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How to ask for a raise

If you’re studying to upgrade an existing qualification, or to expand your current skill base, you might be in line for a wage increase when you finish your degree. 

But don’t assume that just because you deserve a pay rise, you’ll get one. If you haven’t asked, you may not receive. 

Wage negotiation is an uncomfortable prospect, but avoiding it can cost you a significant sum in lost earnings over the span of your career. The tips below will help you steer the conversation to ensure that you’re earning the salary you deserve. 

Have you earned it?

The first thing to establish is a whether or not you have a strong case for a raise. How long have you been at the company? What relevant qualifications do you possess? Look at your job description, are you going above and beyond what’s required of your role? Answers to these questions should form the platform from which you can support your request. 


The best time to ask for a raise is after a performance review. A strong performance review will provide a body of evidence to further demonstrate your claim. 
But before entering a negotiation, consider also the wider economic conditions of the day. A recession is not the best time to be asking for more money. Equally, if the company is currently shedding jobs, they’re unlikely to be receptive to your request.

Make the first move

You may have been advised to wait for the other party to make the initial offer. But if your employer suggests a figure significantly below your minimum, you’ve got a lot of work to do to get that number to where you’d like it to be. If you make the first move, you decide the base figure from which the negotiations will begin. Start high (within reason) so you have some downward leeway. 

Another tip, specific figures, e.g. $74,500 compared to a more general number like $70,000, are better. Precise numbers will appear more researched than even figures. 

Be flexible

Finally, be prepared to compromise. If your employer can’t give you the figure you’re after, consider some other benefits you can negotiate. Extra holidays, working from home, a company car or phone are all potential bargaining chips depending on your circumstances.