We live in an unstable economic climate. The inflation rises and has a direct impact on the amount of goods we can purchase for the same amount of money. If for nothing else, for this reason we need a regular raise to maintain our living standards. But our employer also have their problems, and things that bother them–tight budgets and narrow profit margin, rising competition, always balancing on the edge of profit and loss.

Welcome to the economy of 21st century, when nine out of ten companies bankrupt within five years of establishment. Honestly, if the employer could easily offer you a raise, they would do it. But they can not afford paying extra money to everyone, and therefore you should understand the right time, and the right strategy to ask for a raise.


Timing is everything

If your company struggles, the time is not right. If they are dismissing people, the time is not right. If they are facing bankruptcy or insolvency, you should wait with your talk–unless you want to get fired.

If your superior, or a decision maker with the power to increase your salary is in a bad mood, or experiences a difficult period in either their personal or professional life, you won’t get far with your request.

You should also not propose the discussion about the salary when people are busy with other important duties. When they focus on managing the company, or solving a problem that occurred in the production process, they won’t pay any attention to your words.


Ready to hear your words, understanding the value

So, what is the right time? The right time is when they are ready to hear your words, and when they can see the value you have brought to the company recently, with your good work. Try to answer the following questions to understand whether you are ready to ask for a raise:

  • Did you achieve good, or even exceptional results in the past weeks and months in your job?
  • Have you completed an important project recently, or helped the company to achieve an important milestone?
  • Has the company hired new employees recently, or offered a raise to some of your colleagues?
  • Have you been working in a company for more than three years, never getting a raise?

If you answer any of these questions positively, it will a good time to discuss your salary with a decision maker. And if you answered YES to at least two of the questions, your chances to get a raise will be very good!


Find a good reason for your request

Anytime you come and ask for a raise, employer will ask you why do you want, or need more money. They may ask the question only in their head, but nevertheless, they still need to find an answer to it. It is you who should help them to find the answer.

What I would not suggest is playing with their emotions, saying that you experience a difficult family situation, or that your daughter goes to university and you need more money to be able to support her studies. While this strategy (playing with emotions) can work with some female HR managers, it is a high-risk strategy that can backfire on you.

Most of the time the HR manager (or another employee who can approve your raise) isn’t interested in your personal problems. They have plenty of their own problems to solve… What they are interested in though is your work in the company, the results you achieve, the value you bring.

Show them the value

You should try and show them the value you have for the company, or for the particular department. If you convince them that the value exceeds the amount of money they pay you each month, they will agree to offer you a raise.

But if you are just hanging around, and have not achieved anything special lately, if you belong to the employees who don’t care about the prosperity of the company, it will be tough for them to find a reason to offer you more money. In such a case, and only in such a case, you should refer to the economic climate.

Mention inflation, increase of your living costs, and simply tell them that you should get a better salary to maintain your living standards. But try to speak without emotions, stick with facts. Keep in mind that you should not ask for more than 5-10% extra, if you talk about inflation and other economic reasons.


Friendly atmosphere in the room

You should try to have a good relationship with your superiors, and especially with people who sit in the HR department. It does not mean to be a yes-men, or a whisperer. It simply means to be nice to them, listen to the things they tell you, compliment them for their work, etc.

They are also human beings, they have emotions. If they like you as a person, if they are happy to meet you in the corridor, or to have a coffee with you, they will try their best to keep you in the company–even if it means reaching to their pockets and paying you more money…



Everyone can get a raise, and earn more money.

But the difference between people who actually get it, and those who do not and keep complaining, is in the right timing, and the right negotiation strategy.

Choose the right time, show them the reasons why you deserve a raise, and try to have a friendly relationship with them. If you follow this simple guide, you will succeed to get a raise most of the time.


Continue your preparation with Interview Penguin

  • Most common interview questions – What motivates you in work? Why do you want to leave your present job? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Learn how to answer the most common questions, and make a great impression on the hiring managers.
  • Salary negotiation tips – Basic rules you should remember when negotiating a salary in your interview
  • What job is right for me? Starting your professional career? Deciding about your studies? Or feeling unhappy in your present occupation? The article should help you to find your true calling in life.
Matthew Chulaw
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