How To Ask For A Raise

How To Ask For A Raise

Looking for more? See all our Business English Topics here

Asking for a raise is a tough thing to do, but sometimes, for whatever reason, you just really want or even need to do it. But as with any business-related conversation, there is a right way—and a wrong way—to do it. Your timing, relationship with your boss, and the language you use in this situation all matter… and so does the etiquette. Here are some tips about how to get it right… and maximize your chance of actually getting that raise!


Start by setting up an appointment and making sure it’s an appropriate time:

  • Good morning / Good afternoon. Do you have a few minutes to talk?

If not then ask when would be a better time and if it would be possible to schedule a short meeting for that time. He/she will probably ask what you want to meet about.

  • It’s regarding my performance and career path here.

Your boss may say something about your annual or semi-annual review, like “We already discussed this at your last review… We can talk about it at your next review.” Be prepared to say why you want to discuss a raise at this time. Have you recently helped the company achieve a significant win or milestone? Did you ask for a raise before and was told to wait until a better time? But if your boss says “yes” to your request to meet immediately, you should begin with:

Be ready to explain why you think you should receive a raise. Possibilities could include:

  • I feel I have been making some valuable contributions lately, and I’d like to talk about what would be fair compensation for my efforts.
  • I have been working here for (# of years), I have taken on many extra responsibilities over that time, and my salary has not been keeping pace with industry standard. I’d like it if we could get caught up to that standard.
  • When I started work here I was told that my qualifications and experience made me valuable, but that I would be started at a lower salary with the expectation that I could receive a raise later if I did well. I’d like to talk about whether we’ve reached that time.
  • We have been doing quite well lately, and I believe that this is in part because of the work I have been doing for the company. I have been putting in extra effort to help the team achieve its goals, and we’re seeing some good results. Can we talk about what that’s worth to the company?

At this point your boss might ask what sort of a raise you are requesting.

You should answer in a tone that is polite but confident. You may say any or all of the following:

  • I believe I am worth (say a percentage number or annual dollar value here, e.g. “10% more” or “$15,000 more annually.)
  • Although my title is ____, the work that I have been doing over the past year is closer to what someone with the title of ______ would be doing. Standard pay for that job in our industry is ____, so I feel that I should be paid accordingly.
  • Well, the industry standard for my position is (x number of dollars), so I think it would be fair for me to be paid a similar amount.
  • I have taken on some new responsibilities over the past year(s), and I’d like it if my salary reflected that.

Your boss might say something like:

  • We can’t afford this right now, but we’ll take it into consideration for next year.
  • Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I’ll discuss it with the management team and get back to you.

You might want to add:

  • Would you like me to put this request in writing?

To end the meeting:

  • Express gratitude for any openness that was given to your request.
  • Express that you wish to speak about this topic again soon.
About Stephanie Benger

Stephanie is an English Fluency and Pronunciation specialist from Canada. She has been providing teaching and instructional programming to people of all ages and nationalities since 2005.

Speak Your Mind