How to ask for a raise and get it

If you’re reading this, you already know you’re worth more than your current salary. Good.

Asking your boss for a raise can be stressful, so it’s important to go in believing you deserve one, because you do. Wages in Canada have been stagnant for the last 10 years, so you’re not alone in wanting more. In fact, 52 per cent of Canadians plan to ask for a raise in 2018.

Here are some best practices to improve your chances of securing a bigger paycheque this year.

Timing is everything

One of the best moments to ask for a raise is during your annual review, but it’s not the only time you can broach the subject. Consider another event that could warrant the conversation. Did you just deliver on a huge project or secure a big client? Ask for a raise when your success is top of mind at work, just remember to pay attention to the mood around the office. If several people were just laid off, it’s probably not the best time to ask for more money.  

Do your homework

Check out sites like or to gauge what other people are being paid at jobs like yours. Next, compare your salary with colleagues in similar roles. Use this information to inform your ask. If you’ve done the research about what’s standard in your industry, you can be confident that the raise you’re asking for aligns with your work experience and skills.

Practice your ask

Run through the conversation with a friend or trusted mentor. Your request will be stronger if you can also remind your boss why you deserve a wage increase, so rehearse that part, too. Practicing what you want to say ahead of time will help you handle the pressure and stick to the plan on the day.

Read your boss

Everyone’s relationship with their manager is different. If you and your boss talk often, it may be easy to ask for a raise without scheduling a meeting. If you have a more serious relationship, it may be best to send them a Google calendar invite before you start the conversation.

Prepare to negotiate

No matter how much you prepare, you may still be turned down. If your boss says no, ask why. You may learn there is something you can do differently to increase your chances of a raise down the road, or you may be able to negotiate an alternative, like a performance-related bonus. Sometimes, it comes down to budget. Hopefully, your request will inform how your boss plans for the coming quarter or year. If your employer simply can’t offer more money, try bargaining for more paid vacation.

Map out a path

You don’t always get what you want, but that doesn’t mean you should just walk away. Ask your boss what you can do to get to your goal. What new skills should you acquire? Maybe your employer can even subsidize a class to learn these skills? Discuss the milestones they expect you to achieve before you start earning the salary you’re requesting. If you involve your boss in your career strategy, they’ll become more invested in your success.

Move forward

Sometimes your current job simply can’t offer you what you want. That doesn’t mean you’ve miscalculated what you should be earning.  If you’re ready to move on, ask for a higher salary from a potential new employer. Moving into a higher paying position elsewhere is just another way of securing a raise. But before you make a move, remember that every job comes with advantages and disadvantages. Be sure that you weigh all the pros and cons when comparing new opportunities with your current position, and remember that a higher salary is only one way to measure the value of a job.

Ultimately, you deserve to be paid what you’re worth. It can be easy to get comfortable at a job, but you shouldn’t settle. Your work becomes more valuable the longer you’ve been in a position. Your paycheque should reflect that.

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