Asking for a Raise in a Recession: Part 1 of 4

Up_and_down The current economic landscape means that things aren’t pretty when it comes to the workforce these days. Budgets are being slashed, layoffs are increasing, and hiring and salary freezes are now commonplace.

You might think in this economy that it’s the worst time to ask for a raise.

But then again, it might be just the right time to ask for one – if you can justify it to your boss. To improve your chances of success, it’s important to assess your past, present, and future value to the company before asking for more money in these budget-conscious times. This four-part series on raises will help you traverse the obstacles that stand in your way.

Start by thinking about these two questions. And if you’re a supervisor – these questions can help you evaluate a request for a raise.

What have you done for me lately? Performance reviews can be a challenging task for managers because not only are you evaluating performance, you’re also determining if they’re deserving of a pay raise. If it’s time for your review, approach it seriously and remember that there’s a difference between performing your job duties and going above and beyond. Provide specific examples of how you exceeded expectations. Be sure to document, in writing, your benefits to the company, especially if your actions saved or made the company money.

How much are you worth? Everyone wants to get paid what they’re worth, so it’s important to research comparative salaries. Resources such as, and can provide guidelines to help you identify a range for your position based on your job responsibilities and geography. The more knowledgeable you are about your position, the more comfortable you’ll be making your case.

In part two of this series, you’ll learn about timing your request.

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