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Five Ways to Ask for a Raise

Robert Half International

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Lately, the office hallways have been unusually quiet, and you've noticed a few more empty desks in your department. You and your colleagues have taken on new projects within the past year, but the workload has been manageable and the assignments engaging -- definitely nothing worth making a fuss about. Team dynamics are great, and your supervisors are supportive. So, why are your co-workers jumping ship?

Research shows they could be moving on to greener pastures. According to the 2008 Salary Guides from Robert Half International, average starting salaries are increasing for many positions in the finance and accounting, administrative, technology, legal, and creative and marketing fields. Some job candidates with in-demand skill sets are even receiving multiple offers as companies compete to secure the best talent.

With this in mind, there's a good chance you could be due for a raise. While you don't have to quit your current position to fatten your paycheck -- especially if it's one you enjoy -- you do have to speak up.

Here are some steps you can take to obtain the raise you deserve:

Build your case.

Your desire to move into a new condo or goal of paying off student loans are not valid reasons for a higher salary. Instead, you must demonstrate a compelling business reason for being paid more. Document all your responsibilities to date, focusing specifically on how your efforts have helped the company achieve its objectives. For example, perhaps you helped redesign a website that increased traffic and sales by 15 percent or took on additional responsibilities to save others time. Gathering concrete data, and being able to present this information in an organized manner, is critical to positioning yourself as a valuable asset to your employer.

Research the going rate.

It's always a good idea to investigate what others in your area and with your qualifications are being paid before approaching your boss for a raise. Online services, such as and the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook are excellent sources. Complimentary publications, like the Robert Half Salary Guides, also provide compensation figures for a variety of jobs in various industries. Estimating your worth on the open market will ensure you don't under- or oversell your services.

Build your case over time.

Despite his or her best intentions, your boss may not be aware of the many projects you're involved with. To prevent your achievements from being overlooked, consider providing your manager with a weekly status report that summarizes the assignments you're working on and have recently completed. A record of consistent performance can bolster your case for a raise.

Time it right.

While the most logical time to discuss a raise is during your performance review, it could be advantageous to speak with your supervisor about the issue before your next evaluation rolls around. For example, you might broach the subject with your boss after you've successfully completed a major project. Just be sure to schedule the meeting at a time when you know he or she won't be overwhelmed with deadlines.

Prepare a 'Plan B.'

If a pay raise is not in your employer's budget, consider negotiating other benefits, such as more vacation time, a flexible schedule or a larger performance-based bonus. If these requests are denied, ask your boss how to best position yourself for a future raise and arrange a date for a follow-up meeting to discuss your progress toward this goal.

Like any negotiation, securing a raise requires preparation and finesse. Taking the time and effort to craft a compelling case and make your value to the company clear will help you increase your chances of getting paid what you're worth.

Robert Half International Inc. is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 360 offices throughout North America, South America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. For more information about our professional services, please visit

Last Updated: 18/07/2008 - 11:38 AM

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