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Sloan's Inbox: How to ask for a raise?

Hey folks! Sloan, DEV Moderator and mascot. I'm back with another question submitted by a DEV community member. 🦥

For those unfamiliar with the series, this is another installment of Sloan's Inbox. You all send in your questions, I ask them on your behalf anonymously, and the community leaves comments to offer advice. Whether it's career development, office politics, industry trends, or improving technical skills, we cover all sorts of topics here. If you want to send in a question or talking point to be shared anonymously via Sloan, that'd be great; just scroll down to the bottom of the post for details on how.

Let's see what's up this week...

Today's question is:

I've been at the same company for over a year now and realize that this industry is highly competitive. My org hasn't been hit with layoffs, but I know this has been an issue across many organizations. At the same time, I'm growing as a developer and doing better work than ever. I've not had a raise since joining a year and a half ago, despite having a performance review last summer that generally went well. Any advice on how to approach asking for a raise?

Share your thoughts and let's help a fellow DEV member out! Remember to keep kind and stay classy. 💚

Want to submit a question for discussion or ask for advice? Visit Sloan's Inbox! You can choose to remain anonymous.

Top comments (7)

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel 🕵🏻‍♂️ Fayard

"The economy is bad right now" is the go-to excuse for every company ever to not give employees a raise.

Here is a secret though :
Companies still give raises when the economy is bad.

Here is a second secret :
Raises don't go to people with the best skills.
They go to people with the best salary negociation skills, the ones who don't mind bragging about their work, annoying people, etc

Smart companies should do salary transaprency IMHO
A whold class of problems would immediatly diseappear.

In the meantime, my advice is to learn the basics of marketing and negociation.

_ndeyefatoudiop profile image
Ndeye Fatou Diop

I am not sure if that is helpful but one advice I would give here is that if you want to ask for a raise, you generally need to talk to your manager 3-6 months before and check what it would take to get a raise. Then implement the changes and go back to it

theaccordance profile image
Joe Mainwaring

Before you initiate a conversation with your boss regarding a change in compensation, you want to be prepared, my recommendations:

  • First and foremost, you need to know your own value. If you're simply looking for a small bump to account for inflation (typically 2-3% annually), that's one thing, but if your responsibilities have materially expanded since your last comp adjustment, you're probably in a position to ask for a larger raise (5%+)
  • It's also important to have some basic understanding of your company's financial position. Even though your company may not be laying off people, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're operating in a healthy position to afford increased expenses. Many companies will share financial details at all-hands meetings, otherwise I would look at how the company's sales are performing as an indicator.
  • Many companies will plan for comp adjustments at specific times of the year; know that there are always exceptions to these rules. Companies that have the means to adjust comp will adjust comp outside their normal timelines if it results in retention of critical employees.
  • Take into account more than what you've accomplished. If you're having comp adjustment conversations infrequently, then you may want to ask for more than what you deserve today. A good manager will recognize this and work with you constructively to grow you to meet that higher expectation.
  • Have patience. I would typically recommend to my direct reports that they start these conversation 3-6 months in advance. This gives the manager and the company some time to figure out how to make it happen, as well as provide you with time if the manager feels you need to improve your performance a bit more to justify your ask.
jaloplo profile image
Jaime López

In my opinion, it's something you have to talk about with your manager or the corresponding decision-maker. Ask for the activities involved for a raise, or for a promotion. I will add to ask that person what are the activities and/or roles involved to earn a raise or promotion. Then, ask for those or start doing them.

gregnoob profile image
George Alex

Hi, hope this helps. Instead of asking for a raise just out of the blue, approach your boss or team lead, and say to him something like: "Look I have been with the company for more than an year now, through high and low time so you know I'm loyal, I have met all my deadlines and tasks, I've done well on my past review, and I would like you to help me set up a plan, over the next 3 months, that will help me get to this salary."

Don't approach your boss with with questions that leave him only with the options of saying 'yes' or 'no'. That would be my best advice.

Hope that helps and best of luck.

stefanmoore profile image
Stefan Moore

Ask a co-worker on how the raises are handled as they have already been in your shoes.

Ask your manager to schedule a 15 minute meeting with you and when they ask for what. Let them know it's about a salary increase.

Go in there armed with the tools mentioned below or what you've heard from others.

If declined wait 6 months try again.

hbrockhoeft profile image

Here are a few tips on how to get a raise from a company:

  1. Document your contributions: Keep a record of your accomplishments, successful projects, and any additional responsibilities you've taken on since your last raise. This will help you make a strong case for why you deserve an increase in salary.

  2. Research salary benchmarks: Look up the average salary for your position in your industry and location. Use this information to support your request for a raise and to ensure that your expectations are in line with market standards.

  3. Schedule a meeting with your supervisor: Request a formal meeting with your supervisor to discuss your performance and compensation. Be prepared to articulate why you believe you deserve a raise, using specific examples and data to support your case.

  4. Highlight your future potential: Emphasize your commitment to the company's success and outline how you plan to continue adding value in the future. Demonstrating your dedication and potential for growth can strengthen your case for a higher salary.

  5. Be open to feedback: Approach the conversation with an open mind and be prepared to receive feedback on areas where you can further improve. Your willingness to grow and develop professionally can demonstrate your readiness for increased responsibility and compensation.

Remember to approach the topic of a raise professionally and be prepared for the possibility of a negotiation. Good luck!