This article is part of The Ascender, the Highrise platform for articles and resources.

What Not to Say When Asking for a Raise

Andrew Langat
June 7, 2023
Read our case studies document and learn how Highrise helped other individuals to improve their professionnal skills and careers.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

"The right word at the right time can change a life." - Maya Angelou

A conversation about a salary increase with your employer can be uncomfortable as money topics are always sensitive. Moreover, this is often a power imbalance conversation. However, you might see the need to have this conversation in your career path.

You might fear rejection and disappointment, but the probability is in your favor. According to research by Payscale, about 70% of pay raise requests are given, and about 40% get the salary increase they want.

The goal is to avoid saying the wrong things and say the right things.

Successful salary negotiation entails following the proper process and using persuasive language. It also requires emotional intelligence to navigate the process and accept the negative or positive outcome

<div id="one">

What Not to Say When Asking for a Raise

1. "I will Quit this job if I don't get a raise!"

Some people believe that threatening to quit after their raise request is denied will give them an advantage. This is not recommended, as it shatters your relationship with your employer and shows a lack of self-awareness and petulance.

A positive relationship with your boss can play in your favor when asking for a raise. So refrain from threats, as this may fuel them to not agree with your proposal or, worse, replace you.

Your best bet is to take a calm and collected approach by explaining your accomplishments and the value you've added to the company. This can help your case when you ask your boss for a raise.

2. "I know my Co-worker makes X amount"

Mentioning what your co-worker makes as a bargaining chip is not a good strategy. Avoid statements such as:

"I am curious why Employee X is earning a higher salary than me despite being in the same department. Can you provide some insight?"

Comparing things is typical of human nature, but avoid carrying it to salary negotiations. There may be reasons why your co-worker's salary is higher than yours. They may have an advanced degree of education or experience than you, so avoid comparisons when asking for a raise.

Take a professional approach and use proper ways to determine the going rate for a person occupying your position. Follow expert tips to determine your worth and make a compelling business argument on why you deserve a raise.

3. "I want more money!"

There are better ways to ask for a pay increase than saying, "I want more money." This aggressive statement puts your boss on the defensive and limits the chances of effective communication.

Other examples of aggressive statements when asking for a raise can include:

  • "You're aware that you are not paying me enough."
  • "I'm going to start looking for a new Job if I don't get a raise."

Aggressive statements as such might not give you what you want. As an employee, you must take a calm approach when you want a raise. Remembering that you'll still be an employee even after negotiating.

Moreover, aggressively demanding can taint your reputation, and your co-workers and manager will doubt your interest in the company.

4. "I need a pay raise because (insert personal problems)

These are statements that center on personal problems. For example:

"I need a pay rise because I am in debt," or "I need a pay rise because my wife is not working."

Personal reasons should not be a premise when negotiating for a pay raise. You may have problems like debts, a loved one in the hospital, or your spouse getting laid off. All these excuses should not be used when negotiating.

Improving job satisfaction is often linked to being paid your worth. If you constantly take on tasks outside your job description, it may be worth approaching your boss and asking for a raise. However, avoid making requests based on your reasons to increase your chances of success.

5. "I want my salary to be increased by(x)."

"I want a 15% increase in my salary."

Even though you are an asset to your company and performing well, you should never mention specific amounts.

why is this the case?

Pay raises are based on merit; employees allocated budget, and the company's financial performance review. So before making demands, research the average salary for an individual making your position; then, you can move forward with the negotiation.

6. "I have received other offers from company X."

Stating that the competition has approached you.

This still sounds like a threat because it feels like you're giving them an ultimatum, and in most cases will backfire.

If you have received an offer from another company, you can use it as leverage in negotiating for a pay rise but ensure you've managed it well. An example, "I've been receiving calls from competitors, but my focus is on making my career and current position successful."

You can achieve better results by maintaining a positive tone and implying they'll need to be competitive to retain you. This will also show the managers that you are interested in the department's success and deserve a raise.

7. "You are underpaying me."

Complaining about your current pay.

Throughout your stay at a company, you may realize that you're getting unfair compensation and decide to speak about it. This will raise questions because you had a job interview in the hiring process, and you could have negotiated for better remuneration.

I suggest more education to determine whether you are fairly paid for your worth. This can be through industrial pay research, asking peers, or seeing how much you bring.

For example, if you consistently bring in customers as a salesperson, it may be time to strategize how to make your employer see your value.

Simply basing it on personal opinion without tangible evidence is not enough.

<div id="two">

Tips for Asking for a Raise

Having reviewed what not to say, here are some tips worth considering:

1. Have Confidence.

It is a cliche, but it is ever fresh.

You learn to be confident when asking for a raise because it can be intimidating.

It would be best if you were well-prepared. A coach can assist with this. This way, you can better Present yourself and be ready to take up new projects or responsibilities that may come with the pay raise.

2. Know the average salary of your position.

To guarantee success in a salary negotiation with your boss, conducting thorough research on what is deemed fair compensation for your position is pivotal. Look through job postings and industry standards to determine the average salary for your role. With this information, you will exude Confidence when asking for a raise during your meeting with your boss.

3. List your accomplishments.

A clear list of accomplishments is essential to demonstrate how you've positively impacted the company. Be sure to include specific statistics and numbers in the list.

An example, "As the sales manager, I am proud to report a 10% increase in the sales ratio since taking over. Our team has successfully sold approximately 5000 units."

It's often challenging to turn down a request that's supported by impressive statistics. The more comprehensive and persuasive the figures you provide, the more compelling your case becomes for obtaining the salary increase you're entitled to.

4. Ensure that your request is made in writing.

To increase your pay or salary, provide your supervisor with a summary of your request. Include salary ranges for similar positions and how your work benefits the company. Your supervisor may need to consult with higher-ups.

Want to read more from us? Subscribe to our newsletter to read our latest resources

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

<div id="three">

How Much Raise should you Request?

In 2023, the average pay raise is between 4-5%, and depending on your reasons and the period since your last raise, you can request more than 10%. When asking for a salary increase, be reasonable and consider the value of your contributions.

Provide valid reasons when requesting a higher percentage. For instance, if you travel more than half of your work time, asking for a 20% increase would be reasonable.

<div id="four">

What is the Wrong Time To Ask for a Raise?

The wrong time to ask for a raise is when the company is not undergoing rough patches. Avoid sensitive periods like layoffs, loss of significant customers, or your boss undergoing a difficult period.

Moreover, checking your company's policies before asking for a pay increase is wise. If they are willing to review a raise six months after onboarding, bring it up at the end of this period.

This gives them time to evaluate and avoid reversing a decision.

Request a raise when the timing is right, such as when your boss is impressed with your work or during a successful year.

<div id="five">

What Should you do After Requesting a Raise?

When asking for a pay raise, be prepared for a possible negative response and ask for feedback on how to improve. If the answer is positive, maintain professionalism and gratitude. If a certain amount improves your raise, avoid bragging to co-workers to sustain a positive workplace.

Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.

Let Highrise Make You a Better Negotiator

In the course of your career, you might need to negotiate for a raise. To get the best outcome possible, coaching on how to do this can significantly make you prepared to face your boss or company managers.

At Highrise, we shall teach you how to negotiate better and use the right words. Signup today and get to experience 1:1 coaching from your experienced coaching team.

Thank you! Your Downloads is here:
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Andrew Langat
Facebook logoTwitter logo
Andrew Langat is an experienced content specialist in Leadership, Productivity, Education, Fintech, and Research. He is an avid reader and loves swimming as a hobby. He believes that quality content should be actionable and helpful.