How to Ask for a Higher Salary

• Straightforward Requests For Higher Pay • What Value Have You Delivered? • Give Compelling Reasons, Substantiate • Counteroffer During Salary Negotiations • Comparing Pay Between Employees • Ask for Performance Bonuses • Salary Negotiations in Promotion Interviews

Everyone wants more money, and we can never seem to earn enough of it from working for others.

Crudely speaking, the services you deliver has a pegged economic worth (no one works for free!).

And this value is the financial equivalence of salary, benefits, and compensation combined.

Straightforward Requests For Higher Pay

Purely asking for a bigger paycheck out of the blue never works.


HR and your big bosses will reassess your employability and since you've been receiving X dollars to perform job Y for so long, there is no additional need to incentivize you to do the same job and deliver the exact same output.

With every request for a higher salary, employees need convincing reasons to compel. Putting in straightforward requests to "reconsider your salary" is just a nice way to demand a larger income - it won't work.

What Value Have You Delivered?

Over the past year, did you beat your promised performance targets?

Have you got more clients and revenue for the company?

Does your team work more cohesively and deliver greater work with your leadership, involvement, etc.?

Reflect to see the kind of worth you've proven yourself to be - don't sell yourself short, but honestly, set the exaggeration and self-praise aside.

The concluding question you will be led up to is: "Has the value I delivered been underrated, and yeah - this employee should get a bigger paycheck?"

Give Compelling Reasons, Substantiate

Many say "work smart, not work hard".  And to increase the positive perception of your management, you need to come to the battle prepared and equipped with ingenious ways.

Improve how you look in the eyes of your boss

The first way to increase the perceived value of your workplace performance (and thereby your worth at work), is to make your contributions more visible. Flaunt what you've done at meetings.

Receive praise from co-workers and clients in public settings so people at work recognize them.

Do more, and increase your own workload

Another way is to become more proactive and think about what you can do at work as opposed to what you have to do. This way, your boss sees you outperforming in every situation and the company cannot afford to lose you as an asset to the competition.

If you try to job hop or leave for personal reasons, you have a convincing reason - the company would try their best to retain you for you to continue stellar work for them, and not for other rival firms. "Your employer will not be able to replicate with anyone else in the world", this is the most credible reason and justification why you should get your current salary reviewed.

You are a hot grab, and your company's competitors want you.

A third reason you can give to ask for a higher salary is the fact that you've received offers from other companies, but you've chosen to stay. If you're really sincere to your company and want to continue doing a good job, asking for a higher salary will be natural.

Deliver the message in a calm, neutral manner - and this becomes the most effective reason because it's honest: no one would require or expect an employee to work for cheap, especially if they're driven, talented and in demand.

Comparing Pay Between Employees

Each salary request is and should be treated on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, your employer should not be benchmarking the number of days of annual leave against another worker for the sake of "the standard", nor should you compare your base salary with another worker's base salary. Things to consider are the role, your performance, negotiating skills, and value to the company, which is how you should counteroffer a higher salary.

Ask for Performance Bonuses

Employees should ask for a performance bonus because it will help them get ahead when they're doing well at work. Not only do bonuses pad an employee's compensation package on top of their previous salary, but they also give the employee a sense of pride and satisfaction from getting recognized for deliverance. It's one less thing for employers to spend on, and it translates into spending more freely on other things.

In order to receive a performance bonus, you set your own requirements - for example, top 20% by sales revenue. In addition to this, a performance index (i.e. Key Performance Index, or KPI) is a tool that your employer uses to measure your skills, qualifications, and job performance. This KPI is reviewed usually on a yearly basis as part of the individual performance review. If you have proof and examples of how you've contributed to your employer's bottom line for the past fiscal year, then a request for a higher salary will be more effective.

Subscribe to Interview Question

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
[email protected]