How Do You Ask For A Pay Raise?

By Jennifer Evans, Executive Legal Recruiter

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, spurred uproar with his latest remarks on gender inequality. He was speaking at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing when he remarked that women shouldn’t ask for raises.

“It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along,” Nadella said, when asked to give advice to women on how to request a raise. He went on to add that “good karma” might help your boss realize that you are the person who could be trusted for more responsibility.

Following the public outcry over social media and among gender equality advocates, Nadella issued a public apology stating that his answer was completely wrong and one should ask for a raise when they think they deserve it.

What Do Experts Say?

There are diverse views on whether asking for a raise is a good practice or not. However, most experts advocate that asking for a raise does not make a bad impression.

The broad opinion is asking for a raise might not get you an immediate increment, but it does have benefits. It shows professionalism and assertiveness; it implies that you realize your right to talk about what you deserve.

So, how do you ask for a raise? I believe it’s a two phase process. Firstly, prepare yourself before requesting a meeting. And then, communicate your reasoning effectively.

For this post, I have outlined a few pointers that will help you prepare.  

Research Your Market

Before your meeting, you should do some homework. You need to consider the market opportunities for the skill set you have and the geographic region you are working in.  There are websites providing online salary surveys, but I have found that they are normally too vague or broad.

Calibrate your sense of market value by speaking with experts. Contact local association leaders & legal recruiters that specialize in your field of work.  Get a gage of market salaries, current opportunities & conditions of the legal job market.  Key is to seek out counsel from a “safe place” – this does not include your co-workers!

Highlight Your Achievements

When you are asking for a raise, you are asking for more. When you ask for more money, the first thing your boss would probably like to know is why you think you deserve it.

Be prepared to make a good case to justify your request for a raise. Consider your achievements and how you have contributed to the growth of the organization and/or your position.  Take the time to consider the depth of your responsibilities, enhanced skills, successful projects, & how your experience has expanded since your last review.

Discuss Future Possibilities

A raise can depend greatly on what you have achieved previously; however, a strong argument also takes into consideration what you can offer in the future.  Your past achievements reflect what else you can deliver, so consider what additional projects/tasks you can offer to take on.

Employers are looking for more value hence they need a compelling reason to consider giving you more money. Be prepared to convince them with enough facts about the market, your past accomplishments and your potential to make a greater contribution to the firm.

Keep an eye out for next month’s post – How to Have the Conversation: I Would Like a Raise.