5 Ways to Negotiate a Pay Raise

In this article, you will get introduced to negotiation tools that will grant you a smooth pay raise conversation and ultimately receive it.

Patrick Curtis

Reviewed by

Patrick Curtis

Expertise: Private Equity | Investment Banking


August 31, 2023

How to Negotiate a pay raise?

Pay is a touchy subject. You should not talk about it with your boss in the middle of the day. On the other hand, pay is also significant. Let's be honest: how many of us would keep working if we weren't paid?

Don't bring up your pay as an afterthought after an hour-long one-two-one; instead, set up a separate meeting to give your request for a raise the attention it deserves.

Finally, your tastes and connection with your boss will determine how you organize your salary review meeting.

You could wish to tell them the topic ahead of time. This is especially useful if you ask them for ideas to prepare for the meeting. Or perhaps you'd like to submit a generic, agenda-free request and conduct all your chatting on the spot.

It is also critical to think about the timing of your request. Has your organization just lost a significant client? Is your boss now juggling an abnormally high number of essential meetings? If this is the case, they may not be in the best spirits.

We're not saying you should forgo your request, but when negotiating a raise, you want the odds in your favor. Wait until their schedule is somewhat clear - ideally when there are no big business issues to distract from your meeting.

There is no one reason behind this number; it might be an awkward conversation, not having a proper communication tool to negotiate a pay raise, or not wanting to appear greedy.

Whenever you find yourself stuck articulating your idea with colleagues or at a social event, you should know that you are not trained well enough in negotiation and persuasion skills.

In this article, you will get introduced to negotiation tools that will grant you a smooth pay raise conversation and ultimately receive it.


The thought of asking for a pay raise always sounds stressful. In a recent survey with over 160,060 workers, only 37% of workers asked for a raise from their employers.

When to ask for a pay raise?

In a typical scenario, your salary will not be a significant concern for the first six to ten months since you agreed with your employer during the job interview. During this period, your primary concern is to know your colleagues, the process of your work, and other job-related duties.

You will receive projects and spend generous time on them. Then, the thought of a pay raise emerges; I work a lot, and I deserve more for my efforts, or I brought a new idea, and the management put it into action, so I deserve a raise.

At this stage, your job duties have improved, and your performance has gotten a boost. Here it becomes a good time to ask for a pay raise.

In some scenarios and over time, a rise in the price level of goods occurs, called inflation. Your salary will buy fewer commodities than you usually were able to purchase.

All these scenarios would trigger the thought of a pay raise. Still, you have to think of the big picture of whether your organization is in a position where it can negotiate a pay raise due to financial problems.

You must also measure your contributions and skills to the organization. Check whether they helped achieve the organization’s goals. 

Frequency Of Asking for A Raise

Usually, it is better not to ask for a pay raise until you pass one year at the company. In a survey, it is estimated that a worker who has been in a company for 3-4 years is three times more likely to receive a raise relative to a worker with less than 1 Year.

There is no written law on the frequency a worker should ask for a pay raise. However, it is expected that a worker can ask for a raise once a year.

Avoid continuous demand because it does not become annoying for your manager. Check the timing of the year and the day you are asking for. 


The national average raise percentage is 3% for employees meeting their goals and employers’ expectations. And according to one study, 56.4% of employers plan to give employees a raise of 3%. But between worker expectations and high inflation, a 3% raise may not feel like a pay raise.

Steps in negotiating a pay raise

Here are five steps you can follow to master negotiation skills. These will work in a conversation where you persuade someone into what you desire. But to be comfortable following them, you just need what you are asking for and believe you are worthy of getting it.

1. Choose the right time

There is a period when the company conducts a pay review which occurs at least once a year. This process corresponds with inflationary changes, a rising cost of living, or changes in job duties that employees pass through.

It is encouraged to negotiate a pay raise during this period when you will have a higher probability of receiving your demand.

Other employees discuss signing a new contract or at the end of a fiscal year. 

2. Understand your industry 

An HR director at Addison Group called Peg Buchenroth said, “Know your worth in the marketplace. That will serve you well in any negotiation”.

You will be able to differentiate yourself in the market. Consider not demanding a sharp increase in your salary if you receive a higher salary than your colleagues.

3. Express your commitment  

It is always necessary to give something in return for something you want. You must have a mindset that the conversation will end up in a win-win situation.

You desire a pay raise, but the manager wants an employee committed to the organization. Here are some actions you will exhibit to show your strong business care:

  • Demonstrate enthusiasm while completing your duties 
  • Contribute with your teammates 
  •  Present your contributions to the company.

Your commitment to the organization will ease negotiating a pay raise since you continue building a strong foundation of trust.

4. Take your time

Learn to take your time to understand the whole picture. When you are presented with an offer, do not accept it immediately. 


Analyze the offer and check if it suits your requests.

Suppose the manager has accepted your pay raise request but on the condition that you will work an extra day during the week. Perhaps you don’t mind working an extra day but take your time to determine if it’s reasonable to your availability and your life commitments.

5. Manage the negotiation

Verbal communication, body language, and written communication should be considered while negotiating with your manager. Every person has a unique way of communicating.

For example, your manager might be from a culture that does not prefer eye contact during communication. Then you have to respect their preferences to allow a comfortable negotiation. This will convey your message and end up with effective results.

Avoid surprising your manager with unexpected requests. First, make sure to provide simple details. When you notice acceptance from your manager to your proposal, delve into more critical details.


Don't forget to use our Salary Comparison Tool to measure your salary against similar employees in your sector.

After predicting your manager’s response and choosing a convenient communication method, it’s time to approach your manager.

Your attitude should be structured because you are requesting something you deserve, and certainly, it's not a favor. You are confident about it since you have done your research. 

The Answer

Regardless of how compelling your business argument is, keep in mind that other variables are also at work, such as:

  • The company's financial situation may restrict your manager's hands
  • The industry in which you work may be on a declining trend
  • You may be at the end of a lengthy line of employees requesting raises.

You are more likely to succeed if market circumstances are favorable and your performance deserves a raise.

So what if you don't receive a raise? Hopefully, your manager will be able to suggest clear next steps to assist you in working for a future increase, ideally with an agreed-upon timeline for your next evaluation.

A process must be followed to grant a raise, and it is not a simple request. Sometimes, your request might be rejected due to budgeting conflicts or meeting business targets. But you have to plan your next step, which can be:

  • Wait on the request for better timing 
  • Ask for a better title instead 
  • Request a change in reporting line. 

There can be any request you think of as a priority or a step further to your success. Eventually, the whole point of negotiation is striving for better life opportunities. 

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Researched and authored by Jasneet | LinkedIn

Reviewed & Edited by Ankit Sinha LinkedIn

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