21 Never-Forget Situations When You MUST Ask For A Raise

People whip themselves into a frenzy trying to figure out how to ask for a raise. What’s just as important, however, is WHEN to ask for one. Here are 21 (yes, 21!) situations you should never forget so you know when to ask for a raise. Each of these situations has led to raises on its own for SpringRaise clients. If you have a combination of these situations, your boss will have virtually no choice but to pay up.

FREE BONUS: Download a checklist of these situations so you can mark which apply to you right now. The Checklist includes 2 BONUS SITUATIONS not found in this post where you must ask for a raise. Print it and pin it on the wall or save it to your career folder for reference.


You Got The Props

1. You got promoted

You would think this is a no-brainer, right? A disturbing trend is companies offering promotions with no pay increases. What kind of promotion has no raise?

2. You won an individual award

You’re hot! Now ask the company to pay you for that brilliance.

3. You completed a successful extra project with no pay

You volunteered for more work and you’ve demonstrated your brilliance with quantifiable impact. Get paid for it.

4. Your Team won an award

Good teamwork should result in team increases. It happens. Ask.

5. Your Team outperforms other teams

Some companies don’t publicly recognize successful teams with awards. Team shine, Team raise.

6. Your project saved the company significant money

Always, always quantify the impact of your projects. When the company saves money as a result, sometimes they’re willing to share in the savings. If you don’t KNOW, you don’t ASK. And if you don’t ASK…well, you know the rest….

7. Your boss just got publicly recognized for work that you did

This happens all the time. Guilt can be a powerful motivator for your boss. Ask for the raise with grace and your boss may just be willing to buy your silence.


The Injustice League

8. You’ve had 2 performance cycles without a raise

Unthinkable? Think again. Why companies try to get away with this is unclear, but you don’t have to stand for it. Ask.

9. A peer makes more than you (and you’re better)

If you’re outperforming someone at your level, you should be paid more. It’s simple.

10. A subordinate makes more than you

Do we even need to say anything here?

11. Racial Injustices

While it can be difficult to prove, if there is racial discrimination within your company’s pay policies, shining a light on them can get you more money.

12. Gender Injustices

Similar to racial injustices in terms of difficulty in proving, but there’s usually more data available for gender discrimination than other forms.

13. Sexual Orientation Injustices

As crazy as it sounds, this one is often the most obvious. If you see it and can quantify it, report it and a raise will follow.

14. Religious Injustices

Of the major discrimination types, religious discrimination in pay is hardest to prove because of lack of access to data or a diverse enough employee population to quantify the practice. However, sometimes your manager (or a senior manager) will stupidly say something demonstrating a religious prejudice, especially private companies that profess to be governed based on a certain religion’s values.


Download the checklist

Download the checklist (right click + Save as..)


Company Chameleon

15. Salary band for your position shifts/new survey results

Every twelve (or 18) months, a company will get a survey to see how well their salary bands match up against their competitors. If you hear that your job has been surveyed, it’s time to ask for a raise. Guaranteed, the salary pressure will be upward.

16. You survived a company layoff

What? The company just laid off people and you should ask for a raise? That’s right. You’re valued and suddenly there’s more money available. Companies want to retain those who weren’t let go.

17. A peer leaves, isn’t replaced and you pick up the work

Companies don’t like replacing people if they feel they don’t have to. That means more work for you. More work equals more money. Remember, they’re not paying the salary of an entire person who used to do that job. They can afford to bump up your salary a bit for taking over.

18. Your company changes compensation policy on the fly

This is different from salary band adjustments and is MUCH more severe. Sometimes companies will change their compensation policies during the year. For example, imagine you started the year with the policy that if you achieve your goals, you would earn a 25% bonus. During the year, however, the company decides to reduce that 25% bonus payout to 10% (this one could also be in The Injustice League). It happens. What do you do? Immediately ask for a raise. Your raise value will most likely be less than the difference in compensation resulting from the policy change–and others WON’T ask for one. They’ll be too upset at the injustice. Opportunity for you.


The Royal Coffers

19. Your company has its “best year ever”

Don’t you love it when companies announce, “we just had the best year in company history!” and then don’t accompany that announcement with “so everyone gets a raise!”? It’s up to you to ask for one. Obviously, there’s more money flowing in.

20. Your company just got funded – and you were there before

Startups and other firms gaining new investment (this includes IPOs, of course) now have money to spread around. If you were at the company prior to the funding event, it’s time to ask for a raise. Typically during the period prior to the funding event, the company is tight with money. But while the executives exhale after getting their funding, you should be asking for a raise for your dedication and strong performance which contributed to the successful funding event.



21. You have a new job offer

We saved the best for last. If you were looking for another job and received an offer, congratulations! But what if you would rather stay at your current job than move? Use that offer as leverage to get a raise. Even if the offer is for the SAME OR LESS money as you make now, it’s expensive for the company to replace you. What do you have to lose by asking for the raise? You already have a new job if your company doesn’t want to pony up.

There you have it! 21 situations when you must ask for a raise. Don’t forget these when they happen and you can reliably expect more money.

Here’s What To Do Next…

Get your checklist of 21 Never Forget Situations When You Must Ask For A Raise, plus 2 BONUS SITUATIONS not found in this post! Keep this checklist close by in case any of these situations arise.  Click on the image below to download the checklist.


(Right click, Save As…)

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