Career: How to Build a Case to Get a Raise

Do you need more money? Since almost everyone answers yes to that question, the next step is figuring out how to get it. The majority of people get more money by getting a raise a work, finding a new job, or working multiple jobs. Getting a raise at your current job is the easiest route to more sustainable income. If your company is doing well financially, you should be able to leverage a raise by building a great case for it.

It is best not to have to ask for a raise.

Most people look for raises annually or when their position is changed significantly. If you work for a profitable company that believes in rewarding excellent work with excellent pay, you may not need to seek out the raise. It will find you. By far, this is the best way to get a raise. It does not require additional effort and is risk free for you. When your company or your boss is slow about doling out raises, you may have to take matters in hand and build a case for a raise.

Start by looking at your last perfomance review.

What does the company think of you and your work? Performance reviews are a good place to find the answer to this. If your reviews are consistently great, this is a good piece of information to use when preparing your presentation. Employees who regularly get high marks on their reviews are few and far between. This puts you into an elite group of employees that few companies want to lose.

Have your job duties changed?

Unless you were demoted, gaining new job duties almost always means that your value to the company is going up. You can often translate this to mean it is time for a raise. If a raise was not attached to the change in duties, you are usually on safe ground to discuss a raise with your employer based on this one fact alone. The big exception to this rule would be the employee who was hired at premium pay because he or she is expected to take on bigger tasks over a relatively brief period of time until the full training cycle is completed.

Have you taken on a new position or absorbed additional work from downsizing?

Companies downsize to save money. This is often accomplished by releasing higher paid employees and dividing their work among several lower paid employees. This makes those tasks cost less to perform plus it sheds the salary of the released employee. In reality, the company would save money even if those doing the work made the same amount as the person released. While you might not persuade them to step you up the full amount, you should be able to get a modest raise without pushing too hard.

Use this information to build a summary of your value to the company.

If you have not already made your move to try for a raise, list the components that have been mentioned so far that apply to your situation. Prioritize the items putting the strongest arguments for a raise first on the list. It may be that only one or two items will be needed to secure a raise. However, you can never be sure about what is considered critical or important to your employer. By having the list continue with items that you might think are insignificant, it may be that one these will be the small piece that will tip the raise scale into your favor or increase the amount of raise offered.

Make a case for a raise, but do not demand a raise.

Being beligerent when seeking a raise can be very counterproductive. This can cause your superior to decide against you before you can build your case. By building a case and not demanding a raise, you give your boss a chance to reflect on your points. He or she may need some time after the meeting to weigh your arguments before making a decision. In some instances, your supervisor may need to consult with those higher up before a raise can be granted.

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