How to ask your Manager for a Higher Salary

Asking for money, for most people, is an awkward and somewhat stressful situation.  Whether you are a teen-ager asking for money to buy concert tickets, a family man asking a loan officer to purchase a house or an employee who feels he is deserving of more salary, the approach is crucial to the situation. If the request is denied or turned down, the teen-ager may cause a disruptive scene in the house, the family man may become depressed and the employee could lose his sense of importance. The way the person being given the request handles the denial is extremely important too.

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Especially in the work environment, the amount of money one earns is directly related to self-esteem and individual worth.  When an employee feels he is not earning what he is worth, rectifying the situation is tricky.  Does he demand it?  Does he look elsewhere?  Does he live with it and hope for an increase soon?  No one likes to be denied a request for money, and in terms of ones' employment it could be a life-changing event.

There are various ways to ask for a higher salary, some much better than others:

  • Write the request in a letter or email
  • Through discussion
  • Throw hints around and hope the boss hears
  • Ask your boss outright
  • Demand an increase or you quit
  • Go over your boss' head to someone else
  • Look for a new job and have another offer to use as leverage
  • Quit and give two weeks notice

Asking for a time to meet and discuss things is a clever and productive way to approach it.  This gives both your boss and you time to prepare and leave the emotional spur of the moment reactions out of it.  The best approach to asking your immediate superior, boss or manager for an increase in salary, is to do research and be armed with facts.  Know what the going rate is for work of your type; know what your accomplishments are and what you bring to the strength of the department or company.  

Chances are your boss or manager will suspect what you want to discuss.  He will then probably ask himself some important questions:

  • How valuable is this employee?
  • Does he deserve a promotion or rise?
  • Do I have the funds in the budget to give him more money?
  • How will an increase in pay for him affect the department?
  • What will he do if I refuse?

Armed with your best case for a salary increase, with accurate facts and figures, you still have to act maturely and professional.  There is no proper standard to asking for more money in the business place, but frustration, ill feelings and poor planning will hurt your chances.  Do not let pressures, stress and negative feelings into the discussion.  Maintain control, present an intelligent front and show your superior the value of your role in the company.

After the discussion, your boss may agree that you are worth more money, but his hands are tied at the moment to give it to you.  Asking him 'what do you recommend?' and 'what are my chances in the future? would be the mature way to handle it.  Depending on his answers, you can then make sensible choices.

Sometimes bringing out your concerns is all that is necessary to obtain the level of salary you rightfully deserve. Other times it may signal the time to move on and seek employment elsewhere.  The main thing is to look before you leap, weigh your options and revisit your goals.

If an employee decides to look for new employment, obtaining a higher salary is often accomplished by indicating that he would like to take the position, but more money would be his only justification in making the move. There are many fields of employment that warrant a change in job every few years or so to work their way up the salary ladder; it isn't as important in today's world to stay in one company for 40 years to earn a pension. However, only the employee involved can decide whether longevity, faithfulness and pride in a company outweigh the monetary awards.


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