How to Request a Salary Increase

by Sam Ashe-Edmunds

You’re more likely to get a raise if you can demonstrate your value to your company, rather than make the appeal based on your needs or your sense of fairness. Just because you’ve been with a company X number of years doesn’t mean you’ve increased your value or can do the job better than a lower-paid employee. Using facts to show that you are worth more than your current salary will help you make it easier for your boss to give you a raise.

Review your job description to determine if you have fulfilled all of the duties you were hired to do. Ask for a written job description if you don’t have one, or create one yourself -- superiors often have no idea how much work each subordinate performs. This can be a double-edged sword because your boss might add more work to your plate, but it gives you the starting point to begin creating your argument for a raise.

Examine the company organization chart to review where you job fits in relation to others. Write a list of ways in which your position and the work you do directly affects the performance of those above and below you. Use this as the basis of defining the value of your position, rather than your performance. Once you’ve demonstrated the value of your position, you can then present the value of your performance in executing the duties of the position.

Write a list of the benefits you bring to the company and position. Divide your list into objective and subjective benefits. For example, if you are a salesperson or production manager, objectively show your increase in sales or productivity. Identify subjective benefits you bring, such as institutional memory that can’t be replaced, or relationships with customers or vendors a new hire won’t have. Write a list of your achievements, such as decreasing expenses, increasing sales or introducing new processes to your department that increased productivity or reduced production time.

Quantify your position or performance in dollar amounts where possible. Help your superior put a monetary value on your position to the company, if possible, by showing what would happen to sales or expenses if your position didn’t exist, or if the person holding it was not effective. Research industry and local pay standards for your position using want ads and information from trade associations or government agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Meet with the person responsible for giving you a raise and ask for a review. If there are no major surprises during the review you need time to evaluate so you can effectively address them, present your case for a salary increase. Be objective and demonstrate why the company should value your position and your work more than it currently does. Avoid making the fact that “it’s time” or using personal situations, such as a new child, as key determinants in whether or not you should get the raise.

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