Tips To Successfully Ask For A Pay Raise

We all want it, yet how do we even broach the topic to our boss? How do we ask for a pay raise without feeling embarrassed or sounding too demanding? You might think, why not leave it to the HR to calibrate our salary? But not all of us are blessed with good bosses who will give pay raises to recognise your efforts. Furthermore, everyone gets the annual increment from the HR regardless of the effort or responsibilities that you have. You, and only you, are responsible for your own welfare at the workplace. If you don’t ask, you’ll never get it. So push aside the discomfort and use these tips to get a pay raise.

Choose The Right Time

Did you know that picking the right time to ask can significantly increase your chances of getting a pay raise? If you have successfully completed a huge project, leverage it to ask for a raise! If you know that your organisation is not doing so well financially, ask another time. Chances are, they are likely to cut costs or even reduce manpower to tide through. Avoid peak periods when your boss is feeling stressed out and overwhelmed with work. Find out more about your organisation’s pay practices. Do they consider off cycle pay raises or do they only do it at the end of a financial year?

Know Your Worth

I’m sure most of us feel uncomfortable about asking our friends or colleagues about their salary. Somehow in Singapore, it feels like a taboo topic. If you have friends or colleagues who are open to sharing about their salary, talk to them! If not, refer to salary guides or Glassdoor reviews to get an estimate. It’s tough to gauge how much you should be earning especially when you’ve been in the industry for too long or new to the industry. Compare salary trends and take into account your education level, experience and skill set before coming up with a number. You don’t want to be asking for a ridiculous amount or short changing yourself.

Emphasise Accomplishments

This is your time to shine and show off! A pay raise should happen because you did exceptionally well, not because you did your job. So, don’t downplay your achievements. If you have taken on additional tasks that go beyond your job scope, bring that to the table too! Justify your reasons with examples, facts and data. Let the impact of your accomplishments do the talking. Remember to sound confident by avoiding words like ‘think’ or ‘feel’.

Focus On The Why

Why do you deserve a pay raise? Why should you get it and not someone else? No matter how nice your boss is, the reality is that every organisation has limited resources. They can’t give you a pay raise just because you asked for it. You have to convince your boss that you truly earned and deserved it. Apart from highlighting your accomplishments, show them how you can add value to the organisation. Having soft skills like leadership or specific hard skills that enable you to take on more responsibilities should be mentioned.

Be Prepared

Rehearse and get ready an arsenal of potential questions that your boss might ask you. Be clear on how you arrived at the figures for the pay raise and your future plans. If your ideal salary is above their budget, expect some negotiation. Don’t be disheartened if your boss says no! Suggest alternatives such as more time off or better benefits if a pay raise is out of the picture. Ask and understand from your boss why a raise is not possible. Is the organisation making losses? Are your KPIs not aligned with the organisational needs and goals? 


At the end of the day, it’s all about communicating about what you deserve. There’s no harm in asking for a pay raise if you truly deserve it. It’s better to ask and get a response than to have never asked at all! 


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