How to ask your boss for a raise

Hey all,

Em here. Andy’s brewing some more beer, so I’m writing our Sunday post :)how to ask your boss for a raise

Today I want to talk about a topic that can be more than a little awkward: how to ask your boss for a raise. Obviously, the more money you can make doing your current job, the easier it’s going to be to downsize that debt. But how do you do it?

In the current climate, many of us just feel lucky to even have a job. Andy and I are grateful every day that we are both in full time work at the moment. We know others aren’t so fortunate.

But what if you’re feeling undervalued in your job? Maybe you’ve taken on some extra responsibilities lately, or just completed a project that’s really benefited your company… but your pay check has stayed the same?

This can be terrible for your morale, which in turn is not good for your boss. So what are some ideas to make the conversation about asking for a pay rise a little bit easier?

Do this,

  • Do your homework:
    • Try to find out how your company is doing. If they’re letting staff go, it’s probably not the right time. If they’re doing well, go for it.
    • Find out how your current salary compares to that of others doing similar work at other companies. A tool like the salary wizard at can help you do some initial research. This is going to help you pitch at what you ask for with your raise.
    • Start keeping a list of your achievements and projects to prepare for the meeting.


  • Schedule a meeting:
    •  Be smart with your timing. First thing Monday or last thing Friday is probably terrible! Some experts recommend after lunch as a relaxed time. You will probably know when your boss is at their most relaxed, get a meeting at that time if you can.
    • Keep your meeting request nice and relaxed, and give your boss plenty of notice.


  • Be realistic:
    • I’m sure you do an awesome job. I bet you’re an amazing employee. But don’t go asking for a wildly ambitious raise, because it won’t happen. The more realistic you are with the figure you request, the more likely you are to get it.


  • Be gracious:
    • You’ve had the meeting, you’ve done everything right. But your boss has said no. Instead of getting grumpy, thank them for their time (at least they met with you to discuss your salary) and ask for feedback. This way you can learn more about a) what you might need to do next time and b) whether raises are a future possibility at your company.


how to ask your boss for a raise

Keep things professional, no matter what the outcome.

Even better, (and WAYYY less awkward): why not try making your own pay rise?

Not that:

  • Complain about current conditions:
    • It might well be true that you haven’t had a raise for 3 years. Or that you know your colleague is getting more than you. Or that you’re overworked. But if you go into your salary meeting and start outlining all your problems, your boss is going to be on the defensive and view things negatively.


  • Dress poorly:
    • My favorite quote is “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. So don’t just dress nicely on salary meeting day, present yourself well every day. This could be part of doing your homework and prep for the meeting!


  • Get emotional:
    • This conversation is gonna be awkward, and there is a lot riding on it for you. But don’t get weepy, and definitely don’t tell your boss you need the raise to help with [insert story here]. This is akin to emotional blackmail, and won’t go down well. You’ll look unprofessional and weak (harsh I know, but true). Keep things as professional and as neutral as you can!


  • Threaten to leave:
    • If you do this, you will look like a child having a tantrum. And what will you do if your boss tells you to go ahead? Follow the advice above and use a rejection of your request to get feedback for next time. Your boss will think you’re one cool cucumber who is professional enough to take rejection well.


So there you have it. Some of the advice might sound a little bit harsh, but you really do just need to be professional about things, and try to see them from your boss and company’s point of view.


I’d love to hear any reader’s tips or experiences, leave us a comment telling us how you got on asking for a raise.


Happy downsizing,




image 1 by Tax Credits, CC 2.0,, image 2 by 드림포유, CC 2.0,


  • Emily,

    This is a very informative post which I found extremely helpful. I have taken several extra responsibilities at my job lately and I feel like I have not been rewarded properly. I have gotten two raises since I have been working for this company and I never had to ask for either of them. However, I do feel like I deserve a raise lately and I just had no idea how to bring it up. I am not the kind of person who asks for things, I believe that if I work hard, supervisors should acknowledge that and compensate me accordingly. But this does not happen often. After reading your article I feel like I am prepare to at least talk about it with my boss, and I will take your advise and be professional at all times.

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