When to Ask for a Raise in Your Current Role
When looking at the budget and trying to find ways to improve the financial outlook, one of the first areas of focus is income. While you cannot out-earn poor spending habits, increasing your income can help you to kickstart debt payoff and savings that will help you to avoid going further into debt in the future.
Many people automatically look outside of their current position for ways to increase their income, considering new industries and perhaps going back to school to get a degree in a different area. But the quickest way to increase your income, whether or not your five-year plan includes moving into a new line of work or going back to school, is to ask for a raise.
However, this process is rarely as simple as walking in and demanding more money. It takes preparation, a plan, and an educated determination about what you can ask for that will get you the best possible outcome. Here’s how to ask for a raise and the best time to do it.
Don’t Rush Asking for a Raise
Emotional requests and poorly researched requests for a raise will be unlikely to move you forward and could potentially trigger a string of events that ends with you seeking new employment. Take a moment and recognize that this process requires a little bit of work if it’s going to be successful.
You’ll have much better results if you prepare your proposal well and do some research on what you should request. This is time well spent.
Remove the Emotion
You may be stressed out about your financial position. You may feel that your pay is unfair in relation to what you do at work or what others in the same position are paid. All of this and more can be true, but it is still important to remove the emotion from the process, from preparation all the way up to the moment you ask for a raise.
Remember that your financial emergency is not the responsibility of your employer. Bringing your personal circumstances into the discussion as a reason for the needed raise will likely do little to sway your employer. Instead, bring them the facts — you are worth what you are asking for.
Know the Industry Standard for Your Pay
Spend some time doing research into what is normal in terms of payment for your position as well as the tasks you actually do while at work that are not on your resume. Make sure that the numbers you come up with are accurate for your area.
You can check out LinkedIn and reach out to recruiters who work in your field. Go to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and look at what rates are listed. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues for their input.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is a reliable resource for finding fact-based assessments of your industry currently as well as how the economy is expected to impact different jobs in the next few years. Using this information, you can compare what you make currently to what others in your industry are making for the same job.
If your salary is higher than average and you have no reason to believe that anyone in your company is making more for doing the same job, asking for a raise in your current position may not be the best path forward. It may be better to ask for a promotion that comes with higher pay instead.
Decide How Much You Want to Ask For
If your salary is less than you think it should be after looking at the research, consider some possible things that may be impacting your pay, such as these:
Different parts of the country have higher or lower costs of living, and the average wage for different industries will fluctuate accordingly. Similarly, urban areas tend to pay more than rural areas.
So, people who live in Los Angeles or Seattle will make more than those who live in rural Indiana even if they do the same job. Keep this in mind when you consider your raise request.
Competition affects different areas differently. In some cases, more competition can drive pay rates up as companies vie for the best of the best in the applicant pool.
In other cases, if there is no local competition but also a small applicant pool, a company may have to attract applicants from out of state and pay more to find someone to take the job. Consider the overall picture in your prep work.
Generally, people who have been in an industry for longer and have more experience are more valuable to their employers. They need less training and less oversight to complete a job. They may bring some innovation to the position that newcomers may not bring.
How does your experience in the industry stack up to others in your position at your company or other local companies?
Similarly, more education that is specific to the job you are doing may increase your pay rate. Or, you may make less or hit an earnings ceiling if you have little or no education that is required by your job.
Put Together the Whole Picture
These aren’t the only factors to consider. However, it is good to know how the above factors may be impacting your salary when you go in to ask for a raise.
For example, if you can say, “I know I don’t have a degree in financing, but I have been doing the books for major clients for 10 years now and know exactly what they need, which makes my services more valuable than someone who has a degree,” you have a solid argument for a raise that your boss might hear.
Your qualifications are unique. Consider how they factor into your value for the company and make a compelling case.
Your Income & Services Are Not About You
This may sound counterintuitive, but a company may not make decisions about how much to pay someone based on the amount of education they have or the number of years they’ve been with the company. They usually make decisions primarily based on their financial bottom line.
For example, if you have an MBA but you work in customer service, it’s unlikely that your education will impact your income for your current position. However, if you can demonstrate that your abilities help you to maintain customers — and sales for the company —when customers call support trying to end their contracts, this is a far better augment for a raise than your degree.
Essentially, it can be helpful to demonstrate your value in real dollars to your employer in order to get a raise. If you can show your boss how you help them to look good or help the company to make more money compared to others doing the same job, you have a much stronger argument for a raise.
Issues That May Support Your Request for Raise
Certain circumstances warrant an increase in pay. If you meet any of the following criteria, it might be time to ask for a salary increase:
Your Responsibilities Have Increased
If you have been covering for someone who left or you have taken on responsibilities outside of your job description based on your skill set, this is a solid reason to ask for more money.
You Got Promoted or Changed Jobs
If you have recently changed jobs or gotten promoted to a position with more responsibility, it makes sense to ask for more money.
You Have Been Working for Your Employer or in Your Current Position for Several Years
If you have been working in your current job for many years and you do the job well (you frequently have positive employee reports or train others), it may be a good time to ask for a raise, especially if the cost of living or standard pay for your job has increased in the meantime.
You Have Not Received or Asked for a Raise in a Long Time
If you have never gotten a raise or asked for one, it makes sense to ask for one as long as you have been with the employer for more than a year and have good performance during that time.
The Timing Is Right
If there is a lot of growth happening in the company, many people are leaving and they have a vested interest in wanting to retain current employees, or there are other issues that indicate that keeping experienced personnel is valuable to your employer, it may be a good time to discuss a raise.
Signs That the Time Is Not Right to Request a Raise
There are circumstances in which it may not be a good idea to ask for a raise even if you have a good reason to ask. These include the following:
Negative Employee Reports or Run-Ins With Your Boss
If you have recently been put on notice about your employment, you received a negative review, or you had a negative incident on the job, it may be better to wait until that is further in the past. At a future point, you will have had time to replace those memories with more positive results.
Tough Times in the Company
If the company is struggling financially, facing negative publicity for choices at the top, or experiencing other issues that are making it difficult for them to grow, asking for a raise will likely not be well received.
A New Boss
If someone new steps in as your supervisor and they do not yet know how valuable you are, asking for a raise will likely not be supported right away. Give it some time for them to get to know you and see your value before you ask.
Start Boosting Your Income in Other Ways
Whether or not you decide to ask for a raise and no matter what the answer is, you can begin to strengthen your financial position by making the most out of your income.
At Current, you can get 4% on your Savings Pods, far higher than the rate of return on any savings account available on the market today. You can access your paychecks more quickly with direct deposit, days before you would with a bank. Additionally, you can earn rewards on the purchases you make every day, lowering your cost of living as you manage your finances.
Current can help you get the most out of your paycheck. Sign up for the right product for you now.
Should You Go Back to School? 7 Things to Consider. (May 2022). Coursera.
Taking the Emotion Out of Asking to Be Paid Your Worth. (October 2018). Chicago Tribune.
Monthly Labor Review. (May 2022). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Eight Factors That Can Affect Your Pay. Salary.com.
Ask for a Raise by Showing Your Value. Raise Guide.
How to Ask for a Raise Amid Soaring Inflation. (April 2022). Forbes.
Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC.
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