How to ask for a pay raise: 5 steps to success (with tips and scripts)

How to ask for a pay raise: 5 steps to success (with tips and scripts)
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 28 June, 2024

A pay raise isn't just a salary increase for your work — it plays a huge part in your career growth and financial security. A raise is a sign that your employer recognises the value you bring to the company. When your company wants to invest in you and your career, you'll likely feel more fulfilled at work, too.

But let's face it — asking for more money can feel paiseh and intimidating. If you aren't sure how to go about it, the whole process can feel like a high-stakes gamble.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of how to ask for a pay rise, from preparation to negotiation. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to have a productive conversation with your boss about your compensation.

A step-by-step guide to asking for a pay rise from your boss

How to accept or further negotiate a pay raise offer

Final thoughts


A step-by-step guide to asking for a pay rise from your boss

Step 1: Showcase why you deserve a salary increase

To justify your salary review, it's crucial to show your boss how you've contributed to the company's success.

Start by making a list of your recent work accomplishments. For instance, has your work contributed to hitting sales targets and boosting the company's bottom line? Have you suggested cost-saving measures or process improvements that saved time for your team? Have you received glowing feedback for going above and beyond if you work with clients?

Quantify your impact wherever possible. If you led a sales initiative, give the exact percentage or revenue increase you achieved. If you implemented cost-saving measures, calculate the exact amount saved for the company. Presenting these numbers makes your contributions tangible and easy for your boss to recognise.

And don't stop there. Shine a light on the extra miles you've gone — the late nights, the projects that went beyond your role, the tasks you volunteered for. Show how these efforts have played a part in the company's success. It's not about boasting but simply giving your employer a clear picture of your value.

Step 2: Build a compelling case based on research

Back up your case for a pay rise with thorough market research. You can determine what people in your industry and location typically pay for similar roles.

Tap into salary research tools and websites to pinpoint your job's average pay and benefits. SEEK's salary filter allows you to search for jobs by salary and compare current roles in your industry. You can also look into Malaysia's latest salary trends to learn more about your industry's salary data and benchmarks.

Take into account the cost of living in your area as well. As the cost of living increases, it’s important to understand how your current salary compares to local expenses. You can do this by calculating the percentage increase in your living expenses since your last pay raise. This helps you make a stronger case for a pay increase.

Step 3: Time your pay raise conversation

Timing is everything when it comes to asking for more money. It's best to pick a moment when you or the company has clinched a win. Some good timings might be just after your successful completion of a big project, after performance review periods, or after the company has exceeded its revenue goals for the previous quarter.

Look at the big picture as well. Let's say your company is entering a budget review period. You'll likely be more successful in securing a pay rise than after your team has finalised its budget. If your team members have received promotions recently, this might be the time to discuss your salary request.

On the other hand, there are certain moments to steer clear of. If your company is restructuring or facing financial struggles, it's unlikely to be receptive to a request for a pay increase. Stay away from stressful or busy times such as the holiday season.

Finally, be mindful of your manager's schedule. When the time is right, schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss your compensation.

Here's a sample email you can use to kickstart the conversation with your boss:

Dear [Boss' Name],

Hope your week is going well! Now that we've successfully wrapped up [project], I wanted to schedule a meeting at your convenience to discuss my role and compensation.

Over the past X years, I've grown rapidly in my role and taken the lead on many key projects, including [X, Y, Z]. With your guidance, I've also achieved the goals and KPIs we set at the start of the year, including [X, Y, Z].

I'm truly grateful to be able to make impactful contributions to this company. Hence, I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss increasing my salary commensurate with my current performance.

Please let me know a time that works for you, and I'll adjust my schedule accordingly.

Looking forward to our chat!

Asian man seated in front of a laptop

Step 4: Prepare for the conversation with your boss

Now that you've secured a meeting with your boss, here's how to prep like a pro for that tricky conversation:

  • Prepare talking points: Jot down your contributions and achievements in the last year, and use specific metrics to highlight your impact. Practise these points, but avoid having a rigid script — you want it to sound natural.

  • Rehearse your conversation: Role-play the conversation with a friend to build your confidence. Your friend can step into your boss' shoes and raise questions or objections so that you can prepare your replies.

  • Have a clear ask: Decide on the exact amount or percentage of a raise you aim for. This should be based on market rates, your contributions, and the company's financial situation.

  • Prepare for counteroffers: Consider how you'd react if your boss suggested a smaller raise or a different compensation. Don't sell yourself short, but be ready to negotiate. Consider alternative requests, such as additional benefits or flexible working arrangements.

Step 5: Enter your salary negotiation with confidence

So, you've picked the perfect moment and prepped your points. Now, it's time to talk to your boss.

Set a positive tone by expressing gratitude for your job and the chances you've had to grow. This will help you segue into the key topic of discussion: "Given my growth over the past year, I'd like to talk about my career progression and salary."

Then, move into the nitty-gritty of what you've achieved. Share real-life examples and any numbers from your latest performance review to back up your success. For example:

"Over the past year, I've successfully led several high-impact projects. This resulted in a 20% increase in client satisfaction and a 15% improvement in departmental efficiency."

If you don't have the figures, focus on the added value you've brought in. For example, you can highlight how you've gone above and beyond your job description:

"I've taken on additional responsibilities, such as mentoring new team members. I've also implemented process improvements that have positively impacted our bottom line."

Step 6: Follow up with your boss on the pay raise

Now that you've made your case, the waiting game begins. Give your boss some breathing space to consider your request — such decisions take time and discussion with higher-ups.

If you haven't heard back in a week, it's time to touch base with a brief follow-up email. This is your opportunity to show appreciation for their time and restate your dedication to the company's goals. You can also address any concerns or objections your boss may have raised during your initial conversation.

Here's a script you can follow for your follow-up email:

Dear [Boss' Name],

Thank you for meeting with me last week to discuss my salary adjustment. I appreciate your time!

I just wanted to follow up to check if there's anything else I can share to support your decision process. My commitment to the company's success has only strengthened, and I'm looking forward to contributing my best efforts toward our team's goals in the coming year.

Thanks once again for working with me on this!\

Asian woman in front of laptop adjusting her glasses

How to accept or further negotiate a pay raise offer

Congratulations — you've got a pay raise offer on the table. First, it's important to express your gratitude and highlight your excitement about the offer. This tells your manager that you're not taking their efforts for granted.

If the offer looks good to you, accept it and send a quick email to confirm the details of your raise. This ensures you get your raise amount in writing, keeping everyone on the same page.

But what if you were aiming for a higher salary than the offer amount and hoping to negotiate further? The key here is to keep things respectful and team-focused. Remind your boss of your value, and offer additional evidence to support your case if possible. For instance, there may be a recent win you didn't mention before or a course you're taking to upgrade your skills.

Keep the discussion positive, and you'll be well-placed to reach a win-win agreement that leaves you and your boss feeling good. If a pay raise isn't on the cards, you can always take a step back and ask yourself if the current offer still aligns with your career vision.

Final thoughts

Asking for a pay raise can feel daunting, but a little preparation will go a long way.

By showcasing your achievements, conducting thorough industry research, and timing your request strategically, you can confidently enter the conversation and clinch the raise you seek. Remember, you deserve fair compensation for your contributions, and with the right approach, you can achieve your career goals.


  1. How do I politely ask for a pay raise?
    When you're ready to have that conversation with your boss, remember to keep it professional and respectful. Start by thanking them for discussing your compensation before delving into your achievements and contributions to the company. Be specific and back up your points with concrete examples. You want to be persuasive but not pushy.
  2. How do I ask for a higher salary?
    Negotiating a pay raise is all about confidence and groundwork. First off, do your homework. Know the going rates for similar positions in your industry and area to get a clear picture of your market value. Also, consider the cost of living in your location. 
    ⁠⁠Then, take a good look at yourself. Reflect on what you've brought to the table since your last raise. 
    ⁠⁠Once you've got all that info, it's time to talk. Be sure to present your case in a compelling and respectful way. And remember, it's not just about you — be open to finding a solution that works for you and your employer.
  3. How do you justify asking for a pay rise?
    To justify your request for a raise, you must effectively showcase your contributions to the company's success. Highlight your accomplishments since your last raise, quantifying your impact whenever possible. 
    ⁠Emphasise any additional responsibilities you've taken and organise your achievements clearly and concisely. Be prepared to provide specific examples and data to support your case during your meeting with your employer.
  4. Is there a "right" time to ask for a pay raise?
    Timing is everything. Pick a moment when you or the company has just nailed a big win. Hectic periods aren't an ideal time to kickstart a conversation — and neither are times when the company may be undergoing a financial downturn or restructuring. Don't forget to check your boss's schedule to catch them in a good mood when they're less busy.
  5. How do I quantify my achievements for a raise?
    Highlight tangible outcomes, such as increased sales revenue, cost savings, project completions ahead of schedule, or improvements in customer satisfaction. Use specific numbers or percentages to prove the value of your contributions to the company's success.
  6. Where can I research average salaries for my position?
    SEEK's salary filter enables you to search for jobs by salary and compare the salaries of current roles in your industry.
  7. What if my boss says "no" to my raise request?
    It's important to stay professional and keep a positive attitude. You can ask for specific milestones or areas of improvement that you can work on to revisit the discussion in future. In the meantime, focus on excelling in your role and adding value to the organisation.
  8. Should I ask for a specific raise amount?
    Yes, you should ask for a specific amount you're aiming for based on your research. This shows that you've done your homework and are prepared to justify your request.
    ⁠That said, do remain open to negotiation. Your boss may have insights into budget constraints or alternative forms of compensation.
  9. What if I get a raise, but it's lower than expected?
    Express your appreciation for your boss' offer, and inquire politely about the rationale behind their raise amount. Their answer can inform your salary negotiation and help you reach a win-win agreement.
    ⁠Remind your boss of your value, and re-emphasise your commitment to the company. You can offer some potential compromises or alternatives that consider both your expectations. If all else fails, be prepared to walk away if necessary.

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