how to ask for a raise

If you’re like a lot of people, it’s been quite a while since you’ve asked for a raise – or maybe you’ve never asked. Surprisingly, given how much most of us appreciate money, a ton of people have never asked for a higher salary, because they feel awkward about initiating the conversation, or they’re worried about sounding greedy or entitled, or they’re just not sure how to ask for a raise at all.

But asking for a raise is a very normal part of having a job, and if you avoid doing it out of discomfort, you’re potentially giving up a significant amount of money – just to avoid a conversation that could be as short as five minutes.

At New York Magazine today, I put together a blueprint for asking for a raise. Please use it!

{ 71 comments… read them below }

  1. Lucky*

    Something I learned about raises in the corporate world – when you get a promotion or otherwise move a grade level, you can ask HR to perform a comp review, to ensure that the company’s (and therefore your) salary is competitive in the market. My coworker asked for this as part of a bump in title, and since my title was also bumped up, HR did comp reviews for both of us and we recieved significant raises. [Dang, I need to take her to lunch to thank her.]

  2. Oxford Coma*

    My company is very, very careful to call our January bumps “increases”. They are tied directly to the previous year’s profit (and thus sometimes don’t happen) and are a straight percentage across all employees. I absolutely cannot get a straight answer as to whether these are considered COL adjustments or raises.

    1. Bea*

      That’s why we do bonuses every year. That way we can preface it as profit sharing. Thankfully this works wonders here and everyone is very efficient and consciousness about spending because more bottom line means more of a chunk on to of COL raises and performance reviews. It’s so strange to be so finicky with increase vs raise language to me theyre the exact same thing.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        A raise is a type of increase sure, but Oxford Coma is referring to a *merit* raise that is specific to you versus a cost of living adjustment that everyone gets. They are definitely different, and in my company they do spell out during the review how much of the increase is due to which–though they are both usually pretty small!

        A bonus is totally separate and should definitely not be considered an alternative to an increase in salary.

        1. Artemesia*

          Bonuses are a key way to suppress wages. They are not at all in the same league with raises.

  3. What's with today, today?*

    Yep. No one in my workplace has gotten a raise in 8 years. My responsibility in that time has doubled, so I’m going to ask for one soon, but I’m terrified, and fully expect a no.

    1. Zip Silver*

      8 years? The economy has been booming. I’d start quietly searching for something different if you get turned down.

    2. Ferris*

      Nowadays, usually the best way to make more money is to go to a different job every 3-5 years.

    3. I Like Pie*

      We had that happen in my office too. We had “temporary” pay cuts 4 years ago, and we were already working 72 hour pay periods (we had every other Friday as a furlough day.) A couple of years ago I asked for a raise, I was given a base salary bump of 5k, and lost my furlough days. This year, I asked again, pointing out that comps in our area were around 40-42/k, and that my salary was 10k below this. After a couple of months waiting (he was waiting for the end of year reports, etc etc.) I was bumped up an additional 3k, with much fanfare for my work and hoping that I understand they know I deserve more, but that was all they can give. That was the day I started looking elsewhere, and have two options in front of me, with a third I’m crossing my fingers comes through. A person can only take on so much additional work before they break – I can’t pay my rent with “I appreciate all the hours and work that you do and how well you do it.”

  4. LouiseM*

    Great guide, Alison! I would add: be sure the raise isn’t blackmail. Ask yourself: am I being asked to overlook something about the way the company is run or the way its stakeholders behave? Sorry to say, I have HEARD SOME STORIES. But those stories are best saved for the Friday open thread ;)

  5. LawBee*

    I asked for one last year, using advice from here. I asked for a 20-25% raise, expected maybe 10% – and got 19.3%.

    It was nerve-wracking in the prep, but once the discussion actually started, it was fine. It helps that my boss is pretty great, but also that I was super prepared.

    Go for it, all you raise-not-askers!

  6. UtOh!*

    While I like getting a raise every year (and a bonus!), there is no way to know if we are all receiving the same regardless of the amount of work we do. I can absolutely say I do the lions share of the work on my team, but have never been told that I’m getting a higher raise than anyone else. Actually, no one on my team was even told that the yearly raises were applied recently, I only know because I’m part of the change process. My direct boss never tells us anything, or it’s always after the fact. I have asked for some accommodations in the past, but they’ve always been shot down, even though “this place would fall apart without me”. Just one course to do in my degree and then the job search will commence!

    1. Cordoba*

      “there is no way to know if we are all receiving the same regardless of the amount of work we do”

      Sure there is.

      For example:
      -When you get your raise, ask your manager what the average or raise for your team is. Or even better, ask about the 25th, 50th, ant 75th percentiles. Unless you have a very small team there is no reason for them not to share thins information, all of my managers have been willing to do so if asked.

      -Ask other people on your team if they are willing to share what they make and/or how much their raise was. I’m willing to discuss this openly and find that most colleagues will reciprocate. As per the NLRB it is generally illegal for employers to prevent employees from discussing pay with each other.

      I submit that the custom of “everybody keep your salary a closely-guarded secret” works almost exclusively to the benefit of the corporate overlords, and that individual transparency around compensation is one of the best ways for regular employees to improve our bargaining position and improve wage equality.

      1. NewJobWendy*

        @cordoba I submit that the custom of “everybody keep your salary a closely-guarded secret” works almost exclusively to the benefit of the corporate overlords, and that individual transparency around compensation is one of the best ways for regular employees to improve our bargaining position and improve wage equality.

        YES! Keep saying this loud and clear!

  7. Argh!*

    You forgot this part:

    Be male.

    That’s the most effective way of getting a raise in the last few places I’ve worked.

    1. Irene Adler*

      Yep! My Dad coached me to always ask after a job offer is presented “and how much would you be paying me if I were a man?”

      Never used it myself, but he made his point.

      1. Pointed Reality*

        If I weee making a job offer to someone and she asked me this question, I would be offended to the point of questioning my initial judgement.

        In short, don’t assume all male hiring managers are sexist. That’s sexist.

    2. Artemesia*

      I can name many examples of this just in the last 10 years that I have observed. Sexism in compensation is as strong as ever.

    3. medium of ballpoint*

      Agreed. You can do all the asking in the world but sometimes that’s just not enough.

  8. kittymommy*

    I’ve never asked for a raise. I’m very bad at confrontation (even though this really isn’t confrontational, it feels like it is), but also because where I currently work you are expected to find where in the budget your raise would come from (at least at my level). Having said that, there is an outside chance I may get one this year, primarily due to some rather strategically placed comments on how I’m about 10K under standard in my area. Here’s hoping!

    1. Artemesia*

      Start looking for another job that pays you fairly; the glow that comes from confidence that you are doing something active to further your career sometimes seems to magically make you more raise deserving. And if it doesn’t, well you will be started on finding a better job.

  9. Bea*

    Aside from finally having a 401K and insurance my favorite thing moving into a new position was finding out there are yearly COL and reviews that then add to the general increase for performance. It’s so demoralizing to not have pay increases or having to advocate for yourself.

    I’ll never find it in me to ask for a raise, I’ll just leave at some point I’ve learned. I’m glad there’s this awesome advice for those who go to bat for it though!

    1. The New Wanderer*

      My previous job, the only one I was in long enough to be affected by raises, had a very structured system in place for annual reviews and raises. Because of this and the fact that pay brackets were published internally, I never felt like I wanted or needed to ask for a raise. Sometimes I wonder if that’s just because I was happy with my compensation and thought it was fair-to-high for my work. I know some people who weren’t happy with their salaries but don’t know whether they lobbied for raises above the annual allotment.

      I really hope my next job is like that, because like Bea I think I’d just be inclined to leave if I either didn’t get a raise or felt unfairly compensated.

      1. Bea*

        Open knowledge of pay brackets it’s a great practice.

        My experience has been where everyone at least makes around the same, seniority or crew leads mean a few dollars more.

        I’ve also got a deep history where I’ve had raises each time my boss gave me more duties. Every time he came to me to ask for more help, he came to me saying “will you take over purchasing? I can give you 5% more if so.”

        Then my last hell position piled it on and gave me nothing extra except a hard time when I needed help and they decided they couldn’t afford any of that.

        I’m the accounting department. I know what others make and the second to final straw was seeing increases everywhere unessential and my ass being taken to task for not having two departments and 3 job descriptions buttoned up tight. I wasn’t underpaid for the job I actually signed up for. Yeah no way am I asking for a raise, if they can’t see I’m worth it, I’m a number and a cog in the wheel, I’ll go elsewhere in that case!

    2. hbc*

      I have been arguing for years with my current employer how it’s demoralizing to people to have to bring up the issue of pay themselves, and how people generally expect it to be discussed at review time. It’s one of the reasons I’m finally leaving, or at least a big fat symbol of their failure to follow up words of employee support with actual action.

  10. DecorativeCacti*

    Last year at my performance review, I was ready to ask for a raise when my boss blindsided me with, “You need to be better about asking for help when you’re behind.” I had been begging for help for a year and gotten nothing so I stopped asking. I decided right that second to look for another job.

    We’ll, it’s now been nine months I’ve been looking and I’m still here. She may have said no. She may have said yes. Who knows? All I know is I regret sticking up for myself and asking anyway, because now I’ve potentially missed out on nine month’s of extra money.

    1. I Like Pie*

      Ask for that raise anyway. The worst they can do is say no. :-)

      If you’ve made improvements on anything that your boss would see as needed to improve on, approach her with that. Explain that you’ve taken steps X, Y and Z to make these improvements and that you’d like your salary to match comps in your area. You never know how long looked will take, at least this way if they say ok, you can get a bump for the remainder of your time there. I got my little raise, though I know I’m quitting by August; having the extra $60/check will come in handy wherever I land.

  11. BRR*

    One more point thats been previously brought up on AAM is to hopefully know your employer’s budgeting schedule. I asked for a raise last year but knew a lot of budget planning happens in the fall and once it’s set, it’s very hard to change things. If I waited for my performance review to ask (three months into the fiscal year) I would have been less likely to receive a raise.

    Having only asked for a raise my first time last year I want to emphasize the point in keeping it short and then to cite a previous AAM post, stop talking. It’s so tempting to keep blabbering on especially when you’re nervous but be prepared to say what you need to say then not keep adding.

  12. stitchinthyme*

    I’m always surprised by these types of articles — in nearly every post-college job I’ve ever had (except one), annual raises have been the norm, even at the struggling companies. The raises might not have been great, but I always got them. I guess the software development industry is out of the norm in that respect?

    The one place I worked where that wasn’t done was privately owned by one guy, and the official company policy was basically “Raises are given whenever Tom wants.” Which, in my case, worked out to one raise in nearly five years. When I started job searching and prospective employers would ask why I was looking to leave, I’d just tell them that: I’ve only gotten one raise in almost five years. All of them agreed that that was a good reason to be looking elsewhere.

    1. Bea*

      Single owners and small businesses in general can be behind the ball like that. It’s all I’ve ever known whereas my parents work for larger entities and always got some kind of annual increases, they’re also union members as well of course. Granted union members can’t even always count on raises. My partner hit the cap within six months of his former job. My response was “wtf is the union actually doing for you all then??”. Ick.

      I feel tech has to pay well because the good people just leave, like in your case. Other places have no drive or understanding to bother investing in solid retention techniques. Their either playing the sad old “well we’re too small, we can’t afford to pay more” fiddle or are grossly out of touch with the world outside of their own. I’ve worked with many bosses who are stuck in archaic practices and thoughts, I’m now learning were often not just spirit killers they’re illegal. So yeah, lots of business owners are just bad at the staffing and retention aspects.

    2. BRR*

      We’re they just colas? i know for me asking for a raise was about matching my compensation to how my role expanded from when I was hired.

      1. stitchinthyme*

        My past raises have generally been based on performance reviews. Same is true at my current company. Typically it ends up being something like 3-5% a year.

  13. Kat*

    I would never ask for a raise. I’m just sure the answer would be “Now that you bring it up, we’ve noticed that we hate you and the work you do so you’re fired.” I know it works for some people, but I think the wisest and safest option to keep my head down and never draw extra attention to myself. Luckily I am at a place right now that never gives raises or any pay increases so its not an issue.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Do you have actual reason to think that or is it just a generalized worry? That’s definitely no way to operate in general, so I’m hoping that it’s something specific about your current job (and if it is, that’s really a sign to get out as soon as you’re able to).

      1. Kat*

        My new-ish (7 months) job doesn’t seem to fire people at the drop of a hat like my previous employer did so its probably a somewhat irrational fear. But I always suspect that people are lying when they say I am doing a good job and know I’m very replaceable so I try to be as low maintenance as possible. I’m just thankful anyone was willing to give me a job!

        1. Bea*

          I’m sorry your last job traumatised you. I’m still shaking off my toxic boss who was hair trigger (I didn’t even know…until it went from “we want you here forever!!!” to “shape up immediately or get out” a week later…due to a conflict they had with one of my staff members. It was incredibly difficult and I got myself a new job.

          But you’re doing yourself a disservice staying under the radar and making what you’re worth.

          Believe me. It gets better. Most bosses aren’t psychotic after all and do want solid happy employees. Even my cranky good ol boy bosses threw money at me because they wanted me to stay.

          I’m replaceable too but in reality it’s taken my former bosses many trial employees to get the right fit.

  14. Equal Pay Day*

    I love that you’re posting this on Equal Pay Day. This is the day as calculated showing how much more than 1 calendar year (in this case 3 months, 10 days) that the average American woman would have to work to earn the same that the average American man earns in 1 calendar year.

    I may have miswritten it. For more information:

  15. Amber Rose*

    My boss never seems happy with my work. After all, I work in manufacturing and don’t produce anything except paperwork and annoyances. I must be a waste of time. :/

    I asked for a performance review once, and my boss sighed deeply and complained about it, so I’ve never bothered to do it again even though that’s the only time I’d reasonably be able to ask for a raise.

  16. Fabulous*

    I literally just emailed my [remote] boss yesterday as I was leaving for the day asking to revisit my pay and presented my case. Timing probably isn’t the greatest seeing as it’s only been about 8 months since annual raises were awarded, but I’m hoping it can at least align with the end of the fiscal year this summer… I also hope the fact that on paper I’ve only been in my role for 6 months can be overlooked; I’ve been working for her in multiple roles for 2 years in May, it’s just the title that was updated because of a merger. All I really want is to be aligned with the industry average, which is about 20% higher than what I currently earn. Hitting ‘Send’ yesterday was terrifying! And she still hasn’t said anything to me about the email yet… :/

  17. AliceBD*

    The thing that gets me is that it is not just HR or the level above my boss who needs to approve it — any pay raise for me would need to go at least 3-4 levels above me if not more. So it’s very tricky to remind people what exactly I do and how I am helping and that I deserve a raise.

    At my previous position they had to ask the CEO of a 20,000 person multinational company because they were trying to give me over 5% to make my salary comparable to other companies (I got a 7% increase instead of the 10% higher ups were asking for me). My current company is a similar size and while I don’t know the exact specifics of approval here it is also lore the executive level and not anywhere near my manager or his manager.

  18. Lola*

    I have a boss who has only been here 5 weeks (I’ve been here 3 years). How can one convince a newbie of one’s worth? I work in the fairly bureaucratic world of city govt and have only ever had one performance review. I didn’t even really know we could ask for raises here so I never have. I’m hoping to have another performance review this year and bring it up then but so far he has been quite demanding and not necessarily appreciative of anyone’s work.

  19. Alex*

    I’ve only worked in the public sector. Despite asking on several occasions, I’ve never received an actual raise. It definitely has a negative affect on my motivation. Positive feedback doesn’t pay the bills.

    1. Adereterial*

      I work in the U.K. public sector – there’s no such thing as raises. Some departments don’t pay bonuses, either. And the Government has capped wage increases at 1% for the last few years – that’s of the total wage bill, but some departments divvy it up unequally, but I’ve had about 1% each year since that started.

      So… not a lot of point asking!

      1. Anonymous Ampersand*

        I am so sick of the 1% pay cap. Also UK public sector. And I’ve never worked anywhere that paid bonuses either.

        I have recently been regraded based on the work I already do. It’s the only time I’ve ever got more than an increment or a cost of living increase in 20+ years of working.

  20. Xarcady*

    I am not good at confrontation. I’ve been a seasonal temp for the same company for 4 years now, at the same rate of pay. This company uses a lot of temps, and the pay scale is pretty fixed across job types. They tend to increase the hourly rate for a given category of position all at once, not give individual raises. So imagine my surprise when a newly hired temp, doing the same job as me in the same department, happened to mention his hourly rate–and it was $4.00/hour more than mine! And I was training him, as the permanent employees were too busy.

    Yeah, I was not a happy camper.

    It took me three weeks of worrying–maybe I’m paid less because my work isn’t as good? But wait, this guy is new; they don’t know the quality of his work. Stewing in a sea of self-doubt. Finally sent off an email to my contact at the temp agency, pointing out that I’d done the job for three years, was training the new hires, and in those three years I’d learned various new software packages, added several new skill sets that the company was benefiting from, and never had anyone be really unhappy with my work. I should be making what the new hires were making.

    A week later, I had a 37.5% raise–not to the rate the new hires were getting, but a few dollars an hour above that. Picture me stunned.

    I’m still a bit upset with the temp agency for not negotiating a raise for me when the company decided to pay people doing my job more. Heck, the temp agency earns more money when I earn more money–it would have been to their advantage. But this was the first time I have felt I needed to ask for a raise, and I was surprised at the result. And I will be more proactive about this moving forward.

    1. UtOh!*

      Just goes to show you that companies won’t offer, they wait to be asked and hope no one does! Good for you!

    2. Cordoba*

      This is a perfect demonstration of how pay transparency helps workers.

      There’s no reason to be shy about asking what co-workers make. In the US it is illegal for an employer to punish workers for openly discussing their compensation, and the social taboos about it are just there to benefit the bosses.

    3. Cordoba*

      Thinking about it some more, this is also a great example of the fact that for the most part workers can’t expect anybody else to advocate for them when it comes to pay.

      Even when it was *in their own best interests* the temp agency didn’t bother to look out for Xarcady until she started the conversation about the pay mismatch.

      Maybe someday in a more perfect world people will be better about advocating for others, and we should all try to bring that world about as quickly as possible. However, in the current imperfect world in which we live the best way to get more money is to ask for it. If you’re waiting for somebody else to do it for you it’s probably going to be a long wait.

  21. Cordoba*

    I find it helps to frequently remind my manager that money is important to me, and to bake a continual ask for substantial raises into our normal work conversations rather than a discrete “ask for a raise every few years” approach.

    This does not need to be crass or confrontational, and can just be a part of the normal goal and review process. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting more money for your labor.

    Setting goals for the year? Make sure to ask “I am looking for an X% raise this year, what do you think I’ll need to accomplish in the next 12 months to make that feasible?”

    Mid-year review? Don’t leave without asking “I’m still targeting that X% raise, are we on track for that?”.

    Raise and bonus time? If you got what you were after then sincerely express your appreciation. If not, then the conversation needs to be “As per our discussions I’ve been on track for this X% all year and now I’m getting y% instead. What happened here and how do we fix it?”

    I try not to ever let my managers think that they won’t have to have money conversations with me. They know it’s coming, they can prepare accordingly, and when they’re divvying up the raise and bonus pool I am pretty confident that I’m one of the first people they think of because they know I’m not just going to let it rest if they short me.

  22. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

    My org is in the midst of annual performance reviews, and I’ve been encouraged by several managers (outside my chain of command) to push for a promotion and raise to the next job level based on my performance. I’d totally do it, except a) My organization doesn’t like to promote someone after only one year and I know my boss categorically wouldn’t advocate for me to be promoted earlier, and b) I’m actively trying to get a new job and move, so I can’t justify asking for something that wouldn’t keep me here even if I got it. I’ll flag this article for future reading when I’m asking for a raise in my next job :)

    1. NewJobWendy*

      b) I’m actively trying to get a new job and move, so I can’t justify asking for something that wouldn’t keep me here even if I got it.

      Sure you. It took me 9 months to find a new job, and if I’d been able to get a raise at the beginning of that process that’s 9 months worth of extra money! I can see not wanting to request a promotion, but if you can push for more money, you should.

      1. designbot*

        ^This. You never know how the job hunt will shake out. Plus, I’ve always had the best luck getting a new job exactly when I was successfully advocating for myself at my existing job. Think of it as an insurance plan—if your escape route doesn’t pan out, it makes sense to make your current situation less bad, right?

    2. Ferris*

      I’d ask anyway — you never know how long you’ll really be someplace (it might take you a long time to find a job). And, when you find that job, they’ll use your current position/salary to decide what they give you.

    3. Bea*

      Them giving you more money or even a promotion isn’t setting the scene for you to pledge more time there unless that fits your life plan. Live now and earn now while planning your next move.

      I won’t be in my job forever but I’m drinking up who my extra training that makes me a stronger option for my future employer.

  23. Secret Databases*

    After much to-do, my boss finally got the name of the think-tank salary database our HR supposedly bases their decisions on. Too bad it’s weird and obscure, and I can’t afford to access it myself. It’s almost like it means nothing! /sarcasm

  24. Lord Gouldian Finch*

    What is the best way to ask for a raise after a mistake at work?

    The person I am thinking of made a mistake about 7 years ago that led to about five years of litigation and a settlement (with no admission of fault). The circumstances were complex, let’s say.

    In the years since the mistake the person has done high-quality work and taken on added responsibility but hasn’t received any raise in salary.

    At what point can one try and move on? Or is that kind of circumstance killing any future chance of a raise at all?

    1. Dr Wizard, PhD*

      Seven years seems absurd. If people were happy with their work and performance then that’s the sort of thing that should have been considered in the past after a year or two. Sounds like the well is poisoned for them at that company and they need to move.

    2. Darren*

      I think this would be the you have the discussion about the work you’ve done since then situation to get all the cards on the table and if they don’t agree to an increase it would be time for you to consider moving on.

      7 years is a long time if they aren’t willing to move on by now from a single mistake they never will. Although do note it’s going to feel a lot more recent to a lot of the management as the litigation only finished a couple of years ago so you are going to want to put emphasis on the 7 years of solid work since then, making it clear the mistake itself was ages ago it’s just taken awhile to fully resolve the impact.

  25. designbot*

    Reading the culture of your office around this is possibly the most important part. I’ve worked in a few places where annual reviews were not A Thing, and you had to request a meeting and sit down and make a case for any raise you got, then wait to hear back about it. I’ve worked at a place where raises were discussed among leadership in advance and then doled out to the prols and we were expected to be grateful for what we got and keep our mouths shut. Now I work somewhere where they dole out raises at annual reviews, but apparently there is still room for negotiation. I heard this from someone who’s been here nearly a decade, and was so glad he mentioned it because it never would have occurred to me that there was this middle road between the two approaches. I’m pretty sure I left some money on the table last year because I didn’t realize that.

  26. SaladBar*

    If I’m reading it right, Alison’s advice seems to focus on a discussion where, for example, you’ve taken on new responsibilities, or reduced costs, increased revenue etc – in which case it seems very reasonable to ask for compensation for that. What do you do in the instance where you’re just performing really well in your current role and remit. I mean, surely the expectation is that we perform well, and so I personally struggle to say I deserve a raise when it’s just doing business-as-usual *very well*. Is it still okay to ask for a promotion then and what sort of language has worked for people in this scenario?

  27. Pseudo-Fed*

    Funny this topic should come up. I just got a surprise raise in the form of an email from HR saying, “Your pay is increased by 2% retroactive to the first of this month.” It was a surprise because there was no performance review and no prior mention, and especially because the VP in charge of this whole dance party had publicly announced on Dec. 11 that there would “no raises in 2018.” For those following along at home, this is the same guy who laid me off last October, then phoned later that afternoon to say wait, no, come back.

    I’m certainly not complaining about a raise, but these people are seriously strange.

  28. Blake*

    So I’ve been in the workplace for about 5 years now. I spent the first two years with a blah company, where I was paid minimum wage. I had only a 26% increase at my next job, but after that I had a 69% increase, and then a 63% increase, and currently am pretty well-paid for someone who has only 3 years of professional experience. I also know other people in my line of work get more than double of what I make, so there’s still room for these increases.

    I know I’m still young, but I can’t really picture being with the same company for 5+ years, and if a raise only comes once a year (if that) and at only a 2-3% increase, wouldn’t it make more sense to move to a different company every 2-3 years. Although, when we max out on the pay increases, what is left to look forward to?

  29. An0N*

    Toxic Office is regrettably still where I hang my hat. It’s easier to get another job when you have one and that’s made me stubborn enough to swallow staying and actively searching for another job. I had reached a low point a couple of months back after realizing I was letting office unpleasantness follow me home. I typed a vague resignation letter and walked it over in person.

    My boss’s response after I told her I needed a few minutes and the reason: “Are you serious? Is this a joke? But you’re, you’re knowledgeable and know the system-“

    She composed and cut herself off after I iterated that I was serious. I also admitted that I had another job offer. I actually had several follow-up interviews scheduled in the next week and I had a firm offer from one place but was still holding out for better benefits. My boss asked if there was anything that could be done to retain me.

    She asked outright if it was over money and I replied it was. Money factored in, but not at the top of my list. I didn’t want to go into anything else and she was not accepting vague replies. She then asked what the other job was going to pay. I answered with a figure that I considered slightly higher than fair wage for my experience – 30% more than my then current salary. Something I wasn’t going to approach for several years at my current job from set percentage raises. She got it approved by end of day. I had asked for a raise months back and was turned down. It’s funny that I am valued more when the cost of training my replacement is considered.

    I am not advocating trying a “I’m quitting” bluff to get a raise. I had no intention of bluffing and if it had not panned out I was fine leaving emotionally and financially. I am leaving once I have a job that lines up with what I need but I took that salary bump with a smile.

  30. NewBoss5000*

    As someone who finally asked for a 10% raise last month, I’m glad to see that my process did pretty much follow Alison’s instructions. Unfortunately, I got shot down with vague words of “well we think that this added experience is worth it to you as you develop in your profession, and you are getting the maximum merit increase this year.” Our maximum merit increase for the past several years has been 2%. In comparison, I live in one of the most expensive cities in the country, in an area with a minimum 4% inflation rate every year, and work in an organization where no one has gotten COL increases in ages.

    I talked about this in a recent Friday open thread, but my boss explicitly advised me that the best way to get a raise was to come to them with an offer from another organization. I told her that this sounded like they would only give me a raise to avoid having to hire someone new (I’m faculty, so it’s a long and expensive process), and not because they actually value me. I also told her it would be unethical for me to look for another job just to get a counteroffer. Finally I said that if I were to get an offer elsewhere, I would take it and leave. She didn’t really have a response to that.

    So, for those of you thinking about asking for a raise, Alison’s last point is very important: I at least know where I stand now with my organization. They like all the work I do, but not enough to pay me what I’m worth. So I’m looking elsewhere.

    As an aside, I’ve since learned that my organization hasn’t had much luck with the counteroffer strategy anyway; at least three highly valued people in our organization were offered very significant raises when they were offered jobs elsewhere, but they all left anyway. You’d think this place would figure out it’s not the best strategy to keep strong employees.

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