You Deserve a Raise — Here Are 4 Scripts to Request a Pay Bump

In an ideal world, your manager will advocate for yearly raises for you and your peers — which account for both cost of living increases and responsibility changes. Unfortunately, it’s all too common to see managers who are content to let their reports languish without any promise of a salary increase — or, even worse, HR departments that don’t bake in yearly raises.

As an HR professional, I’m mystified by organizations that opt out of giving well-deserved raises. While we wait for HR departments to catch up to the times, employees can advocate for themselves with the following pain-free scripts. 

When to do it: Schedule a meeting. Performance review is a good time, but you can do it whenever.


1. You’ve been with the organization for years without a pay bump.

If you’ve been working at the same job for a number of years without a raise, you might as well call it a pay cut — with inflation, a salary assigned even a year ago won’t go nearly as far today. 

Tenure at an organization speaks to your strengths as an employee: You’ve stuck around through good times and leaner times, too. You might have weathered major shifts in the organization, like restructuring, pivoting, or new leadership. And you have institutional memory of the organization’s inner workings — a critical asset. If you haven’t been given a pay bump, it’s time to ask for one.


Here’s what to say:

“I’d like to discuss a raise in my compensation to account for my years at the company. My salary reflects my first year, which was [X] years ago. Aside from inflation and cost of living increases, I’ve also developed skills and knowledge over my time here that increase my value. I’d like my salary to reflect both changes in the economy and in my level of expertise. Can we talk about an increase?”

2. You’ve been assigned more responsibility and decision-making power.

It’s a sign of good faith when your organization hands you more responsibility — it means they believe in your abilities and trust you to make big decisions. But if you’ve taken on more of a strategic role that gives you more power, you’re likely putting in more work and offering more value. You should be compensated appropriately for that extra effort and added responsibility.


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Here’s what to say:

“I’m so excited to be taking on more of a leadership role and to have a hand in higher level strategy. My salary is based on my previous level of responsibility, and it doesn’t match my new duties and effort required. I’d like to propose an increase that’s more in line with my new responsibilities.”

3. You’ve taken on a report — or even a mentee.

As you move up in the working world, you might find yourself on the management track with reports who make up the team you supervise. But management is both time-consuming and high-effort — you’re now responsible for your work and the work of your report. Becoming a manager means that you’ve moved up a level, and if your company has assigned you a report without a raise, it’s time for a conversation. 

One thing to note: It’s also worth a compensation conversation if your organization has assigned you a mentee who requires significant work hours or supervision. 


Here’s what to say:

“I’m enjoying managing Kevin, and he’s doing a great job for our team. I’m hoping we can discuss my salary — my compensation should reflect my new role as a manager and account for my new responsibilities of training, supervising, and more. Can we look at a raise that would reflect my management duties?”

4. You’re expected to increase your work travel.

Work travel comes with personal costs: time away from your family, wear and tear on your body, and added stress, to name a few. It also means that you’re “on” round-the-clock — it’s not uncommon for work trips to include all-day meetings and after-hours meals, drinks, or more. And if you signed on to a job that asked for two weeks of travel per year and they’ve upped it to two months, it’s time for a raise. 


Here’s what to say:

“This role has required quite a bit more travel than was originally requested, and my salary doesn’t reflect that change. I’d like to discuss a raise to bring my salary in line with roles expected to travel multiple months per year.”