Dec 22, 2021
It Might Be Time To Talk to Your Boss About a Raise
By Claire Grant
As the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, now may be a good time to ask for a raise.
If you’ve been at your current job for a while, you might be thinking that you’re due for a raise, or even a promotion.
In fact, it may be a good time for you to consider asking. In 2022, salary raises are expected to be higher than they have been in 2021, returning to pre-pandemic levels. “This is a great time to ask for a raise,” says Lisa Barrow, the CEO of Summerville, South Carolina-based recruiting company Kada Recruiting. “With turnover at an all time high, companies are laser-focused on employee retention and keeping their best employees,” she adds.
To help you prepare to have that conversation with your manager, keep these strategies in mind:
#1 Find out how much you could (or should) be making
The first thing you should consider is how your compensation compares to that of people doing your job at other companies. Say you’re a senior software engineer at your company, and you have friends who do the same thing elsewhere who are making $20,000 more per year. That might be a sign that you’re undercompensated.
Take a look at job postings for your role and market research to see if you can get an idea of what you should be making in your job. You might check out websites like Payscale or Glassdoor to get some salary information. You can also use these sites to see the job description of your role at a different company. If you’ve taken on more than what those listings describe, you might be up for a promotion. Doing this “will show that you’re serious, have done your research and that you are invested in both the company and your own career success,” says Barrow.
You might also want to take into consideration location. If you live in one of the most expensive cities in the country—such as San Francisco, CA, Boston, MA, or New York, NY—you might not be making as much as other people who live in your area.
#2 Think about timing
While there might not be a bad time to ask for a raise or a promotion, there might also be a best time to ask. For one, experts suggest that you wait at least six months before you ask for a raise. If your company typically issues raises and promotions on a certain schedule, you might want to take that into consideration. Ask your colleagues or your manager if that schedule exists, and plan to meet with your manager at least a month before those decisions happen.
Additionally, you might consider other factors affecting your company such as an influx of funding or a big new client. You might want to strike while the iron is hot and inquire about a bump in pay then. Or if you just nailed a big project that helped advance the company, you might think about using the opportunity to ask for a promotion.
#3 Take on more responsibility, and keep track
Look at the description of your job. Have you taken on more day-to-day tasks? Are you managing an intern or multiple people? Make a list of everything you do that’s outside of your current job description and keep that on hand when you’re getting ready to talk to your boss. “Know what benchmarks you’ve hit, what accomplishments you’ve made with yourself and your team and share those accomplishments and how that aligns with the companies goals and missions,” says Adrienne Dinkelacker, the managing director of Los Angeles-based talent acquisition and recruitment firm focused on diversity and inclusion.
Even if you don’t get the promotion or raise that you wanted to get, having a record of your accomplishments can be helpful when you bring up the subject again, or if you decide to look for another job somewhere else.
#4 Be your own advocate
Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to have this conversation with your boss, schedule the meeting, and make sure they’re aware that you want to talk about the direction of your career. Before you meet with them, make a case for why you deserve a promotion or a raise. You may want to write out your talking points or practice with a friend or family member beforehand.
Remember that while it would be nice to receive a raise or a promotion unsolicited, the more likely scenario is that you’ll have to ask. And even if you don’t get the answer you want, it’s a great opportunity to practice advocating for yourself and negotiating.
#5 Prepare for every possible answer
Of course, the answer you want to hear is that you’ll be promoted, and you’ll get an even bigger raise than you had wanted. But you should prepare to get a variety of answers including yes, no, and maybe.
If your boss says no, try to keep a level head and ask them for a reason. It could be anything from your performance, to timing, to budget constraints. Then ask your boss what you can do, if anything, to get what you’re looking for and a timeline you can work towards.
If your boss says maybe, or says that they can give you less than you asked for, or a different title, it might be time to negotiate. Make sure you go into the negotiation with a salary range. You may want to ask for the high end of your range, and work down from there. Maybe you’re willing to sacrifice a title bump for more money. Know what you want the most out of your conversation before you have to negotiate for it. When negotiating, think about “what is going to make you happy, feel valued and stay engaged. Some of those things outside of salary could be PTO, Work from home days, different hours, bonus, or on going potential, equity (if applicable),” says Dinkelacker.
No matter how the conversation goes, it’s great practice to have open conversations with your boss about compensation and the future of your career.