How to Handle Salary Raise Objections


You’ve worked hard, completed your projects, made the company more money. So why does asking for a raise feel so tough. Probably because getting told “no” is tougher. Let’s be honest. It’s a blow to your ego. And your pocketbook. But what if I told you that you could overcome your managers “no” and turn it into a “yes”?

If you’re getting ready to ask for a raise you need to prepare yourself for one of these objections. More importantly, you need to practice how you will overcome it.

  1. “We only give raises at the end of the year during performance evaluations.”
  2. “We don’t have room in the budget to give you a raise.”
  3. “No one else makes that type of money here.”
  4. “You’re already at the top of the pay scale for your position.”
  5. “It’s not my decision. I’ll run it past my boss.”

Now, why does your manager say these things to you? Because saying “yes” is risky business – if nothing else it means higher cost.

But here’s the reality. If you think you deserve a raise, then you probably do. Now make sure you back that up with some research. What are other people getting paid for similar roles at other companies? What past and future value are you going to bring to the company? If you have solid answers to all those questions, then you can overcome your manager’s objections.

Let’s start unpacking these.


1. Waiting until the end of the year

Let’s start with the first one. Waiting until the end of the year. Here’s the reality, they expect you to say “okay” and walk away. But if you lean in and reiterate the fact that this isn’t about a yearly merit increase. This is about getting your salary and benefits in line with what other companies are offering in your space. It changes the entire dynamic of the conversation. So in this situation, remind them that you’d like to have the conversation now so that we can get this in line with the market.


2. We don’t have room in the budget

How about the old “we don’t have room in the budget”? response. Well, the reality is that they may have room in the budget they’re not telling you about. For example, some manager has discretionary funds allocated to them to spend however they see fit. So that’s one option. The other option is to respectfully remind them that this is a competitive job market, and you just want to be paid fair market value.

3. No one else makes that type of money here

This is my favorite. It gets me fired up. This argument is so irrelevant. This isn’t about everyone else. It’s about you and the work that you do. I’m a firm believer that you need to value yourself, and you need to know that you bring things to the table that no one else can. Respectfully, share with your manager that you can “appreciate that” but we aren’t talking about everyone else.


4. You’re already at the top of your pay scale for your position

What if your manager tells you that you are already at the top of your pay scale for your position? Then maybe it’s time for a new position! Work with your boss to set up a new role with increased responsibilities and pay.


5. It’s not my decision

This is what I call an in-between response. It’s not a “no,” but it’s not a “yes” either. In this situation make sure you set a date to follow up. The fact that your manager is going to their boss could be a good thing. You need to make sure you stay on top of it. The other thing to consider is who the real decision maker is. Keep this in mind for the future.


Bonus Tip

If your boss says “no” ask them directly “what do I need to do to get the raise?” And then do it! Set goals and get them in writing. Set a date and get it in writing. Make that your new target.

Until next time – Go get paid!


This article was originally published on Paysa.

See also Why You Need a Raise Instead of a Bonus

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