep your own personal situation out of your ask for a raise. Your employer is ultimately concerned with what you bring to the table as a member of the team, not with your dwindling bank account. (And, by all means, when you get that raise- celebrate your success and get yourself out of your financial bind!)
By following these steps, you’ll be able to thoughtfully and reasonably ask for the salary bump you deserve. Trust us – your bank account will thank you.