Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

How Soon Can You Ask for a Raise at Work?

By Maurie Backman - Sep 28, 2018 at 6:00AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The quick answer: It depends.

We all want to make more money at our jobs, and sometimes, coming out and asking for a salary bump is the only way to get there. Incidentally, 56% of employees have never asked for a raise, according to data from CareerBuilder, but the danger of staying quiet is losing out on the chance to not only earn more at present, but possibly in the future as well.

Still, there's a right time and a wrong time to ask for a raise, and jumping the gun could cause that conversation to go very, very poorly. The question is: How soon is too soon to request a salary boost?

Professionally dressed female sitting across from man in suit


The one-year rule doesn't always apply

You may have heard that you're generally supposed to hold off on asking for more money until you've been at your job for a year. The upside of waiting until that point is that by then, you'll have established yourself as a valued employee who's earned the right to make that request. The downside, however, is losing out on money you could use immediately.

In fact, there are plenty of scenarios where it certainly pays to ask for a raise well before the one-year mark. If, for example, you're promoted without a change in salary, you have every right to sit down with your manager and ask to be compensated accordingly. Even if your title doesn't change, if your responsibilities increase drastically over a certain period of time that's less than one year, there's nothing wrong with scheduling a conversation with your boss and asking that your salary reflect the level of effort you're putting in.

Finally, it's often the case that workers are hired to do one thing but wind up doing far more from the get-go. If that's the case, then you're more than justified in having that raise conversation several months in, or whenever it is you come to realize that the job you're doing is much more complicated and time-consuming than its original description indicated it would be.

Of course, if you're been at the same job for, say, seven months, and you're doing the same things at present that you were when you first started, then you might have a harder time successfully negotiating a raise. Still, that doesn't mean you can't try, especially if you do your research and find that you're earning much less than the average worker with your job title.

The right way to ask for a raise

If you are going to ask for a raise before you've been on the job for a full year, go in with a solid argument in its favor, and aim to back up that argument with actual data. For example, if you've been at your company for 30 weeks and have worked late almost every night for 27 of them, that's a valid reason to ask for more money -- but bring along a log showing what sort of hours you've clocked in so your boss can see for himself. Similarly, if you're going to request a raise on the basis of your actual job being much different than its initial description, dig up that old listing and get it in front of your manager.

Finally, there's no need to go out of your way to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Rather than start off that conversation with, "I know I haven't been here a year yet, but...," get right to the point. This way, your boss is less likely to fixate on the fact that you're asking for more money after a relatively short period of time.

That said, be prepared for the possibility that your manager won't be willing to talk salary boosts until the one-year-mark is reached. If that's the case, you'll need to sit back and be patient. But it still never hurts to try.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/11/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.