6 signs that you should definitely ask for that pay raise

Susanna Kahr

Do you feel that despite the fact that you always get assignments done, think outside the box AND bring in new clients, you’re not getting paid enough? If you’re still drinking wine out of a cardboard box and not the good stuff, here are 6 signs that you should definitely ask for that raise.

You were young and needed the money.

Have you recently made the step out of student life, and into the big world of work? As we all know, it is not easy to determine your market value when you’re first starting out. So when it came down to negotiating your first salary, you probably sold yourself short and way below your actual market value. Now, after talking to your friends, family and colleagues about the kind of salary you should be on, you‘ve realized your mistake. If you’ve been at the company for 6 months to a year now, it’s time to ask for what you really deserve! 

Our tip: Jump into the shark tank and start negotiating. Even if it doesn’t go perfectly the first time, practice makes perfect and you’ll have to get good at it in the long run anyway. 

“My only complaint would be that for those of us who have been there a long time (4 years) should get more raises.” – anonymous employer review at H2Insights

You’re more experienced and you need the money

Your first work day is now a distant memory and in the meantime you have taken on more and more tasks, acquired new skills and excelled in your work. You’ve probably also taken on even more responsibility too. However, despite all this, your salary hasn’t changed. And, you could use the extra right now since expanding your family and buying a house are making their way up your to-do list.

If you think that your skills have improved significantly and that you’ve taken on more responsibility then that really should be reflected in your pay. You betcha! Go ahead and ask for that raise! But before you do, make sure to structure your arguments so that there is absolutely no doubt that your desired salary is justified. As you know far too well already, management always have their own  tricks and will want to avoid offering you a raise if they can help it.

Of course we know some of these tricks, too. Check out our list of things bosses say and what they really mean to be even better prepared for the talk of talks.

Instead of “and” you say “or”

Despite being permanently employed for a while you are so far removed from “the rich man’s world,” it hurts. Asset accumulation, what’s that? For you, this is more Mission Impossible than Mission Accomplished and everyday on your commute to the office you have to think of new and creative ways to save money. And since it’s well known that necessity is the mother of invention, you are the master of creativity. If you’ve got your apartment on Airbnb and sometimes sleep in the office to make some more cash, and you’re collecting every coupon you can think of, it’s time to change strategies and ask for a raise!

Small hint for your boss: Did you know that studies prove that steady salary increases – even if they are only small – increase satisfaction with the employer and life in general? Use this in your meeting! 

“You have to walk on water to get more than a cost of living raise.” – anonymous employer review at Boeing

Your colleague earns more than you 

You and your colleague are there day in, day out, working overtime and getting results together. Only for you to find out that your closest colleague in the exact same position as you, earns way more than you do! For you this is unacceptable and it’s making you more and more unhappy. 

So, here’s a hint that you should give your boss: Please don’t underestimate how disappointment about low salaries can affect work performance. What’s more, if there are too many dissatisfied employees, the working atmosphere quickly deteriorates. Just saying.

“I’d like to see the managers get higher pay and see managers promoted from within to corporate jobs.” – anonymous employer review at Circle K

You’re too embarrassed to reveal your salary to your partner.

For all your love and commitment to each other, your partner’s salary is still a taboo subject in your relationship. Really? If the shame about your salary is so great that you don’t even want to confess it to your partner – then the alarm bells must be ringing. However, you’re not alone. According to a survey undertaken by the XING career network, the majority of Germans don’t talk about their salary at all. Only around half of the respondents tell their parents what they earn and 71 percent talk about it with their partner, which means that every third person keeps it a secret. If that’s you, it’s time to ask yourself if you could/should be earning more and if the answer is YES, then go on, get out there and ask for that raise! 

You want to receive more tips for your next salary negotiation? Check out our article about how to negotiate your salary like a pro. 

You flirt with the idea of quitting

Although your letter of resignation has been in your desk drawer for months, you have no serious intention of slamming it down on your boss’s desk just yet. Although there’s this other company that’s tempting you with a better-paid offer, you’re competing with a lot of others. If “for better or for worse” sums up your commitment to your job, then it’s clear that a job change is out of the question for you – you love your job too much. You and your job, that’s forever. If only your salary wasn’t such a disappointment. 

Our tip: If you don’t want to move to a new company entirely, you should renegotiate with your employer. By the way, if you’re the boss’s favorite, you’ve got a particularly good hand in the negotiations. According to US studies, office favorites earn up to three times more than employees the boss doesn’t like.



Whether you earn a fair salary, have access to lots of bonuses or feel cheated by your management, it’s time to tell us all about your employer and the way that they offer (or don’t offer) raises and other benefits.