Three Things to Know to Time the Request for a Raise

As the saying goes, “timing is everything.”  You know you deserve more money for your work and the only way to get it is to ask for a raise. It is best to understand as much about a few company processes before you do.  This will help time your conversations to maximize your results.


The budget development and approval process can start months ahead of a new fiscal year. If you know you normally get a 3% raise, then you will probably be budgeted for another 3% raise next year.  A good time to start the raise discussion with your boss is before the budget process starts.  This gives your manager a chance to put it in the budget from the beginning.  It will be an unforeseen cost when you ask to jump 25% if no previous discussions have occurred.   Asking after the fact can slow down the process.  It still is very doable but may take a few more steps to succeed.


It is a good time to discuss your salary the moment you start to hear about potential of new openings.

Become aware of any hiring plans for your company and department.  This in normally tied to the budget process yet can happen unexpectedly if sales are stronger than expected or change in management occurred.  The company may be growing and starting new employees at a higher rate.  This is especially true if you were hired at the height of the recession.  I know you felt lucky and were lucky to get a job.  As the economy changes (however slowly) and your company rebounds you want to see the correct adjustment to your salary as well.

Performance Reviews

It is important to know if your performance reviews scheduled based on the anniversary of employment or is there one period in which all employees are reviewed.  If the reviews are by anniversary and you were hired at or near the end of a fiscal year then you are forever in a poor bargaining spot. All the other employees have done their best and gotten raises by the time your manager gets to you.  So there is little if any room in the budget left for you to get a hefty raise of 25%.  It may be well deserved and it may just even your salary with the rest but everyone else has been to the well and the well is now dry.

Once again, in this situation you will want to start talking about salary with your boss long before your official review scheduled.  You may be able to get the raise earlier in the year and your future review dates can be tied to the raise anniversary date.

Hopefully, the above comments give you assistance to be ready for the conversation. So many people get frightened and imagine the worst so they never have the conversation.    So  I say Go For It whenever you are ready to discuss your salary with your boss.

@ Copyright 2011, Katie Donovan. All rights reserved. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited