These Circumstances Suggest That Your Income Could Go Higher
Asking for a raise can be stressful, and one important consideration to make is deciding when to request this increase. Ideally, you want to choose a time in which a ‘yes’ might be more likely than a ‘no.’ But when is this? Here are seven situations or signs that suggest it might be a good time to make your case for a higher hourly rate or salary.
Your Employer’s Revenues Are Increasing
If your employer is struggling to stay afloat financially, your request for a raise may be hard to grant — no matter how much it values your contributions to the workplace. Conversely, if the company is doing well, giving you an increase in pay might be easier to achieve.
Some companies post their quarterly earnings publicly, giving you the opportunity to see whether its revenues are increasing, decreasing, or staying the same. If you get an employee newsletter, it may contain this information as well.
If this type of information isn’t readily available, the actions the company is taking may give indicators of its financial health. If it is making plans to expand, for instance, this could signal that it is experiencing growth. But if you’ve been receiving memos to conserve resources and reduce expenses, this would likely suggest that its revenues could be going down instead of up.
Your Pay Is Under the Current Standard
Do others in your same role tend to earn more than you, even if they have the same level of education and experience? If the answer is yes, you may have a bit of leverage when asking for a raise because, if your request isn’t granted, you could potentially go elsewhere, do the same work, and hope for a higher rate.
One way to determine how your pay stacks up to what others are earning in your job role is to look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website. For instance, the BLS reports that the median pay for a medical assistant is $35,850 per year or $17.23 per hour.1 How does your pay compare? Is it close or do you make substantially less?
Keep in mind that if you’re new to this role, you may earn less than this median. The standard pay for your role may also vary based on your level of education, whether you have any certifications, and your geographical area.
Several online sites offer the ability to learn the average pay for your role based on these additional factors. Do a search for your job title and ‘average pay’ to see what you learn (example: ‘medical assistant average pay’). Use this data to help support your request for a higher rate.
More Duties Have Been Added to Your Job Role
If your list of job duties has grown since you first entered the role, you could use this to help make your case that your pay should increase as well. While some companies may do this automatically, others might not. This puts you in a position where you can ask for more money based on the increased responsibility.
In situations such as this, make a list of all the new job duties that have been added to your role since you first started. Being specific provides more proof of your expanded job duties versus simply saying that you’re doing more.
Again, it may be helpful to do a bit of research and find out what others with similar job duties are being paid. This shows your employer that you’re not just pulling a number out of the air but that the amount you’re requesting is in line with others who have a lot of the same responsibilities.
You’re Recognized Regularly for Your Performance
Are you constantly being told what a great job you’re doing? Do you regularly get positive feedback from management, thanking you for your hard work or congratulating you on your impressive outcomes? These are all signs that it might be a good time to ask for a boost in pay.
Employees who are engaged in their work call in sick less often, have fewer accidents, are more productive – and increase company profits by 23%.2 So, giving you a raise could motivate you to continue to work hard, saving your employer a lot of money that can help go toward your raise.
Whenever you receive praise at work, make a note of it. Take this list of accolades to your employer when requesting a raise to help show the repeated value that you bring to the workplace.
Your Annual Review Was Overwhelmingly Positive
Some employers only give raises on an annual basis. If this is how your organization operates, a glowing annual review might be a good time to suggest that your pay should increase for the upcoming year.
You may find it easier to convince the company that a raise is in order after your manager just got done telling you how wonderful you are and how much they appreciate all that you do. It suggests that they “put their money where their mouth is” and show their appreciation via a raise in pay.
If your employer does semi-annual reviews, this may even be an option then. If you’re met with any resistance, ask when an appropriate time to ask for a raise would be. You may learn that pay increases are only given at specific intervals, providing more insight into when this question should be on your radar again.
You’ve Been with the Company for Quite Some Time
Certainly, having a long track record with your employer isn’t necessarily a solid reason to ask for a raise. You also want to be able to show that you’re a good employee on top of being loyal. These two factors combined can help support your request for more money in your paycheck.
As of January 2020, the average employee stayed at their job for 4.1 years before moving on.3 When an employee leaves, the employer must interview, hire, and train someone to replace them. This can get expensive, especially if the company has a high turnover rate.
By staying in your position long-term, you’re saving your employer these expenses. Some companies are also willing to reward employee loyalty, which you can suggest that they do by increasing your income.
Another Company Offered You More Pay
Sometimes, your leverage for more pay comes in the form of your company’s competition. Maybe you’ve applied elsewhere and have been offered a substantial pay increase to make a job switch, yet you’d prefer to stay where you’re at. Let your employer know that you’d love to remain in your current role if the company could either match or come close to the new job offer.
The benefit of this type of situation is that it can help validate your worth. It’s one thing to know that you do a good job for the company, but it is another to know that you are so valuable that another employer wants to steal you away. When this happens, it can also force your company to move a little faster when giving a raise in an attempt to keep you from leaving.
At the same time, it’s also important to consider that your company may not be willing or able to give you the raise you want. Therefore, you may wind up having to make a decision as to whether to stay where you are or if you should move on.
Tips for Asking for a Raise
If you decide that it’s the right time to ask for a raise, here are a few tips to help make this request:
- Do your research. Go into the meeting with numbers, stats, and other solid pieces of information to back up your request. Show that you’ve done your homework and, based on your findings, can quantify that you’re worth more money.
- Choose the right day and time. If you approach your manager when they are super stressed or busy, they may be inclined to brush you off or give you an outright no. Instead, try to time your request when they may be more open to talking and hearing what you have to say.
- Stay positive. Go into your meeting with a negative attitude, and you may be met with some resistance. This can be seen as complaining, potentially making it harder for you to get your raise. Stay positive, and explain why you want to stay with the company — adding that an increase in pay would help make it possible to continue your work while still meeting the financial goals you’ve set for you and your family.
- Be prepared to negotiate. It is a possibility that your employer will agree that a raise is appropriate but differ on the amount you should receive. Prepare to negotiate a figure. This turns the situation into one where you both give a little to get what you want. This can help make it a win-win, which is a good position for you both to be in.
Also, it helps to remember that an increase in pay isn’t the only way to boost the value that your job provides. There are also non-monetary benefits to consider when deciding whether to ask for a raise, such as how may paid days off you get, whether the employer offers health insurance coverage, schedule flexibility, and more. Sometimes, these ‘extras’ more than make up for a slightly lower wage, providing advantages that can help increase your job satisfaction and/or work-life balance, yet have nothing to do with money at all.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Medical Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-5
2 Gallup. What Is Employee Engagement and How Do You Improve It? https://www.gallup.com/workplace/285674/improve-employee-engagement-workplace.aspx
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economic News Release. Employee Tenure Summary. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/tenure.nr0.htm