“First, think. Second, believe. Third, dream. And finally, dare.”
With Canada’s tight labour market and the battle for talent heating up, now is probably the perfect time to ask for a pay raise. Now is also the time to ask for a raise if you have been exceeding expectations and hitting bigger goals. But don’t just ask for a salary raise because you just feel like doing so. You should do it in a strategic way.
Immigrants are sometimes shy of having this pay conversation, either for fear of rejection or lack of confidence. If asking for a raise looks intimidating to you, follow these 10 tips on how to ask for a pay raise and get it.
10 ways to ask for a pay raise
- Be prepared
The best way to ask for a pay raise, and increase your chances of getting one, is to be prepared. If you don’t yet feel confident enough to ask for the raise you deserve, wait till you are adequately prepared. But you don’t have to wait indefinitely.
- Timing makes perfect
Picking the right time to ask for a pay raise can help increase your chances of getting one. Here are the best times to ask for a salary raise:
- During performance reviews
- Upon successfully completing a large project or smashing a big goal.
- After receiving a reasonable amount of positive feedback consistently.
- When your workload increases.
- When your manager is approachable and seems in a great mood.
- The company is in sound financial health.
- Research salary trends in your industry
To better understand how much of a salary increase you should ask for, take some time to research salary trends around your area. Taking a look at how much other workers in the same field are making could help you better understand your potential pay grade.
If most positions around your area are offering more than what you’re making, you could use it as leverage when asking for a raise. You can also research job openings and compare the qualifications with your own position and accomplishments to help you determine a salary increase that makes the most sense.
- Make a list of your accomplishments
Your qualifications and accomplishments can help you build a better case as to why you’re asking for a raise. Compile a list of all your qualifications, experience, special skills and all your accomplishment. Demonstrate your commitment and the value that you bring to the company.
- Schedule a meeting
The next step is to set up a meeting with your manager or supervisor. The ideal way to ask for a raise is in person—or through a video call if working remotely—preferably in private. To show professionalism, avoid discussing a potential raise through email or in common areas in the workplace.
Whether you’ll be requesting a raise during a performance review or scheduling a separate meeting entirely, it’s important to let your manager know of your plans
- Get ready and go for it
Once you schedule a meeting, it’s time to get ready for it. Preparing what you will say can help you feel more confident during the meeting. Take some time to rehearse your presentation and gather everything you will be presenting to your manager.
Start with a strong opener: Start by thanking your manager for taking the time to meet with you, and clearly state the purpose of this meeting. This is the time to mention that you would like to discuss your accomplishments and compensation. Your opening could sound like this:
“Thanks for taking the time to meet with me today. I have been enjoying my time as a [insert position] for the past [insert number] years and have been thinking about how much I’ve grown and about my future here at [insert company name]. I’m excited to continue to help the company grow and work toward increasing my responsibilities. Because of that, I would like to discuss my compensation.”
After you lay out the details, finish your speech by stating your goals and asking to revisit your compensation. You can close out like this: “These points considered; my goal is to continue to be an important asset to this company. I’d appreciate it if we could revisit my compensation at this time and discuss a reasonable increase”.
- Avoid focusing on personal reasons
Avoid focusing on personal reasons for why you are requesting a raise, such as needing to pay bills or feeling burned out. When asking for a raise, you should focus on what you’ve done for the company and how you can contribute to its growth.
You should also be careful not to say the wrong things such as “I need more money” or “I think I deserve it.” Saying such things can hinder your chances of getting a raise.
- Focus on selling, not begging
The fact that you have five kids, or a lot of debt is not the company’s problem. People get raises because they add value, so instead of pleading for an increase because you need it, explain why you deserve it.
- Don’t use information about colleagues’ salaries
Avoid bringing office gossip into your discussion. Even if you know someone makes more money than you and you think that you deserve a salary that’s equal—or higher—it’s advisable not to mention it.
It’s just not professional, and you never know if what you’ve heard, or overheard, is true. Instead, focus on your own individual experience and accomplishments and why you should get a raise – on your own merits, not based on what other people are getting paid.
- Don’t give an ultimatum
Be careful about how you broach the topic. You don’t want to come across as too demanding. Of course, be confident and assertive in your request, but be aware of your tone and focus on being patient, professional, and understanding.
Give an ultimatum only if you have another concrete job offer and are willing to give up your current job. Do avoid this approach as much as possible, as you do not also want to burn any bridges. Always go for win-win.