How to Ask for a Wage Increase?

Min to Read
Updated on
Jul 5, 2021
Last published on
Jul 15, 2021
How to Ask for a Wage Increase? | Canada Talents - Blog

You've been working hard at your new job. You've adopted exciting new responsibilities, and it's approaching the annual review. Is now the right time to ask for that raise? How do you even have that conversation without sounding self-entitled or greedy?

The truth is that many working professionals asking for a raise (and getting it) can be a bit of an uncomfortable task. However, asking for a wage increase doesn't have to be. At its core, it's about self-actualization and receiving the compensation you deserve. It is not receiving a gift from your employer but rather an affirmation of your increased role in the company. Luckily, there are plenty of little tips that can help make this a positive and fulfilling experience.

Firstly, know that managers are very accustomed to salary negotiations. Asking for a raise is a standard and predictable process. The actual conversation doesn't have to be longer than five minutes, and regardless of the result, you can rest assured that you stood up for yourself.

How to Prepare

Long before you sit down to discuss your wage, a little preparation will go a long way to ensuring a more favourable result. You want to build a strong case for why you deserve a raise for your manager and yourself. This process of reflection can increase your confidence in your accomplishments.

An excellent first step is to communicate your successes at every opportunity proactively. Before asking for a raise, your manager must see evidence of excellence in your work. It is especially true in the passive style of Canadian workplaces, where success isn't apparent.  

Even with this additional visibility, you must have a list of wins to refer to when requesting a wage. This resume of successes looks even better if you include examples of where you have adopted responsibilities beyond even your current role. When preparing this information, try to refer to specific performance data like the number of projects you've completed or your measurable excellence in one particular technical area like typing speed.

It's also essential at this stage to do your research and truly understand how much your work is worth. Sites like Glassdoor's salary calculator are fantastic resources for finding competitive wages that match your experience. While most working professionals are uncomfortable with a direct discussion of their salary, they can also provide you with hypothetical figures from their industry. Recruiters can also provide more up-to-date data about potential salaries. However, it's also essential to research your company's salary structure. There may be rules in place which limit how much of a raise can be offered at one time.

Lastly, while you don't need an entire speech prepared, it helps to have a few key talking points - namely a list of your achievements and a plan for the future (more on that later) prepared in advance. Also, try to envision possible questions from your manager. For instance, how does this raise reflect what you will bring to our company? Or what has changed since we last evaluated your salary? Have your performance data ready to back your answer up.

When to Ask for a Raise?

It's important to schedule an in-person, private meeting with your manager to discuss your raise. A discussion over email won't reward all your preparation to the same extent.

However, the question of when to ask for a raise is an important one to consider. The key is to be considerate of the emotions of your manager. Stressful or financially difficult times will not lend themselves to a smooth conversation about a raise. They won't be able to give you their full attention, and it's unlikely that your hard work will pay off.

Instead, try to time your request after you have completed an important project or another highly successful contribution. Then, seize the moment and take advantage of this additional visibility to book a meeting about your future; it's likely your manager will be thinking about this already.

Another good time is during an annual review. Suppose you haven't received a pay increase in the last twelve months. In that case, this period naturally lends itself to discussing your future responsibilities and whether or not that involves a wage increase. It's generally recommended to avoid asking for another increase within twelve months.

How to Navigate the Conversation  

You've done your research and picked the perfect time, but now it is finally time to sit down with your manager; how do you nail the pitch?

First off, try to keep things brief. You don't need a PowerPoint or elaborate slides of what you've accomplished in the past year. If you've been preparing correctly, your work is already recognized, and you can refer to those successes. It may be helpful to leave a short bullet list of your talking points so that if your boss needs approval from their supervisor, they can pass along those points.

The key is to be both confident in your abilities and clear with your reasoning. The more research you have done, the more you can be sure that you are simply asking for the compensation you deserve. If you have grown into a role, it is only natural that your salary reflects your experience. Ultimately, your manager understands that you are working to earn money, and they should never disrespect you for asking for a fair rate.

It's essential to frame the conversation around both your past and your future at the company. You want to focus on times when you not only excelled in your responsibilities but went above and beyond them. In addition, it is helpful to prove that you have already adopted additional responsibilities and are being rewarded for this extra work.

It's also important to discuss the wage increase as a sign of your continued commitment to the future of the business. Discuss how you see your career developing and how the wage increase compliments those goals. Questions around what kinds of responsibilities will come with your raise are excellent ways of proving your continued commitment. They force your manager to think about the wage increase as a part of a new role and not simply paying you more for the same work.

If you want to take the fullest advantage of your strategic timing after the meeting, try to be specific about the following update. A simple follow-up email ensures that your manager will immediately consider your request and, if necessary, provide you with some helpful feedback.

How to Negotiate your Salary

The key here is to have done thorough research. It is about fair compensation for your work, after all. While it's natural to ask high and settle for less, try to set reasonable expectations not to sour the negotiation. It's also possible that your manager cannot provide the pay increase you seek at the current time. So you may want to consider negotiating instead for a longer timeline wherein the manager can slowly work to hit your target pay. During the negotiation, you should work with your manager to understand their perspective and how you can move forward together.

If you receive a clear no, first try to understand their reasons for the denial. Now is the time for plenty of follow-up questions to determine what the manager expects before they can grant you a wage increase. You may want to define clear goals for future work and even request a performance review to appraise these goals.

If a wage increase isn't possible soon, you may want to consider alternative benefits. For instance, you could ask for more vacation time or even seek additional professional development opportunities. Of course, a tight budget isn't an end-all excuse, so try to look for a creative solution that you can feel satisfied with.

One more thing

Asking for a wage increase has tremendous benefits beyond the monetary. It is known to boost self-esteem and increase employee satisfaction, but it also forces you to consider your role in the future. What kind of new opportunities is waiting for you in this position? And what kind of responsibilities are you willing to take on? However, it isn't always an easy process.

That being said, if you understand your worth and have a wealth of successful projects to speak for you, you'll find the process much easier. When it comes to getting the raise, keeping things short, simple and framed around your commitment to their business will help prove your professionalism. Schedule a Job Boost to train with our team for a salary negotiation tryout.

Even if the answer is no, be sure to have follow-up questions prepared so that you can define clear goals for how to achieve your request eventually. It will usually involve working closely with your manager to set a reasonable timeline or getting creative with compensation beyond salary.

We love to hear from you! Tell us about your experiences asking for a raise below.

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How to Ask for a Wage Increase?

Intentional dreamer, culture speaker, mentor & designer, Julien Mainguy arrived in Canada in 2014 and he got involved with people and communities to make a difference. He thrives on building better societies, by using awareness on cultural management and by understanding yourself better.