How to ask for a raise at your workplace

With the prices of goods and services skyrocketing across the board, the cost of living has become almost unmanageable for people from all walks of life. Unless you’re extremely wealthy, you’ve probably felt the pinch in some way or form - perhaps your favourite eatery has just upped their prices or you needed to cut out certain forms of entertainment from your life because the cost was simply not justifiable anymore. One thing that’s for certain is that, despite the uptick in costs and the rise in inflation, our salaries haven’t increased nearly by the same amount. So if you are earning the same amount of money this year that you did the previous year, you are actually earning less now when you consider the drop in money value. While not all workplaces are inherently looking to take advantage of their employees, the primary objective of a business is to make profit - so they will never look to incur additional costs by offering salary increments to employees.

But if your current salary is simply not enough to get by and you don’t really want to start job hunting, here are some ways you can go about getting a raise at your workplace.

1. Gather evidence

Gather Evidence

If you are planning to ask for a salary increment outside of your annual performance review or a percentage higher than the usual increment value, you would need to make your case as to why you need an increment of this nature right now. Make a list of all your accomplishments to date, as well as any special projects you worked on where you excelled to prove your worth to the company. If you feel your accomplishments or contributions are not yet enough to warrant asking for a raise, take a few months to show your colours to your superiors. Take on some additional responsibilities and make sure you don’t drop the ball on any of your tasks during this time to strengthen your case.

2. Upskill yourself

Up-skill Yourself

One of the easiest ways to ensure that you can confidently ask for a salary increment is to upskill yourself. Compare the skills and qualifications you had when you were awarded your current salary to what you would need to demand to be moved up to a higher pay scale. If you have a degree, perhaps it’s time to think about your Master’s or another professional qualification. You could try to get certified in some area that is related to your current scope of work. You could also simply go about obtaining new skills and competencies that could aid you in carrying out your workplace tasks and responsibilities. Upskilling yourself not only gives you leverage to ask for a raise, but it improves your overall employability in the long run.

3. Do your research

Don’t blindly walk in and demand an extra twenty thousand rupees now that you’ve excelled in a few recent projects as well as successfully completed your Master’s. You need to do some solid research about what your demands will be before you ask for an audience with your superior. At this point, what you need to find out is how much you can ask for and how much your employer is able to pay you.

Find out the market pay rate for your job

The first thing you need to find out is how much other companies are paying their employees who have similar responsibilities, qualifications and experience as you; keep in mind that it is not enough to simply compare designations. You can do this either through getting in touch with HR professionals in your field or even other people who have similar profiles to you on LinkedIn and politely asking them for a salary range which they think is suited for you. Avoid asking for people’s salaries or how much their company would pay - instead openly ask how much they think you should be earning. Take into consideration the places they work at and the nature of the work they do (e.g. foreign software projects tend to pay higher than local projects etc) when they give their recommended salary ranges.

Find out how much your workplace can afford to pay you

This part is going to be a bit tricky because no workplace will openly admit that they can pay you more than they are currently doing. Start with reading the terms of your contract or through any employee handbook available - they will likely give an overview of their salary increment practices. If it clearly states a process that needs to be followed, it would be in your best interest to do this. If you work in a smaller company, you might have some idea of its current financial position which could help you in making your request - a profitable company is less likely to reject you than a financially-struggling one. Finally, if at all possible, try and find out how much other people in your department or pay grade are getting paid. While it is generally actively discouraged to openly speak about salary details in the workplace, it will help you find out if you are being underpaid than your peers.

4. Speak to your superior

Now that you have a clear idea of how much you ought to be getting paid, how much you can realistically ask for and a good case as to why you deserve that salary increment, it’s time to schedule a meeting with your immediate superior. Make it clear what the meeting is about right at the offset and remember that is a negotiation - you might not get what you ask for but try to meet your employer in the middle. If your work is as good as you feel it is, your workplace will likely be unwilling to see your resignation. Regardless, if your superior seems hesitant to award you your requested salary increment, don’t get discouraged. Instead, try asking them what you would need to do in order to qualify for a raise. 

Asking for a raise might seem daunting during a time where money is hard to come by. However, keep in mind that there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking to be paid an amount that is equivalent to your contribution to the success of your workplace.