“How to Ask for a Raise — and Actually Receive One”


Why is it we don’t like to ask for things? Whether it’s a different meal at a restaurant, a larger size of clothes at the Taylors or a raise at work, nobody wants to ask questions. However, a recent PayScale survey found only 30% of people who do not ask for a pay rise receive one. This is in stark contrast to the 70% who do ask for a pay rise and are successful in bagging some extra pay for their hard work. So what have we learned from those statistics? You are going to have to embrace your inner Oliver Twist and ask for some more.

No doubt trying to approach this subject with your boss will leave you stressed and anxious. But with the right approach to this conversation, it will increase your chances of success massively. Here’s how to ask for a raise and actually receive one.


With money, timing is everything. This is true with many aspects of life, for example how you do business with clients or invest in a project.  With that in mind, it is not only important to pay attention to what’s going on within the company but to your instinct too. Perhaps pick a week when you’ve been putting in huge work and feel that raise is warranted. Or maybe when you see your boss isn’t too stressed and has the time to deal with your request.

Know your Stuff

So now that you have picked the perfect time to sit down with your boss and lay out what you want, make sure you are prepared. When I say prepared, there is no need to go in there all fired up demanding a raise. Next thing your boss asks “why” and you are standing there wide-eyed racking your brain for an answer. Be sure to understand the company on a greater level and where your place in the company is as you approach the subject of a raise.

Always keep up to date with what was going on with the company. Having this kind of knowledge will not only impress your boss but show him you have given this subject serious thought.

Working every day is easy because you’re getting paid, but going that extra mile and learning about a company can help you move up the ladder quicker. By mixing your research with a grounded take on your achievements to date, you have got yourself a recipe for a raise.

A bonus tip here is, that it doesn’t hurt to practice what you plan to say in advance. Map out a little script in your head and try to plan how the conversation will go. By the time game day rolls around it should flow smoothly.

The Two Big Don’ts of Asking for a Raise

Okay so now you are all set to ask for that raise. You know what you are going to say and when you are going to say it. But like any situation in life, you can’t control everything. You can’t control what your boss will say. This can lead to a bit of a debate. While there is nothing wrong with a little bit of verbal boxing, there are two big points to consider when asking for a raise.

The first of which is don’t get personal. Only state the facts. We all want a raise so we can drive that dream car or own that dream home, your boss knows this too. Leave these arguments at the door. They do nothing for your case except make you look desperate. You have got a perfectly good reason for getting a pay raise given the work you’ve put in with the company. Focus on that.

Secondly, avoid big ultimatums. CarDonationCenters CEO, Mike Clancy believes, “ultimatums are simply unhealthy”. Don’t go into this thinking if I don’t get the raise I walk. This leaves you in a very inflexible position and unfortunately, you are replaceable to the company.

Mike is a strong believer in compromise, “if you are a good employee, I don’t want to lose you and I know you don’t want to lose your job. Both parties have to be ready to work with each other”. Be ready to compromise and look to see that both you and the boss come to a win-win agreement.


Asking for something can leave many of us feeling a little uneasy. The key to asking for a raise is to go into the conversation strong, yet flexible, confident, yet humble. Avoid things like ultimatums and getting personal. Your boss is a human at the end of the day. Understand the work you have done in the past and where the company is going in the future. But most important of all to understand is where do you fit into this future version of the company.  Once you’ve got all of this ready, you are armed and ready to go with the knowledge of How to Ask for a Raise — and Actually Receive One.


About Author


Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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