How Much of a Raise Should I Ask For? A Helpful Guide

Updated November 5, 2022

One of the essential aspects of career growth or development is negotiating a salary raise. As your skills and career experience increase, so do your cost of living and other personal expenses. Requesting and understanding how much of a raise you should ask for plays a pivotal role in the next phase of your career. In this article, we answer the question, "How much of a raise should I ask for?", discuss situations that require requesting one, and provide tips to consider when negotiating a salary raise.

Related: How To Ask For a Raise (With Example)

How much of a raise should I ask for?

Before beginning a conversation with your employer or human resources manager, it's crucial to decide the exact amount or percentage increase you want to request. Here are some reasons why:

It indicates that you have done your research on the role

Having an exact figure to present to your HR manager when negotiating for a salary raise indicates that you've taken out time to research your role thoroughly. It also reinforces your professionalism and shows that you take your job and the negotiation seriously. Ensure your research includes current salary trends for professionals in your field with similar positions, responsibilities, and qualifications. If you've recently taken any professional certification courses relevant to your field, be sure to bring them up during the negotiations alongside evidence of how these newly acquired skills contribute to your request for a raise.

It can give you confidence when negotiating

Not having an exact figure to propose to your supervisor or manager may affect your negotiations and how much of a raise you end up receiving. Researching your role helps you narrow your pay raise request. Doing this allows you to be confident during the negotiation, and ask for a figure that is within the market average.

It showcases your experience and professionalism

Knowing how much of a raise you should ask for showcases your experience and professionalism. Presenting your supervisor with well-researched verifiable market figures helps increase your chances of having your request accepted. Being realistic with your request helps foster a better relationship with your manager and allows for smoother negotiations.

When to ask for a raise

Common scenarios that warrant asking for a raise include:

Negotiating a salary for a new role

When you negotiate a salary for a new position, asking for an additional 10% of what you currently earn is common practice. However, the percentage you ask for depends on the specifics of the new role and other factors. If you consider the general amount paid to people in your field, you might discover that the raise does not compensate you well enough for the services you offer. Alternatively, you may find the pay you negotiated for was satisfactory for you, but it may be below the market average.

Considering factors such as the cost and standard of living, bills, the benefits of the new position, and whether your employer offers a supplemental health insurance plan or other bonuses could help you make a better decision. For instance, you may be in a situation where you requested a raise of $5,000 more than your current salary. If the job requires you to relocate to a location with a higher cost of living, your new and increased salary may still be too low after you settle all your living expenses.

Related: A Guide to Negotiating a Contract Effectively (With Tips)

When asking for a raise in your current position

Unlike the situation for a new role that could provide a 10% raise, if you're asking for a raise because of increased work performance, 3% to 5% is practical. However, while negotiating the salary raise, it is necessary for you to highlight your importance, how well you excelled in your current position, and your overall success rate. This can increase the probability of getting a higher raise. After you have relayed your various achievements to your managers effectively, they then refer you to the higher-ups.

To get a better idea and expectation of an appropriate salary level, look for similar positions in your area and calculate the average salary. For instance, if you are earning $60,000 a year and someone in your location and role is earning $75,000, consider addressing this issue with your manager to ensure that your raise is appropriate for your position. You can bring your findings and these statistics to the meeting with your HR manager or employer to aid your negotiation.

Related: How To Negotiate a Raise at Work

When changing careers

When you are making a change from one career to a different one entirely, determining your new salary level can require more research. This is because you may not have as much experience in your new career as you did in the previous one. When negotiating a raise in such situations, research specific areas. Pointing out your findings to your new employers can increase the chances of acceptance of your request. Include salary ranges for individuals in your research:

  • In a similar position in your region

  • Who work at companies in the same or similar industry

  • Who work at companies of the same size

Secondly, make sure you point out the new skills and experience you have and situations where you have used these skills. An effective way to judge the worth of your skills is to look for job listings that require a similar skill set to yours and then find out the average salary range for that job in your location. One way to do this is by using Indeed's job search engine.

Related: What Is DOE Pay, and What Does It Mean For You?

When negotiating a salary increase after a promotion

Of all these scenarios, the best position where you can negotiate raise in salary is as a result of a promotion. If you're asking for a raise due to a promotion, 10% to 20% isn't out of line. In order to ensure that you come prepared for the salary negotiation, familiarize yourself with the average salary others are making in similar positions both within your company and as a national average.

Depending on the level of promotion you have received, negotiate based on your new status. For instance, you can ask for a smaller raise if your new position isn't much more advanced than the previous one. However, if you are being promoted to a much higher status or role, you can negotiate for a more significant pay raise. Note that your raise level should be directly proportionate to the new responsibilities you are taking on. If you take on a new role with more duties, you can negotiate a more significant raise.

Related: How To Earn a Merit Increase at Work

Tips to consider when negotiating a salary raise

Here are some tips that you can consider when requesting a pay raise:

Do your research

Before the actual negotiation for a salary raise with your employers, make sure you have done proper research. You need to be equipped with the current salary trends related to your position in the company. Bringing proper findings and statistics can boost the negotiation in your favour and give you an idea of what raise percentage would be appropriate for you.

Related: How To Negotiate Salary (With Examples)

Showcase your achievements

When you are negotiating for a raise, it's vital to list out all your achievements. Include all the significant contributions you have made to help your company achieve its goals. Doing this shows the manager that you deserve a raise. It also indicates a commitment to professional development, your position, and the company.

Consider other benefits when negotiating

It may not always be possible for you to get a pay raise. In such a situation, consider negotiating alternative benefits and bonuses in place of a pay raise. For instance, you can request a more flexible work schedule or better performance-related bonuses and incentives.

Related: 12 Different Types of Bonuses (Definition and How They Work)

Consider factors that affect your income

While determining the extent of your salary raise, consider factors that affect your income. For instance, if you have to work in an area where the cost of living is high in terms of rent payments or other fees, you might consider that before stating your preferred raise to your prospective employers. Doing this lets you negotiate a better raise.


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