Adriana Herrera, PayDestiny Founder

This article helps you learn When to Ask for a Raise. Discover 21 reasons to ask for a raise.

For more tools to successfully ask for a pay raise click here.

When to Ask for a Raise (21 Reasons to Ask for a Raise)

by | Last updated Sep 22, 2022

When to Ask for a Raise (Icon)
Are you wondering when to ask for a raise?

If so, you’re not alone. Figuring out when to ask for a raise can be tricky. Lucky for you this article includes everything you need to know about when to make your pay raise request.

This article shares 21 reasons to ask for a raise and answers to the questions “How do I know if I am underpaid?” “Is it ok to ask for a raise?” and “Can I ask for a raise after 3 months?”

Whether you’re looking for an immediate pay bump or just want to be prepared to ask for a raise this article has the information that you need.

If you’re ready to learn when to ask for a raise then keep reading!

When to Ask for a Raise (Icon)

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When to Ask for a Raise

When to Ask for a Raise

To understand when to ask for a raise it’s important to understand the different types of raises you can ask for. There are four different types of raises you can ask for:

  • A merit raise, a raise that is granted when an individual excels in their job duties and responsibilities
  • An annual raise, a standardized raise that is determined based on performance and/or how long an individual has been with the company that is typically granted during an annual performance review after 12 months of employment or at a predetermined date such as the end of the calendar year or fiscal year
  • A cost of living adjustment (COLA), a standardized raise that is the result of an increase in the cost of goods (e.g. food, gasoline) and services (e.g. gas, electricity)
  • A salary adjustment, a raise that is granted to achieve equitable pay parity either with the market and/or with individuals in the company performing the same duties with the same level of experience and outcomes

Asking for one of the raises above or being granted one of the raises above does not exclude you from receiving another type of raise. It is possible to receive each of the raises above within a year and to receive more than one merit raise within a year.

When to Ask for a Raise (21 Reasons to Ask for a Raise):

  1. You mastered your job description and are consistently performing at a good, great, or excellent level
  2. You consistently hit or exceed goals
  3. You proactively and independently take on additional job duties and perform them well
  4. You have been trusted with new job duties and responsibilities
  5. You took on a leadership role when a colleague went on maternity leave or paternity leave, a sabbatical, or was out-of-the-office for an extended period of time
  6. You stepped up and took on additional work to help the company and/or your team during a time that the company experienced turnover
  7. You have generated significant contributions to your department
  8. You have developed new skills and are applying them to generate meaningful contributions that can be measured
  9. Your contributions are so valuable to the company that it will lose time, money, momentum, employees, etc. if you leave the company
  10. You are such a talented and high performing team member that you help to attract other talented and high performing individuals that want to work with you
  11. The company is performing well and you’ve made significant contributions to positively impact the company’s success
  12. The company has raised significant funding and your contributions contributed to the company being able to successfully raise funding
  13. The company has experienced significant turnover resulting in shifting work and responsibility to you
  14. You’ve been given a promotion but not a salary increase resulting in you being underpaid
  15. You discover you are underpaid compared to what companies at a similar stage are paying someone with your skills, experience, and track record of success to perform your job duties
  16. You discover you are underpaid compared to colleagues in the same position with the same experience and level of performance
  17. You have a specific skill that is valued by the company and benefits the company that you are not paid for (e.g. You’re bilingual, you are the only person that knows how to use certain software or to perform certain tasks)
  18. You have received a job offer from another company to perform your current job duties or job duties that are similar and the base pay and/or total rewards is valued at more than you are currently making
  19. You need a standard cost of living adjustment to keep up with inflation costs
  20. You’ve been with the company for over a year and have not received a salary increase of any kind
  21. Team members with the same level of achievements and work performance as you were granted raises (and you were not) resulting in you being underpaid

When you prepare to ask for a raise it is important to be mindful of things that can limit being granted a raise.

Things that can limit a raise include:

  • A demanding approach and negative or entitled attitude when you ask for a raise
  • A lack of rapport with your boss or other pay raise decision-maker
  • A lack of training in which your boss does not know how to equitably grant pay raises based on performance, cost of living increases, etc.
  • Budget restrictions
  • If the company is performing poorly
  • If the general economy is in a bad state
  • If your boss has decision making power or has to justify a pay raise to the real decision-maker
  • Standardized pay raise practices that pre-determine how much of a raise a person will receive regardless of performance
  • The company’s formula to determine how much of a pay raise to grant (including what city your company uses to benchmark salary)
  • Your boss feeling that you are undeserving of a raise because they lack of knowledge of your performance, contributions, and achievements

The best way to know for sure if it’s the right time to ask for a raise is to run our process to get your boss invested in your success. Our process helps you to tee up your boss to successfully ask for a raise by:

  • Clearly communicating your goals to grow within the company,
  • Ensure you’re measuring your success using the right metrics,
  • Consistently communicating how you’re performing to your boss (without being annoying),
  • Getting your boss interested in your professional growth and success, and
  • Getting your boss to grant you a raise without having to directly ask for one.

To learn how to get your boss invested in your success so you can successfully ask for a raise click here.

How to Ask for a Raise from Your Boss (Feature Image)

Reasons to Ask for a Raise

Reasons to Ask for a Raise | When to Ask for a Raise

In our list of when to ask for a raise, each of the 21 reasons to ask for a raise can be classified into three categories: personal performance, company performance, and salary adjustment.

 

Reasons to ask for a raise:

  • Personal performance, when you are excelling in your position and your success can be proven through measurable outcomes and contributions. Numbers 1 – 10 in our list of when to ask for a raise are examples of personal performance reasons to ask for a raise.
  • Company performance, when the company is performing well and your contributions to the company’s success have been overlooked but can be measured and proven. Numbers 11 – 13 in our list of when to ask for a raise are examples of reasons to ask for a raise based on company performance.
  • Salary adjustment, when your base pay does not reflect equitable pay based on what the market is paying for someone with your experience, what your company is paying people with equivalent experience and outcomes, and/or what the market is paying to ensure base pay matches cost of living increases. Numbers 11 – 21 in our list of when to ask for a raise are examples of reasons to ask for a salary adjustment.

How do I know if I am underpaid?

One of the most common reasons to ask for a raise is needing a salary adjustment for being underpaid. In fact, being underpaid is the number one reason employees voluntarily leave their company. To answer the question “How do I know if I’m underpaid” you want to ask your boss questions and do market research.

How do I know if I’m underpaid (Questions to ask your boss):

  • Where does my base pay fall on the compa ratio for my position?
  • What formula does the company use to determine pay for my position?

To perform market research on what your value is in the market you want to research what companies at a similar stage, companies of the same type, companies in the same industry, and companies in the same city your company uses to benchmark salary are paying someone with your education, skills, experience, and track record of success to perform your job duties.

It is very important that when you research the market that you align the various variables to ensure you are comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges. For example, a report found that remote software engineers at startups make 11.5% more in base pay than remote software engineers at public companies.

If you are a software engineer at a startup and want to know if you’re underpaid, you want to research what other startups in your industry are paying someone to perform your job duties with your skills, experience, education, and track record of success, not what public companies are paying.

Not comparing apples to apples can screw up your market research and could result in incorrectly concluding that you are not underpaid when you in fact are underpaid or vice versa.

It is our position to always implement safe and professional tactics that will help successfully ask for, and be granted, a pay raise. Asking co-workers what they earn can backfire (even when asked with good intentions). It is for this reason that we suggest having pay and compensation conversations with your boss or decision-maker and to ask them/the company questions that will give you data to determine if you are underpaid or not.

Some career coaches advise that you ask co-workers what they earn in order to determine if you are underpaid. While we strongly believe in salary transparency, salary transparency should come from the company. It may feel logical to ask co-workers what they earn however doing so can:

  • Make a co-worker feel put on the spot and feel uncomfortable which could result in you getting in trouble
  • Result in receiving incorrect information as the co-worker might not tell the truth and you have no way to verify the information they share
  • Result in receiving misleading information as a co-worker in the same position as you and performing at the same level as you may have been hired with more experience resulting in their ability to make significant contributions sooner resulting in them being granted a higher starting base pay (compared to an individual starting the position with less experience resulting in the need for training, an investment the company did not need to make in the more experienced colleague)
  • Violate company policy and get you in trouble or even fired

When you prepare to ask for a raise there may be more than one reason you ask for a raise. Let’s walk through an example…

Reasons to Ask for a Raise (Example)

Let’s say you have worked at your company for two and a half years and your last raise was 12-months after you were hired. It has been a year and a half since you were given a raise.

You are treated like a senior level person in your position. You consistently hit goals and are trusted to lead and train others. You discover that a new entry-level person you are training to perform the duties of your job is being paid more than you with less experience and lower performance.

In addition, you live in a city where the cost of living has increased by 5.6%.

In this example you have several reasons to ask for a raise:

  • Personal performance
  • Cost of living adjustment
  • Salary adjustment for being underpaid

To successfully ask for a raise it is important to prepare to ask for all three types of raises by doing market research and using your personal performance data (i.e. quantified work achievements) to present a specific dollar value that reflects what you should be making as a senior level person in your position.

The amount you ask for should be broken down into three independent amounts that reflect the value you contribute to your company (i.e. your personal performance), the cost of living adjustment, and the salary adjustment needed to get you up to equitable pay and close the wage gap.

The total value of the three salary increases might end up sounding like a lot. This is why it is important to break down how much you’re asking for into very specific dollar values and to support the dollar values with market data and personal performance data. Doing this roots your pay raise ask in data. When you root a pay raise ask in data you make your ask clear, logical, and persuasive.

It is very hard for a rational manager or boss to deny a raise to a person that is a valued employee and professionally brings up the need for a pay raise (especially when one of the reasons is a salary adjustment for being underpaid that could result in a discriminatory wage gap lawsuit).

When to Ask for a Raise (FAQs)

When to Ask for a Raise (FAQs)

When to Ask for a Raise (FAQs):

Is it ok to ask for a raise?

A lot of people, especially women, immigrant, first-gen, Black, and Latine professionals, ask the question “Is it ok to ask for a raise?”

It is absolutely ok to ask for a raise when:

  • Your personal performance warrants it,
  • When you need a salary adjustment for being underpaid,
  • When the company is performing well and you can detail the contributions you made that positively impacted its performance, and/or
  • Due to the rising cost of goods and services.

What a person is paid is not a gift, it is a value based on the contributions made to a business. What a person is paid should match what the market determines the value of the work performed is. Asking for a raise is not a personal or emotional transaction, it is a transaction rooted in the value of services performed.

It is ok to ask for a raise when you’re excelling in your position and surpassing goals, the company is performing well and you can show how your work contributed to the company’s success, when the cost of living increases, when you are underpaid based on what the market is paying, and/or when you are underpaid based on what colleagues with similar experiences, skills, and outcomes are earning.

When should I ask my employer for a raise?

You should ask your employer for a raise when you:

  • Have mastered your job description and are consistently hitting or surpassing goals
  • Receive new job duties and responsibilities
  • You have generated a significant meaningful and measurable positive impact to the company
  • Discover you are underpaid either based on what the market is paying or based on what colleagues in your position with the same skills, training, and outcomes are making
  • Need a cost of living adjustment to match the rising cost of goods and services (not because your bills exceed what you earn)
  • Have a skill that the company relies on that co-workers do not have (e.g. being bilingual)
  • Receive a job offer from another company to perform the same or similar job duties and are willing to accept the other job if you don’t receive a salary increase

Can I ask for a raise after 3 months?

Yes, you can ask for a raise after 3 months. Reasons to ask for a raise after 3 months include:

  • You discover the job description was not accurate and you are performing duties and responsibilities that were not listed in the job description
  • You perform well and are trusted with additional job duties and responsibilities
  • You did not negotiate your original job offer and are consequently underpaid based on what the market is paying for someone with your skills, education, experience, and track record of success
  • You discover you are underpaid compared to colleagues in the same position with the same skills, training, level of performance, and outcomes
  • The cost of living increases and you need a cost of living adjustment
  • You generate significant contributions to the company that merit a raise

What is the average raise percentage for 2022?

On average in 2022 companies budgeted 3% pay raise increases for employees and the average raise after 1 year of work from June 2021 to June 2022 was 3.73%.

Unfortunately, this is not a good raise. A good raise reflects the value of an individual’s work in the market. This is why people job hop every one to two years. On average job hopping results in a 9.7% pay bump.

How much of a raise should I ask for 2022?

The raise you should ask for in 2022 should take into account:

  • What companies in your industry at a similar stage are paying someone with your skills, experience, education, and track record of success in your city (or the city that your company uses to benchmark pay) to perform the duties and responsibilities of your job
  • The value of your contributions to the company
  • If you have a specific valuable skills the company relies on that others do not
  • If you have not received a cost of living salary adjustment and the economic landscape warrants one
  • If you are paid equitably compared to colleagues in your position with the same training, skills, and outcomes

Based on the variables above you can use market data and personal performance data to make a logical case for any pay raise amount.

This is especially true if you are a positive and valued employee. It can cost your employer up to nine months of your salary to hire and train a productive replacement. This gives employers incentive to ensure valued employees are compensated based on what the market is paying.

Questions? Leave a Comment.

Now, I’d like to hear from you!

Did you discover a reason (or two) to ask for a raise that you didn’t know about? If so, let me know in the comment section below.

Also, please feel free to share this article with family and friends so that they don’t leave money on the table by not asking for a raise at a time that they should.

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