Guide: How to ask for a pay raise?

Guide: How to ask for a pay raise?

Begin by carrying out a research

As much as we would all love to earn a six figure salary yearly, your boss won’t hand it over just because…. Rather, find out if you’re being paid a fair wage within company standards by chatting with your colleagues and asking how much they earn.

If that approach yields little or no result, you can turn to job adverts to ascertain the amount paid by competitors for similar job roles. After that, have a discussion with your boss first before taking it up with the HR department. They are usually in a better position to inform you about company practices as regards salary reviews.

The importance of research cannot be overemphasised. You can avail yourself of the various salary checkers online. Also, study roles advertised in the industry and compare salaries offered with qualifications and experience.

Timing is everything

Avoid bringing up this topic during your boss’s busiest period of the week. And that includes Monday mornings and Friday afternoons as well. He’ll be too preoccupied with more pressing issues on Monday and by Friday afternoons would be shutting down for the week.

Be on the lookout for when he’s more relaxed and kindly request a meeting at his earliest convenience. When your boss is rushing off to a meeting or attending to major issues are certainly not the best time to bring up a pay raise. They will surely prioritize other things.

It might work in your favour to let your boss know your reason for requesting a meeting if he’s the kind that would want to know. Otherwise it’s okay to save the details for later.

Choose a comfortable meeting area

Your boss is likely to appear domineering if he’s sitting on an imposing chair. Arrange to meet in neutral place if possible and get your boss a chair that’s very comfortable.

There’s a higher tendency that your manager will be more receptive to your demands if he’s relaxed. Depending on the nature of your relationship, you may also want to explore having the meeting outside the office to somewhere more casual and relaxed. Just ensure your meeting is in a place where there won’t be any interruptions.

Look the part

If we lived in an ideal world, employees would be assessed based on their skills and commitment only. However, the reality is that even the managers are somewhat overstretched and could make irrational decisions about people. Be sure to maintain a persona, behaviour and appearance that portrays you in a good way.

It makes no sense for you to get all dressed up for this one meeting but be known to dress shabbily at other times. Your appearance hugely influences how well you do your job and other people’s perception of same. A wise saying goes thus, “dress for the job you want and not for the job you have”.

State your reasons clearly

You must clearly communicate how you have performed more than is required of you according to your job description, using examples to buttress your points. Support your claim by highlighting instances where you’ve displayed initiative, supported the business or helped make it better. Keep in mind that this meeting is strictly business, your aim is to sell to your boss that you deserve to earn a higher income.


When you’re done speaking, allow your manager respond. You must carefully choose your words when speaking. “I’m not paid enough” ï have bills…” are certainly not phrases that’ll get you any marks. Do not be confrontational. Try saying that you’ve been thinking about your responsibilities and would like it to reflect in your salary. Then seek their opinion. Asking your manager an open-ended question gives him/her the opportunity to respond.

Reaffirm your commitment

Irrespective of how the discussion ends, make sure you reassure your boss of your commitment to the job. Most times, in conversations like this, people tend to get very aggressive or defensive leaving the boss with no other choice than to react. Your boss will be relaxed if you are!

Remain calm

Maintain a calm posture throughout the discussion. Crying about your financial problems will not yield any positive result and is very unattractive so keep it out of the conversation.

Also, threatening to resign if your pay isn’t increased is not very smart. If and when you decide to resign your employment, do it gently and discreetly without throwing tantrums.

Get creative

Creatively explore other ways by which you can augment your earnings should your request be turned down. For instance, find out if it’s possible to work from home some days and this could save you some money on transportation cost.

Your employer may not be able to offer you a pay raise but may be willing to give you other things. If extra hours is the reason you’re asking for a salary increment, perhaps your work schedule can be reviewed?

Put it in writing

Whatever you both may have agreed on, it’s important to back it up with some form of documentation. A simple email highlighting key points may suffice.

The content of the mail can go thus; “thank you for giving me audience to discuss…. You recommended that I bring up a salary review in 6 months and…..” etc. This is clearly written down for future reference. There’s also a possibility of backdating your salary when it’s eventually increased but don’t expect too much.

Listen attentively

There’s always a chance your request for salary increase will be turned down. Graciously ask why and then listen. Feedback is important. It’ll let you know what you should do differently and will also help you carry out your duties better going forward. You should also see the meeting as a learning opportunity so that even if you don’t get what you’re asking for, you learn something that will help you do better next time.

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