How to ask for a pay rise



Many Gen Y workers will tell you, “I work so hard, but I don’t get paid enough.” If you work twelve to sixteen hours a day, a $40,000 annual salary seems like nothing. In today’s economy, salary seems to be a taboo subject among employees and employers. With yearly merit increases at 2% or lower, or nonexistent altogether, asking for a 10% pay rise may seem like an unrealistic request. Yet it’s not altogether impossible to ask for a pay rise.

First, try to map out what your work is worth. If you divide the time you put into your work by your current salary, and you find you are making less than minimum wage, then it’s definitely time to ask for a raise. However, if you make the most of all your colleagues in your current job, then it might not be appropriate to ask for a raise. Instead, you may seek a promotion or a job at another company.

Approach your manager only after you have determined how much you would like to make and whether it is realistic for your current position. For example, if you are an accountant and in your current city accountants make around $60,000, then it would be reasonable to ask for a raise if you are only making $50,000. You may use websites such as,, and to research average salaries in your area.

Once you have this information, consider drawing up an outline or a portfolio of your work. If your manager is prone to say no, you can show him or her how you have added to the business of the company. Outline your successes in difficult situations, how you saved the company money or generated more revenue. Also, include your education and any other certifications you have completed either during your time with the company or any time before.

Another thing to consider is the cost of living in your area. Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Or is this extra spending money for something you would like to splurge on? Or maybe, you are looking to get married and start a family. If this is on your mind, tell your manager, “I find it difficult to live on this salary,” or “My salary makes it difficult for me to find a solid work/life balance.” At times, it is a good idea to tell your manager where you are in life.

Lastly, approach your manager with the understanding that he or she may not be able to give you the pay rise you are seeking. They, too, may desire a higher salary at your company and have been denied by his or her own director. Do not show anger or resentment if the answer is no. Instead, consider why your manager does not want to give you a higher salary. Consider whether he or she will help you further your career. If your manager continues barring you from a pay rise and a better position, consider whether he or she has your best interest. It might be a good idea to consider other opportunities.

On the other hand, this may spur your manager to recognize your achievements. He or she may realize that if your request for a pay rise is met, you will be a happier, more productive worker, and therefore more likely to stay. It never hurts to ask for a pay rise, as long as you have a plan and act tactfully.

This guest post was courtesy of