How to Ask For a Raise

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Are you wondering how to get a raise at work? Here are four not-so-easy but tremendously rewarding steps to take if you want your employer to give you a much-deserved raise.

Are you wondering how to get a raise at work? This article will show you the actionable steps you need to take in order to get a raise at work that you deserve.

We live in a fear-based society. Fear keeps us stuck in a lot of unhelpful, unhealthy patterns, including staying at jobs that don’t pay enough. Everyone who has achieved great wealth and success in our society has had to face their fears and blast past them at some point or another.

In fact, 41% would end a relationship if it meant getting a significant or life-changing promotion – shocking huh?

Whether you’re trying to become the next Bill Gates or just want some extra cash for a splurge vacation, here are four not-so-easy but tremendously rewarding steps to take in the direction of your financial dreams.

How to Get a Raise at Work

If you want to get a raise at work you will have to take some bold steps to get what you desire. Here are the steps you need to take:


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1. Ask Your Coworkers How Much They Make

Ask your colleagues how much they make. Talking about what we make is taboo in our society, but it gives employers all the leverage when we don’t know what our co-workers make.

So ask them.

The fear here is that your colleagues will say no. But so what? Even if they judge you and think you’re weird and inappropriate, who cares?

You cannot possibly know if you’re being paid what you’re worth if you don’t know what others in your field are making. Sure, you can do some blind research on websites like Glassdoor and Payscale, but nothing is going to light a fire under you like learning that Ned who sits in the cubicle right next to you and works half as hard as you is making $5,000 more than you.

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If you do this strategically, you’ll likely get positive results. Pick five to six people you know who have positions similar to yours, whether they work for the same company or a different one. Invite them to lunch or coffee, and make the ask in person since email and text message will be much easier to dodge than face-to-face.

And explain why you’re asking. Say something like, “I’m in the job market/I’m conducting research to ask for a raise/I’m applying for a promotion, and I’m polling several colleagues who have jobs like ours so I can calculate a realistic salary range when I negotiate my pay.

I would really appreciate if you could disclose your salary to me, since you’re in a role similar to mine, and I really respect you as a professional in this industry.”

If they say no, tell them that you understand and that if they happen to change their mind to reach out. If they say yes, thank them profusely, and then follow up with them afterward to let them know the result.

Especially if you get a positive result, they’ll likely be happy to know that disclosing their salary helped a colleague advance in their career.

Will it be uncomfortable? Absolutely. You know what’s more uncomfortable, though? Wasting your life away at a job where you’re devalued because you’re too scared to find out what you could or should be earning.

Related: Workforce Trends to Know as We Approach 2022

2. Ask your employer if they disclose employees’ salaries company-wide

Ask your employer if they disclose employees’ salaries company-wide. Why not? Sure, it’ll ruffle some feathers. But again, the more tight-lipped employers and employees are about what everyone at the company makes, the more power and leverage employers maintain over their workers.

So shake things up. Go to HR and tell them you’ve heard about a lot of innovative companies that are disclosing the salaries of their employees and ask if the company will be publishing salaries. The fear here is retaliation.

Employers want to retain their power and control and prevent employees from learning what those sitting right next to them are making—again, learning that lazy Ned makes more than you will undoubtedly inspire you to demand a raise or quit—so it’s in their best interest to shut you up and make you go away.

However, it’s been unlawful since 1935 for private employers to prevent their employees from discussing their salaries. So you’ve broken no laws by merely asking HR about pay data, and actually, if your company then retaliates against you for doing so, you could potentially have a lawsuit against the employer.

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Yes, it’s uncomfortable and scary, but the more we start making these bold moves and start having these awkward conversations, the more we take back our power from employers and force them to be more transparent about what they pay their employees and how they make those decisions.

Related: 33 Part-Time Weekend Jobs Near Me For Extra Income

3. Ask for a raise

Ask for a raise. Once you’ve done your homework, if you find that you’re being underpaid, develop a strategy to ask for more pay. Use the information you’ve gathered to defend your position. Make a list of the contributions you’ve made in your role, especially any that lead directly to company profits or company growth.

Brainstorm and anticipate any possible arguments that your employer might make against giving you a raise so that you’re prepared to address them. Ask your manager or the person who determines your pay for a meeting dedicated specifically to this issue, ideally during a time that things aren’t too hectic at work.

If you approach a supervisor during a time that they’re already stressed out, you’re less likely to get a positive response.

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Make sure you’re fully prepared for the meeting. Dress the part. Do a power pose right before the meeting starts. Show up armed with a thousand others things you want (specialized training, more paid leave, funding to attend a job-related event or conference, better benefits…you get the idea) to ask for if they are not budging on the salary issue.

The fear here is that they’ll say no. But is that really so scary? If they do say no, after you’ve provided them with evidence demonstrating your value to the company, and they’re not willing to give you a raise or contribute to your career growth in some other manner, that sends a pretty loud message that your career growth is not a priority to the company and that it might be time to find a firm that does value you and your career development.

Related: 10 High Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree

4. Ask yourself if more money is really what you want most from your job right now

Ask yourself if more money is really what you want most from your job right now.  So often, we place so much emphasis on salary when we’re job searching that we fail to recognize or acknowledge how tremendously valuable many other job perks are, perks like shorter commute, flexible hours, more paid leave, and telework.

So if you’re satisfied with your current salary but haven’t gotten a raise in a while, or you researched and you’re already at or above the pay cap for your position, try to negotiate for more time off or specialized training or some other benefit that has value to you but won’t cost your company as much as a pay raise would.

The job market took a major hit in the 2008 recession when the unemployment rate skyrocketed to 10%. With employees scrambling for jobs, employers definitely gained the upper hand at that time, and they’ve kept it since. However, the unemployment rate has steadily declined since about 2010, and last month it dropped to the lowest point it’s been since December 2000.

We’re now in a job seekers market, and the time is right for employees to take back their power. These four steps will give you a strong push in the right direction so you can make more money.

More Tips That’ll Help Your Career

No more wondering how to get a raise at work. Have you used any of the actionable steps listed above to get a raise before? Leave a comment below.

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About the author

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Ashley Krapacs
Ashley Ann Krapacs is an attorney licensed in New York, Florida, and DC. She practices employment law in South Florida, focusing on sexual harassment, wage discrimination, and workplace bullying cases.

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