How To Ask for More Money at Work

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Do you feel like you're not paid enough for the work you do? If so, you're not alone. 

According to a Robert Half survey, 55% of U.S. employees say that they feel underpaid, even though median salaries are on the rise. Forty-eight percent of workers said that they would ask for a raise if they didn’t receive one before the end of the year.

But negotiating with your employer can be scary. Unlike making a counteroffer during a job interview process, asking for higher pay when you’re on the job means risking the status quo. You may fear that your manager will be upset with you, or that you’ll paint yourself into a corner if the answer is no. 

While you can’t control your department’s budget or your boss’s priorities, you do have power over some aspects of this negotiation. To boost your chances of getting a raise, learn how to ask the right way. 

Key Takeaways

  • Demonstrate success via performance reviews, praise from managers and other employees, and quantifiable achievements like exceeding revenue goals.
  • Ask your manager for a meeting to discuss your salary request and be sure to time the conversation carefully.
  • Share your future goals to emphasize your intention to continue providing value to the company.
  • If your manager turns down your request, ask for feedback on how to qualify for a raise.

How To Ask For More Money

The basis for any request for additional compensation should be a clear track record of solid performance.

If your employer conducts regular performance evaluations, then you may already have documentation in place. If not, ask your supervisor if she can schedule a review so that you can get specific feedback on your performance, and formally establish some objectives for the next year.

Keep the focus on your job performance, rather than on your personal circumstances when you're discussing salary. 

Track Your Performance

Make sure that you keep a record of your daily and weekly accomplishments, and any data supporting these achievements. Even though you're doing a terrific job, your boss may still need reminding.


Don't wait until you ask for a raise to share your accomplishments. 

Keep your supervisor in the loop about your progress with an ongoing stream of communication about your activities. In particular, it's helpful to let your supervisor know the following: 

  • When you receive praise or acknowledgment (especially from management-level employees or people in other departments). 
  • When your work helps increase the company's revenue or decrease costs.
  • When you go above and beyond your job description. 

Document Your Value

Research compensation and salary trends for your field through surveys by professional organizations, data on average salary increases, online salary tools, and informal dialogue with professional colleagues.

Once you can document the value that you have added to your employer and establish what you’re worth in the marketplace, it's time to ask your supervisor to schedule a meeting to discuss your salary. This might occur naturally at the end of an already scheduled meeting for your performance review.


If you're asking your manager for a meeting specifically to talk about salary, mention it when you request the meeting.

Summarize Your Accomplishments

Prepare a one- or two-page summary of your accomplishments, to highlight the reasons you have earned a salary increase. 

Then, during your meeting, you'll verbally ask for a raise. There is no need for a long statement. You'll want to open up the conversation, mention your accomplishments, then ask for a raise. 

For example, you might say: 

Thanks so much for meeting with me today. I'm hoping we can chat about some of my recent accomplishments, and then discuss my salary. As you know, I recently launched the XYZ project on deadline, and below budget. I've already heard from the sales department that it's helping with lead generation. I've also been able to do ABC and am looking forward to X additional initiatives. I'm excited about what I've accomplished—and looking forward to what's to come. With all that said, I'd like to talk about my compensation. 

You can keep it general ("I'd like a raise" or "I'd like to discuss my salary"), or you can ask for a specific number ("Based on my salary research, I'd like an X percent raise"). 

Be careful that you don't imply an ultimatum or convey frustration or any negative emotion. Be ready to calmly counter any objections which you can anticipate. Pay raise negotiations often involve a back-and-forth exchange, not just an initial request by an employee.

Your rationale for a pay raise should be entirely based on the quality of your work. Avoid the temptation to present personal reasons such as family responsibilities or additional expenses that you have incurred.

Share Future Goals

Along with detailing why your accomplishments and work at the company merit a raise, it can be helpful to mention your plans for future projects. This solidifies that you want to stick around and that giving you a raise will result in more of the same high-quality work you're already doing. 

Pick the Right Moment

Salary decisions should be based on business motivations, not personal factors. Still, it's a smart idea to pick your moment to request a raise. 

If your company has annual performance reviews that are tied to raises, that's the best time to make your request. Or at some companies, raises may be most common at the close of the fiscal year. 

But if the company does not have that structure in place, try these tips to schedule the conversation: 

  • Make sure the company's performance is strong (or level): If you can, you'll want to avoid asking for a raise the day after a company-wide meeting on the company's underperformance. 
  • Catch your manager in a good mood: Is your manager always in a good mood on Fridays? Schedule accordingly. Similarly, try to avoid scheduling on busy days or right when your boss has a major presentation or something stressful in the works. 
  • Time it to an accomplishment: If you just wrapped a major, impressive project, that's a good moment to ask for a raise, since your strong performance will be fresh in your manager's mind. 
  • Give advance notice: Consider scheduling the meeting a week or two in advance so your manager doesn't feel trapped or surprised by your request. 

If You Get Turned Down

If your employer turns down your request for a raise, ask what you might do to qualify for a bump in salary. Work with your supervisor to establish specific objectives to enhance your performance and a timetable for reaching those goals.


If your supervisor raises a legitimate performance issue, discuss the steps you need to take to overcome the problem and a timeline for review.

It is not uncommon for employers to use a salary freeze as a reason for refusing an increase, even though they may affirm that you might otherwise deserve a raise. Explore alternative scenarios with your supervisor whereby you might increase compensation, such as a promotion or position upgrade. Be prepared to show how your role has evolved over time, or to mention ways that you could add value in a new role.

In this era, the most common way for many salaried workers to secure a raise, unfortunately, is to change employers. If you receive an offer from another company, your current employer may match or exceed that offer to keep you on staff. Of course, there is no guarantee that this will happen, and you should be prepared to change jobs if you pursue this strategy as a way to earn more money.

Some employers will react adversely if they even think you are seeking alternative employment, so be very discreet if you decide to pursue other opportunities while you are currently employed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a good salary?

A good salary varies depending on the cost of living in your area. For example, the average annual wage in the Jacksonville, Alabama area is $42,170, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the average annual wage in Seattle, Washington is $76,170. Your idea of a good salary will also vary based on your industry, job title, experience level, and skill set. But regardless of other factors, a good salary meets your expenses and is appropriate for your job and qualifications. 

What is a normal raise to ask for?

When asking for a raise, target the fair market rate for the job title, given your experience and qualifications. Use free salary surveys like Indeed,, Payscale, and Glassdoor to get a sense of how much your skills are worth in the job market.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Robert Half. "U.S. Workers Share Salary Expectations and Priorities in Today’s Job Market." 

  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "May 2021 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL." 

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