Are you hoping for a raise this year? You’re not alone. Many employers are raising wages in 2022, particularly in response to career changes following a pandemic – and many employees are keen to use their extra income to cover the costs of inflation or save for long-term financial goals.
But not everyone who asks for a raise will get one — especially if they don’t know how to ask. With a potential recession around the corner, an employee who isn’t prepared to prove their worth to their employer before the end of the year may miss out on an opportunity to get a raise.
“Asking for a raise can feel uncomfortable,” explains Matt Logan, a Certified Financial Planner™ professional based in Greensboro, North Carolina, “but it̵7;s an important step in your career journey.” It’s also necessary, especially if you want to set aside enough money to build an emergency fund, save for your children’s education, or plan for retirement.
That’s why we asked Logan for his best advice to help you get your raise this year. The process of asking for a raise can make many employees feel awkward, especially if they don’t know what to do. Here’s everything you need to know about setting up the meeting, preparing for the interview, and asking for the raise you deserve.
Do your research
What is the first step in asking for a raise? Knowing how much to ask for. “Have specific information about pay scales for your industry, role and position,” advises Logan. “Make sure this information is realistic and fair.”
Whether you use salary data resources like Glassdoor to compare salary ranges or find tactful ways to ask your employees how much they make, you need to be prepared to ask for a realistic raise—both in terms of what your employer can afford and what you has to offer.
“An executive assistant in Southern California will command a higher salary than the same role in rural North Carolina,” Logan explains—and an executive assistant who spent the last two years successfully transitioning the C-suite to a functional remote workspace could command a higher salary increase than an assistant who simply worked from home.
Show your value
Once you know how much you want to ask for, you need to be ready to prove that you deserve a raise. Getting a raise in 2022 is all about showing value – which often means writing down everything you’ve done to help the company succeed.
“Emphasize in specific terms the value you bring and the accomplishments you’ve been a part of,” says Logan. “Brag a little.”
Why is it a good idea to create a written document that demonstrates your accomplishments? Your supervisor may be aware of your contributions, but they may have forgotten some of the specific work you did to exceed expectations—and they may need to be reminded of the results of your hard work, especially if those results can be expressed in dollar figures.
“Have you recently led a large project that was profitable for the organization?” Logan asks. “Describe the added value.”
Think of this document as a CV – and prepare it just as carefully.
Prepare your supervisor for the conversation
What is the best way to tell your supervisor that you want to ask for a raise? Logan suggests bringing up the topic before you set up the meeting—and giving your supervisor all the documents they might need to help them make their decision.
“None of us likes to be surprised or taken aback,” says Logan. “I recommend that you mention to your employer that you want to discuss your salary before the meeting. This tactic allows your supervisor to prepare for your talk.”
Giving your supervisor time to prepare also shows that you respect their work – including the time it may take to evaluate your performance and consider your request. “It’s reasonable to assume that your supervisor is overwhelmed and overworked,” explains Logan. Finding a good time for a performance review can only help.
Providing your supervisor with all relevant information prior to the meeting, including your recent achievements and your desired salary increase, can help the conversation go more smoothly. And, as Logan notes, prepping a supervisor by saying, “I’d like to discuss my salary,” means the supervisor can offer the desired raise more quickly.
Be flexible about the outcome
At best, your research and preparation around salary negotiations will lead you toward the raise you deserve. In other scenarios, you may find that your request is denied – or, in some cases, deferred.
“If the result isn’t what you wanted,” says Logan, “remember that it’s not getting what you wanted right now.”
Your employer may not have any more money for raises in 2022, for example — but may have opportunities for raises in 2023. If so, your supervisor may suggest reviewing your request at the beginning of the year, giving you the opportunity to spend the rest of 2022 on proving your worth through outstanding work.
If you don’t get the raise you asked for either in 2022 or early 2023, you may want to start the new year by looking for a new employer. If you prefer to stay with your current employer, start looking for opportunities to build your career within your company. Getting a new credential can make you more valuable to your employer, for example—as well as taking on additional responsibilities that make you more valuable to your team.
You may also want to ask your supervisor if there are any opportunities for promotion. “Ask to be considered for higher paying roles,” suggests Logan. If there’s no budget for a raise, you can always increase your salary by taking on a new position—and a new career-building challenge.
Whatever you do, make sure you do it graciously. “Don’t sign, burn bridges, or create social media posts that blast your employer,” says Logan. Instead, use this process as an opportunity to prove your worth to both yourself and your supervisor. This kind of work is likely to help your career, no matter what happens next.
“Even if the answer you get isn’t the result you wanted, you’ve gotten better at communicating effectively,” says Logan. “Do not give up.”