How Do You Ask And Prepare For A Pay Raise?


Negotiating a pay raise is, without a doubt, one of the scariest things about working. The process can seem like it’s filled with a large number of unknowns and questions that you can’t answer, making it a stressful situation for everyone.

Regardless of whether it’s a part-time job in retail or an entry-level job in admin, though, everyone needs a pay raise, or even a promotion, once they start taking on new responsibilities and duties. You might be so busy with the new day-to-day work that you don’t realize you’re doing a manager’s role on an assistant’s salary. When that happens, it’s time to ask for a pay raise. Before that happens, though, you need to ensure that you eliminate as many unknowns as possible, by preparing for the entire process.

How Do You Prepare For The Pay Raise Conversation?

Can you name, right now, what you’ve accomplished in the past year? Any new projects, new team members, or even just extra work that you’ve done? If you can’t, how do you expect your boss to know them?

  1. The first step of any pay raise conversation takes place when you’re alone: you need to sit down, and write down everything you’ve done and achieved in the past year. It might take some sifting through emails or timesheets, but you need a list of everything you’ve done beyond your original job scope.
  1. Document what impact that has had on the company. For example, for retail, have you taken on opening and closing the shop every day? How has that affected business, both in revenue and in other forms?

Before you can convince your boss, YOU need to be convinced that you’ve contributed enough to the company to justify a pay raise.

  1. It’s time to do some research: How is your company/industry doing? We’ve mentioned before that retail internships, for example, are getting fast-tracked in Singapore, and that administrative services employment growth in Q12019 held strong. These examples show that the interest in these industries are only growing, which shows huge opportunity for career growth too.
  1. Lastly, look at what the market rate for your new duty and role is supposed to be: check sites such as Glassdoor and Pay Scale, and keep those numbers in mind.

How Do You Ask For The Pay Raise?

  1. Choose the correct time: right after a positive performance appraisal is best. It’s crucial that you don’t ambush your boss with this conversation; you need to set up a meeting, specifically to discuss your ‘career growth at the company’. This gives your boss enough time to prepare for the conversation as well; if you just threw it in at the end of another conversation, the automatic answer from bosses will always be ‘No.’
  2. During the meeting, you need to be calm and professional; this means no begging due to personal issues, definitely no aggressive yelling, and no threatening to quit.

Just lay out the facts you’ve gathered, and justify why YOU deserve a pay raise

An example script, that you can adapt: “I’ve loved working here, and I want to continue growing my career here. I’ve been looking at my original job description, and realised that I’ve taken on extra roles and projects. These projects include (add examples here), and they’ve helped the company to (add examples here). With this said, I would like to renegotiate my salary package.”

At this point, your boss will probably have some questions, and that’s when you can bring out all your research, and justify why THEY should give you the pay raise. Show loyalty and future-planning skills here: Whatever the industry/company is planning, it will affect your role, and you can do more for the company, such as (add examples here).

In the end, your boss will ask for your expected salary. Give an exact number that matches market rate; it’ll show that you’ve done your research, as compared to giving a percentage.

Sometimes, your boss might still say no. That’s unfortunate, but that doesn’t mean you should just quit or give up. Continue this conversation, by asking for the concrete goals you need to reach to get that pay raise. Also, ask when you can revisit this topic again. If they say 6 months, then keep that in mind, and make sure you set another meeting for then.

An alternative, if the pay raise ask fails: you could ask for extra perks. Ask for more off-days, or insurance coverage, etc. The aim is to keep growing in this role, until you can get your desired pay.

If you’re looking for a new role, why not check out our own GrabJobs platform?

Brian Tessier

Director of Business Development and Marketing at GrabJobs. Brian can usually be found reading a book, and that book will more likely be about startups and personal development. When not absorbed in the latest best-selling page-turner, Brian loves writing and biking. Read more: