How to Ask for A Salary Raise – and Get It!

ask for a raise

Have you earned a raise in salary? Are you delivering as much or more than you colleagues (especially the men!) for less money? Have you increased your contributions since your last salary evaluation? Then it’s time to ask for a raise.

Make no mistake, you have to ask. Most companies, most managers, won’t pay more than they have to. It’s not personal, just part of cost control: salaries and benefits are among a company’s largest expenses.

Too many women don’t ask for the salaries they deserve. According to a recent Ellevate survey, only 37% of women asked for a raise in 2015. Of those who did, a whopping 75% received one! What’s their secret? First of all, they asked. But more than that, I suspect they used some smart tactics. You can use them too.

75% of women who asked for a raise received one

Benchmark Your Salary: 

Think you’re underpaid? Get the facts. Look on and, and ask around to find out what other people at your level, in your own and similar companies are being paid.  Remember to consider experience as well as title; your manager will too.  Before digging too much at work, check the HR policies on talking about salaries; some companies still have old-style restrictions on this.   Develop a fact-based assessment of the going rate, so you can objectively discuss where you stand against peers.

Focus on Accomplishments that Matter:

Yes, being underpaid is unfair. But as my mother says, ‘nowhere is it written that life must be fair.’ Use facts: what you delivered, and what it did for the business, and what that makes you worth in the market. That could include increased sales of your brand or in your territory, consistently delivering work ahead of time and under budget, introducing a new, more efficient way of completing expense reports for your team…anything relevant for your role. Include the reason it was good for the business: if that new expense report system saves an average of 30 minutes (paid time!) per person on each expense report, and 400 people use it……. the money adds up. Don’t rely on arguments about hard you work or how loyal you are; companies expect that from you and won’t pay more for it.

Emphasize your accomplishments and how they helped the business

achievements goals pixy

Make a Specific Request:

Money can be such an uncomfortable topic; it’s not unusual for people, especially women, to have a hard time with specifics. Regardless of whether it’s comfortable for you or not, you must ask for exactly what you want. That means ‘I am asking for $77,000 per year’ not ‘I’d like a higher salary’.  Remember, you can defend your request based on your benchmarking and what you delivered.

Stay calm:

During all discussions, emails, and interactions, don’t let frustration, anger or emotion derail you. As soon as you do, you decrease your chance of getting a raise. Stick with the facts and don’t get emotional. The point of this exercise to prove that you are a valuable professional; act like one.

Remember that survey? 75% of women who asked for a raise got one. I would be willing to bet that most of them used this approach. It worked for me, my peers, for people who reported to me. Your company won’t give you a raise for free. If you deserve it, ask for it!

Want more tips on getting that raise you want?  Check out the video below!


Marne Platt

Dr. Marne Platt is the President of Fundamental Capabilities and the author of 3 books (so far): Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way; Professional Presence; and PREP For Success. Originally a practicing veterinarian, she built a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. She founded Fundamental Capabilities to ‘pay it forward’ by providing career development workshops and coaching for women. ‘Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way’ is an ‘older sister in your pocket’ packed full of advice for young women on building their own independent and exciting life. 'Professional Presence' and PREP For Success' help you strengthen your spoken and unspoken communication and leadership presence.

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