HR Insider: Think You’re Underpaid? Here’s How To Ask For A Raise

While it should never be the main focus, salary plays an important role in your career. As you spend more time in the professional world, you’ll gain skills that will increase your value to your employer as well as increase your earning potential in the job market. Even if you negotiated a competitive starting salary for your job, it’s wise to consider if you’re being adequately compensated for your performance.

Companies generally have a set salary increase percentage per employee without much wiggle room, but most are willing to reward their top-tier employees to show them that they’re appreciated. If you’re one of those star performers, and you’re wondering how to ask for a raise, there are several things you’ll want to do prepare an appropriate request.

Do your research. Before you start the conversation, you should research what your skills are worth on the market. Check out sites like,, and to find the going rate for similar roles in your area. Since titles can vary from company to company, don’t focus on the exact title of the role, or the ‘years of experience’ required, but look instead for a role that matches the responsibilities of your current position.

Include the right people. While management structure varies by company, you’ll want to address your salary concerns with your manager and Human Resources, as both parties will likely need input from the other before any decisions can be made.

Time the conversation. Use common sense on this one. If your boss just gave you poor feedback, or your company just made cutbacks, it’s likely not a great time to talk about a salary increase. Remember, the request is all about showing that you’re bringing value to the company above what you were hired for – they’re not likely to consider a raise if you just show them that you’re doing the tasks required of your position. You should also wait at least six months after your hire before bringing up salary – you need to make sure that you’ve had time to make a measurable impact before you ask for a raise. Finally, this should go without saying, but this conversation should ALWAYS be had in person – never via email. This is the type of conversation that will have the most impact (and is most appropriate) face to face.

Frame your request. Your request should be about being paid for the value that you’re bringing to the company. Don’t talk about how much your coworker makes or how you need more money to make your rent – speak only to your skills and your role within the company. If your salary research finds that you’re underpaid for your position, mention that information – but the request for a raise should still be framed around the value you can provide to your team, not around getting a raise just to meet industry pay standards.

Prove your worth.  Make a list of your accomplishments – and be specific! Use percentages and dollar amounts whenever possible (ie, added 500 new followers to our Facebook account which resulted in a 10% increase in event attendance). If you don’t have any hard numbers to present, take a look at your job description, and pinpoint where you have gone above and beyond to provide value to the team. If you can show the company that you’re adding actual value to their bottom line, they’ll be much more receptive to considering a raise.


Keep up the good work. Regardless of what happens, continue to do your best work and put your best foot forward at all times. If your request is approved, stay consistent! Make sure you show the company that they didn’t make a mistake by investing more heavily in you. If you don’t receive the raise you requested, ask what you can do to be considered for an increase during your next review, and continue to prove your worth. If it comes to a point that you’re providing more value to the company than they’re providing to you, it may be time to consider looking for a new role that will provide the monetary recognition you’re seeking.

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Career, HR, Salary