OK to Ask for a Raise?

A reader writes…

Dear, Anita,

Now that we’re supposedly out of the recession, do you think it’s appropriate to ask for a raise?


Dear, “Raise Requestor,”

True, economists are saying we have likely dodged a recession… but only by the skin of our chin. By no means are we (as a country) in the clear just yet. Many businesses continue to have hiring freezes, and others are not in a position to offer raises and/or promotions at this time.

Now, I already know what many of my readers are probably thinking. They’re mortified by your question since a “raise” is the last thing on their wish list. A simple income would be nice, right guys?

But let’s get back to the question at hand…

I suppose it all depends on the circumstances. If your company is currently struggling, or things are looking rocky in your industry overall – then now may not be the best time to ask. Likewise, if you’ve only been employed for a few months or you’re a poor performer with your hand out – then my answer remains the same, “No. Not a good time to ask.”

On the flip side, if you’ve done your research, you know your organization is somewhat financially stable… and you are a top performer deserving a pay increase, then I say, go for it!

  1. Make sure you know your market value and your company’s position before popping the question.
  2. Next, prepare to sell yourself. Write down your accomplishments, additional responsibilities, basically anything and everything that would warrant a pay increase. You need to be prepared to back up your request and show proof of why you are deserving.
  3. Finally, be prepared for disappointment. Despite your research, planning, and hard work, the answer may still be “no.” If that’s the case, work out a plan with your supervisor where you may revisit the subject 6 months down the line. Continue to track your progress and productivity and hold tight. If anything, you’ve planted the seed and things may change for the better – sooner than later!

Readers, how many of you recently asked for a raise? Did you get it? If so, what was YOUR approach?


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Drewdove
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 15:41:21

    Before I’d ask for a raise I’d wait till supposedly turns to definitely.



  2. jeanette
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 23:05:24

    to the reader who ask about getting a raise. yes i think you should ask for a raise. all they can do is say yes or no .my mother all ways told me when i was growing-up if you have a question about something just -ask. none of us no if we will be alive the next day.go for it.jeanette. 2-8-2012.



  3. Eunice ann
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 18:14:33

    Yes, asking to the right person, and ask your self that why you deserve this contribution that made in the organization.



  4. Cedrick Tolbert
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 12:43:07

    Office Clerical / Sales Reprecentative, experience in performing office support duties which involve providing information to the public, addressing customer complaints, preparing and performing other duties as required.

    General Office Support
    Office, Excel & Internet Savvy
    Customer Service experience
    Positive, Energetic & Friendly attitude
    Multitasks duties for effectiveness
    Excellent communication and listening skills
    Bilingual in English/Spanish
    Time management
    Improve and developing performance
    Security and Confidentiality
    Improving customer retention levels
    Within highly competitive market

    Data Entry
    Ability to multi-task

    High School Diploma

    Huntington Park High School, Huntington Park, CA June 2008

    Sales Representative/ Office Clerical

    Pacas & Paletas USA Inc., Los Angeles, CA June 2010 to October 2011

    Handle incoming calls and promptly forwards calls to proper person.
    Found out the needs of clients and meet the needs
    Arranged sales contracts and reports, as well as processed orders and made delivery.
    Exceptional ability to work in a highly competitive sales environment.
    Find and contact new potential customers continually by making use of resources such as directories

    Available upon request



    Feb 07, 2012 @ 09:11:31




  6. designdakotastyle
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 08:47:45

    Asking for a raise is like asking for a date – it is uncomfortable and the end result may not be what you want – but the reward COULD be great.

    I encourage my employees to ask for an annual raise – even if it is just a standard cost of living expense. But they MUST DO THE RESEARCH (ie how many customers did you have last year, how many thank you notes did you get, how many staff members do you supervise, how many events did you run solo, etc). I value any employee that can put a quantifiable value upon themselves and I charge my clients accordingly for their service and expertise. As they become better, so does the company.

    In my experience – the ones that ask (and back up requests) for raises usually deserve them because they know their value and their initiative shows in many other aspects of the company – like bringing in their own clients/ideas etc.

    That being said, I have had to lower raise expectations at the time of request due to company financials. Our company communicates constantly with the staff to let them know what is going on money wise so they do not think I fly a jet pack home to my mansion on the weekends while they eat Ramen noodles and watch basic cable. And I am specifically thinking small business – any small business that I know succeeds or fails together. So if you think you are worth it to the company – go for it – the worst they can do is say no.



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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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