Asking for a pay raise

Emilie Jo Ipsen
Emilie Jo Ipsen

Asking for a pay raise makes many of us uncomfortable, but it is on the employer to take initiative and ask for what he/ she wants. No matter how good you are, your boss will not simply offer you an increase in salary, so we need to keep in mind to do it despite the discomfort it may cause us. Furthermore, it is considered quite normal to have this conversation, even if your position has not changed.

For a successful conversation about adjusting your salary keep the following factors in mind.

The timing

Broaching the topic can be difficult, which is why timing is important. Select a point in time when the company is doing well or has just landed a new client (best of all if that was thanks to you!), so that your boss can afford the raise you are requesting. Ideally, also time it after you have achieved something for the company, this will give a good basis from which to launch the conversation and already equips you with good reasons why you deserve an increase in salary.

Set a date

To make sure that your boss has time for the conversation you should make an appointment. This way you can avoid being interrupted and get a chance to lay out your points in an orderly and clear fashion. It also shows that you take the matter seriously and did not just think of it mid-conversation. Also, it gives your boss a chance to prepare for the meeting and already think about what he is willing to offer you.

Prepare numbers

Preparation is always key, especially when you may feel uncomfortable talking about finances. Know your current salary and how it is composed, know the salaries in the industry for comparable positions and similar work experience and know what it is that you want. It will be beneficial if you have a specific number you want to discuss, it shows certainty on your part and forces the discussion to be about concrete numbers.

The arguments

Prepare your arguments focusing on the worth you bring to the company, what you have achieved within your position and how you went above and beyond to help the company achieve its goals. Do not center the discussion around what you want, but instead what you give. This will create a good basis from which you can justify why you think you deserve an adjustment in your salary.

The offer

Either at the end of the conversation or in a second appointment, your boss will submit a number to you. Even if you have named a specific number, be prepared for a negotiation, most likely your boss will not simply accept what you ask. Your number should not be outrageous, but leave some room to be negotiated downward, so that in the end both you and your boss have a good feeling about having agreed on a compromise.

If the boss isn't willing to raise your base salary, you might be able to agree on an ongoing or one-time bonus. If you already work with a bonus system, it can be increased, or you can talk about other benefits, such as more holidays, a company mobile phone, a company car or a training you want. Be creative in your negotiation, the salary is not everything and you might find suitable alternatives which satisfy both you and your boss.

Should the negotiation not lead anywhere you might want to consider that the timing may not have been right, or there are some financial pressures that you are not aware of. If your boss is unwilling to discuss a salary raise now, be open to restarting the discussion at a future date. This increases the pressure on your boss and at the same time shows your flexibility and willingness to adapt your concerns to company decisions. Consider sending your boss a summary of what he's been discussing in your meeting so that you both can use this as a starting point for the following negotiation.

At Transport Talent, we specialize in advancing the careers of talented professionals in transport and logistics. Discover how Transport Talent can boost your career today! Beyond individual career growth, we're more than just a acquisition partner for businesses; we're an extension of your HR team. Our expertise ensures you secure motivated professionals who will be invaluable, long-term assets to your organization. Explore Transport Talent's unique approach and services now.

You can reach our international team in Hamburg by phone at +49 40 53 799 1400 or by mail at