3 Must-Dos Before Demanding a Raise

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KEY POINTS

  • Many people are pursuing better pay in today's labor market.
  • While you should go after a more substantial wage, there are also steps you should take before having that discussion.


Want a higher paycheck? Here's your game plan.

These days, the U.S. labor market is loaded with jobs -- 11.3 million as of January, to be precise. That's a positive turn of events considering that just two years ago, we were grappling with an unprecedented unemployment crisis.

But either way, right now, active members of the workforce have a prime opportunity to go after better pay. Many companies are desperate to hire, and those with adequate staff may be more motivated than ever to retain their current employees.

If you're not happy with your pay and want to see your earnings increase, you shouldn't shy away from having that conversation. A raise could make it possible to meet different financial goals, like boosting your savings or paying off your credit cards. Plus, with living costs being up across the board due to inflation, it wouldn't hurt to see your paycheck increase.

But if you're going to demand a raise, you'll want to do so strategically. That means tackling these three key items first.

1. Research salary data

Maybe you earn $48,000 a year right now as a junior marketing associate. And maybe that's a reasonable wage for your job title and location -- or not. You won't really know until you spend some time doing research. But it's important to dig up that data, because it could help shape that conversation and sway your employer to meet your demand.

So, say you do some digging and find that the average junior marketing associate in your city makes $55,000 a year. That data point alone makes a strong argument for a bump in pay. You can use sites like Salary.com and Glassdoor to dig up salary data so you have solid information to put in front of your boss.

2. Decide on a specific number

You may do some research and learn that you're underpaid given your job title and location. But even if you determine you're paid adequately, you can still ask for more money. The key, though, is to land on a specific number rather than just waltz into your manager's office and say "I want a raise." Presenting a specific number gives your boss something concrete to work with -- and may yield better results.

3. Give your boss a reason to boost your pay

Many companies these days are focused on employee retention. But that doesn't guarantee you'll get a raise just because you ask for one. Instead, you may need to fight for that pay boost, so before having that discussion, come up with a list of reasons why you deserve a bump.

Maybe you've taken on more responsibilities over the past year. Or maybe you're currently picking up some of the workload for a colleague who's out on long-term leave. You can also point to personal achievements as a reason for getting a salary boost -- as long as you can back those claims up.

A raise in pay could work wonders for your financial picture. Make sure to check these important items off your list before asking for one.

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