Asking For Pay Raise Etiquette 8 Rules: How To Do It Right

The crucial asking for pay raise etiquette rules. The appropriate behavior for asking your manager for a pay raise politely and effectively.

What asking for pay raise etiquette is

Asking for a pay raise etiquette is the set of rules to politely ask your manager for a salary increase. Such rules include:

  • How to make an appropriate request for a pay raise.
  • The behaviors to avoid.

As an employee, before asking your manager for a pay raise, follow these etiquette rules to make the right impression and increase your chances of success.

As a manager or an employer, promote asking for pay raise etiquette to encourage your team to make mature requests and have positive career discussions.

General asking for pay raise etiquette principles

Asking for pay raise etiquette is based on two main principles.

  • Avoid making your manager feel used.
  • Not being perceived as entitled or aggressive when asking for a pay raise.
etiquette rules for asking your manager for a pay raise

Asking for pay raise etiquette rules

1) Know what you are selling

When we ask for a pay raise, we make a positive statement. We state that we like our organization, that we intend to keep being part of it, but also that we are ambitious and our market value is increasing – also because of the work experience that we are making in our company.

This is a very positive message to convey to your manager or employer. It means that, by giving you a pay raise, they help a loyal member of their team to stay longer in the organization. It also means that the job market recognizes your employer as a company that adds value to its employees – hence the increase in your market value.

This is what you are selling, a benefit for yourself and also the organization. If you frame your request this way, its reception will be positive. It will be easier to enlist your manager as a supporter of your pay raise because it benefits the whole team.

Do not act entitled, like you believe that the pay raise is owed to you. Before asking your manager for a salary increase, assess what you can or cannot ask them. Understand the limit of what you can ask. Find out what comparable companies are offering for a similar role and experience. Do not overshoot as you risk losing credibility and looking like a mercenary.

2) Choose the right time for asking for a pay raise

The success of your request largely depends on the timing. Asking for a pay raise at the right time significantly increases the chances of success. While asking for a pay raise at the wrong time results in almost certain rejection. For example, it s best not to ask for a pay raise during a busy period or if the company is not doing well.

A few weeks before asking for a salary increase, signal to your manager that you intend to stay in the company and progress in your career. If you ask for a pay raise abruptly, the chances of success are lower. On the other hand, if you ask well in advance the manager will feel flattered, as you are asking for their support to get the pay raise. Furthermore, the manager will have plenty of time to organize and fulfill your request.

Ask for a pay raise in a private setting. Never ask for a pay raise in public, as you would put the manager in an embarrassing spot. Thus, you seriously risk harming the relationship. Similarly, do not discuss salary with other coworkers.

3) Be clear and appropriate when asking for a pay raise

Before asking for a pay raise, make sure that you are in good standing. Your last performance reviews need to be positive. Show constant effort and engagement in your work.

Start your request by making your intentions clear. State what you need and would like to get. Make your request precise, with the exact steps that you wish the manager to take. Keep a positive tone of voice and positive body language.

Finally, state why you are asking them. It is polite to use some light flattery, but do not exceed it. After asking for a pay raise, it is polite to ask whether the manager has other suggestions in that regard.

Always ask for a pay raise in person. Avoid asking it over the phone, text messages, voice messages, or email, as they look impersonal and the message and its tone can be misinterpreted.

4) Explain the reasons behind your request for a pay raise

When asking for a pay raise, state the reasons behind your request. Show that you researched the job market and that the request is appropriate. Showing the reasons for your request increases trust.

Say why you think it is the right time, why a pay raise will benefit you, and how it will benefit the company. Do not make it all about you, but also do not pretend that you care only about the company. The pay raise happens when your incentives and the company’s incentives are aligned.

5) Allow the manager time to work on it

Always allow the manager an easy way out. Leave them the option to buy time without embarrassment. Your manager will need to think about your request, how to manage it, and maybe how to get an additional budget. Thus, do not insist too much and make them perceive you as entitled or arrogant.

6) A pay raise is a process: agree on the next steps

However, as an employee, it is perfectly appropriate to discuss career and salary progression. Thus, while you should allow your manager time to think about your request, you should also ask them to commit to the next steps.

It is enough to politely ask what the next steps are and what you can expect.

7) Respect a negative answer

If the manager does not accept your request for a pay raise, you should respect their answer.

However, it is perfectly appropriate to ask why they are rejecting your request. The manager should provide some explanation and suggest a path toward a salary increase. In other words, the manager should turn the “no” into a “not now”. Then, they should state under what conditions you will be able to get the pay raise. Often, the manager may assign you additional tasks and responsibilities to evaluate you and get more evidence to support your request.

Rejecting your request without providing any reason is impolite. If that happens, take it as a cue. It means that you are unlikely to get a pay raise anytime soon.

8) Express gratitude if the manager grants you a pay raise

If your manager increases your salary or offers you a path toward it, be grateful. Thank them and show gratitude.

asking for a pay raise etiquette worst mistakes

Asking for pay raise etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst asking for pay raise etiquette mistakes. 

  • 9/10. Asking for pay raise in public.
  • 9/10. Not thanking your manager after a pay raise.
  • 8/10. Not accepting a “no”.
  • 8/10. Making it all about you.
  • 7/10. Asking for a too-large pay raise.


  • Majority of U.S. Workers Changing Jobs Are Seeing Real Wage Gains: