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What Is the Professional Way of Asking for a Salary Increase?

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To increase your chance of getting a salary increase, you must prove that you are worth it. If you performed below your company's standards, a raise may be difficult to come by. If you did a satisfactory job or your salary is lower than the average market value for your position, you should request an increase. Asking for a raise can seem intimidating. However, if you do it professionally, you can maintain a productive relationship with your boss.

Market Value

Before you approach your boss, find out the market value for your job. View salary surveys by professional organizations in your field, or use a career website to obtain your salary range. You can use a salary comparison website, which breaks down the data by job title, industry and geographic location. The information reveals what employers in your area are paying for your position. Alternatively, check with your human resources department about the salary range for your position. Note that employers usually prefer to pay employees at the middle point of the range to avoid paying too much or too little for the position.

Financial Health

Gauging the company’s financial health can help you decide whether it is a good time to ask for a raise. If the company trades publicly, review quarterly earnings statements reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission. For a private company, look at whether there have been layoffs or steep reductions in expenses. Find out if there are positions that have remained unfilled after employees leave the company. If your company is struggling financially and money is an issue, hold off on asking for an increase.

Time Frame

Some of the best times to ask for a raise are right after you have successfully finished a major project, resolved a significant issue or assumed new responsibilities. Request the increase before your annual evaluation, as salary decisions are usually approved before the actual review date. Several days in advance, go to your boss and explain that you would like to schedule a meeting to discuss your job performance and salary history.

Presenting Your Case

Explain your case objectively to your boss. Avoid begging, comparing yourself with your employees or displaying negativity about not receiving a raise. Show her how you met significant achievements and provide supporting documentation, such as positive feedback you received from coworkers and customers. If your salary is below your market value, show proof through your research. According to Business Insider, a "cost of living" increase is generally around three percent a year, so you can ask for that amount. Request more if you believe your responsibilities are worth it, but keep the amount reasonable to avoid seeming greedy or demanding.

Responding to Rejection

If your boss refuses your request, politely accept his decision. Ask him when he thinks a raise will be possible or what you need to do to make it happen. Resist the urge to turn down extra responsibilities just because you did not receive a raise at the moment. Accept extra responsibilities, provided the fact that a raise is in the foreseeable future. You can then negotiate a raise with the extra responsibilities you carry.


Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.

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