How To Ask For A Raise

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Making ends meet involves both spending less and earning more.  I have an entire blog section devoted to saving money, so now let’s focus on earning more.  There are many things you can do to make that happen rather than just hope.  Here are tips on how to ask for a raise.

Getting a raise should be easier now that unemployment has come down and many industries are finding it harder to recruit staff.  Know that it is usually easier for companies to retain good staff than hire new people.  Your most important consideration is to ensure you are seen as one of the employees the boss wants to keep and reward.  Always do your best, bring value to the organization, work well with coworkers and customers, and ensure your boss knows the good work you do.

The first step is to do your research.  Ideally you should find out what coworkers are earning, or at least whether employees are getting raises, but many employers make this difficult so employees won’t be empowered with negotiating knowledge.  In that case, go to websites such as Payscale and Glassdoor to find averages or ranges.

But it may not happen if you don’t speak up.  A 2015 Payscale survey revealed that most employees do not speak up, but when they do, three-quarters get something.  Ladies, be aware that one of many reasons why women may earn less is that they may not speak up or negotiate as much.  This is especially harmful at the beginning of a career since subsequent salaries may be pegged to your previous salary, even when you switch companies.

Start the negotiations by email which gives both sides time to reflect.  An email gives your boss time to consult with HR or their boss.  It enables you to carefully spell out a clear list of how you bring value to the organization.  List any positive customer feedback, examples of going above and beyond, improvements you initiated, and problems solved, etc.

Be as specific as possible including how much raise or bonus you think is appropriate based upon your research of similar salaries.  Include a salary/raise range, starting with the number you really want.  This shows you have done research, but are flexible.  The first negotiator to get their number on the table sets the baseline for subsequent discussion.

After a while, follow up in person.  Pick a time the boss has time to discuss without quickly brushing you off and moving on.  Start with a general conversation before getting down to business.

So how to ask for a raise?  Ensure your performance though out the year brings value to the organization, do your research, make your case in a thoughtful email, and follow up at an appropriate time.  Surveys show most people are successful, but if not, reflect that people get the biggest raises when they switch jobs or companies which may be the best way to increase your pay.

About John Kimball

Over the past few decades, I have experienced most of these financial issues with both mistakes and successes. I sure wish someone had told me these things when I was first starting out. So many times I have cried out, "I want a do over!" when I learned a new financial lesson or tip. I aim to pass along to you the financial insights I have gained from experience, reading, analysis, and living the financial aspects of managing, saving, investing, and spending your money. I am an analyst with a large organization and happily married with two children on their way to an expensive college, no doubt. I read numerous financial blogs, websites, newsletters, magazines, newspapers, and books to bring you the latest news, insights, tips, and lessons combined with decades of experience.

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