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November 19th, 2012
Pay Increase at Work: How Not to Ask

Before you ask for a pay increase at work, be sure to do proper research in order to figure out if you are truly deserving of an increase in pay.

Pay Increase at Work: How Not to Ask

Written by Catherine Adenle

Explore how not to ask for a pay rise at work. Asking for a pay increase could be nerve-wracking regardless of your position in an organisation. In this slow economy, it’s even a bit risky if you are not cautious about having a justifiable strategy when you ask for an increase in your pay. However, all great employees deserve to be paid based on their work and the value they add to any organisation.

As an employee, if you feel that you are truly due for a raise by working hard, adding value and picking up new and challenging projects, then, it may be best to ask your manager for an increase in salary.

Frankly, if you don’t ask, then you don’t get! It’s my belief that you can ask your manager for anything that you think you need to be able to contribute meaningfully to the organisation. Nevertheless, how you ask is what counts.

Whatever you do, when you ask for a pay rise, it is best not to ask like these:

  1. What else do I need to do to get a pay rise around here?
  2. I have just been offered another job with more money than I currently earn here. If you don’t increase my pay, I’ll be off in no time.
  3. I have been here longer than everyone but I know that I don’t earn half of what some of them earn.
  4. Could you just close your eyes and think about my pay for a minute? Then, let me know what you are going to do about it?
  5. Why is Robert earning more than me? He’s lazy and I am not. Yet, I heard that he earns more.
  6. My workload has increased, but my pay hasn’t. What are you going to do about it?
  7. Just to let you know, I will not do any extra work or overtime until my pay is increased. Just saying…
  8. I give a lot to charity and I have four children. They depend on me, so now is the time for you to review my pay.
  9. I just bought a house; my pay cannot sustain me anymore. So, I need a raise or I may have to quit in search of a better paying job.
  10. I didn’t really want to come to you with this, but, please, do you think my salary could be higher?
  11. I haven’t been given any pay increase for years now, so am I going to get a raise this year?
  12. I work harder than anyone in this office, yet I have nothing to show for it.
  13. I have always met my yearly objectives, but I have never been rewarded for meeting them. What else do you need from me?!
  14. After my probation period, I expected an increase in pay. So, when am I getting one? What’s the deal here?
  15. I have no savings, my salary is just not enough to sustain me or allow me to own a car. Can I get a pay rise for goodness sake?
  16. Can you at least consider me for a pay rise? I am worth it, you know.
  17. Compare my pay to that of my colleagues and ask yourself if you’ve given me what I deserve.
  18. Sorry to bother you but I think you should know that it is the time for me to get a pay rise.
  19. What are your criteria for promoting people here? I think you have everything that you need in me. I am ready for a pay rise. Yet, I get skipped.
  20. I think I’m worth more than you currently pay me for doing this mindless job.
  21. I hope you know that I will leave if I don’t get a pay rise this year.
  22. I hate to do this to you, but I can’t keep quiet anymore as it’s now or never to get the pay that I deserve.
  23. I don’t know if there’s room for you to stretch your budget a bit because I am now due for a pay increase.
  24. My doctor asked me to lose weight; I am going to have gastric bypass surgery done so I need to have my pay bumped before I can have the operation. If not, I may die. So, I’ll appreciate it if you do something about it.
  25. I’m sorry if this is bad timing but I feel in my gut that I am due an increase in pay.
  26. Things are tough for me. I think I deserve an increase in pay as I struggle to stay afloat.
  27. I demand an increase in pay; I can’t manage my current pay as you must have guessed.
  28. I need more money more than you can imagine because my wife threatened to leave if I don’t make more money.
  29. Promotions, salary increase, just give me one. I need one and I need it now!
  30. You are a great manager; I expect that you’d know by now that I am due for a raise especially as you know that I am one of your most productive staff.

Now that you’ve read the 30 ways of how not to ask for a pay rise, I am sure that you will agree with me that anyone who asks for a pay increase without thinking about how to do so beforehand may end up offending their manager in the process.

Infographic: 20 Ways of How NOT to Ask Your Boss for a Raise at Work

20 ways of how not to ask for pay increase

Pay Increase at Work: How Not to Ask

How to ask

Before you ask for a pay increase, be sure to do proper research in order to figure out if you are truly deserving of an increase in pay. If you are, then, what are you worth? Know what is fair and reasonable. It may require you using online-based resources like,, or to find out what the going rate is for your profession considering your knowledge, experience, skills and other various factors.

See How to Ask for a Pay Rise

Afterwards, if you know that you are underpaid, then, it may be time to negotiate an increase. Beforehand, you must find a time that works best for your manager and schedule a meeting with him.

See Asking for a Raise, Do These Things First

It’s imperative that you give your manager a head’s up that you want to chat about your career growth so that he has enough time to prepare.

Being fully prepared means you can get a lot out of him. You have to be prepared too as the conversation may be a little awkward or difficult.

Don’t go to your boss without knowing your achievements and how they contribute to the success of your team, manager or organisation. Go in with a list of your achievements, their dates and the results they generated and how they helped your team, manager or organisation to improve or succeed. Remember, these accomplishments don’t have to be big ‘game-changer’ stuff. Anything to do with streamlining, problem-solving, continuous improvement, increase in productivity, mentoring or training should be thrown in.

When you sit in front of your manager, start on a positive note by letting him know that you enjoy your role and working with him. Then, discuss the possibility of reviewing your pay based on the scope of work, roles and responsibilities. Focusing on your achievements, in a convincing manner, make the case for why you should be given a pay rise. Don’t threaten, mention any of your colleagues pay, curse, beg or act in an aggressive manner. Just state your case in an assertive manner and leave the rest with your manager.

If after six months, you don’t get an increase in pay without any explanation from your manager, ask him again in a polite manner.

If after another six months, your manager still hasn’t made any attempt to give you a pay rise without giving you any reasons, then it may be time for you to move to another department or look for another job. However, if you like your job, your colleagues and the company, think of the other benefits that you receive by working with your employer and wait until you are given a pay rise. Maybe a pay raise won’t work at that moment but you can ask for other things, extra personal days, development opportunities or increased in other allowances.

See the 9 Things That Motivate Employees More Than Money

So, now that you have explored how not to ask for a pay increase at work, what can you add? Have you asked for a pay rise in the past? If yes, how did you ask your manager? Let us hear from you. Leave your comment below.

Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.

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