A salary increase – it’s worth asking

The five best occasions for asking the boss for a raise.

Have you done a lot for your employer over the past few months and developed yourself further? Then you deserve a pay rise, too. For those who don’t want to wait until their next annual appraisal, there are five classic situations that each provide the perfect occasion for a successful salary negotiation.

“Employees should not miss out on these opportunities”, advises Emine Yilmaz, director at the personnel consultant agency Robert Half, which regularly publishes salary studies.

Her experience: A moderate salary increase can usually be achieved – with the right arguments and preparation. Depending on the industry, position and size of the company, Emine Yilmaz currently considers a plus of three to ten percent to be realistic. Anyone who holds a profession that is particularly sought-after, for example software development, may even be able to get more than ten percent.

Typical situations – and how best to proceed

1. Successfully completed further training

In addition to your job, you have also gone to school in the evenings or on weekends – and successfully completed an additional course of study, special certificates or a business English course. Then let your supervisor know immediately and show them where your new knowledge can be utilised specifically and profitably for the company. The more specific you are, the better. This highlights the added value for the company – and therefore hopefully increases your chances of a good wage increase.

2. Successfully completed project

“Managers want to see tangible figures, data and facts when they have to pay more”, says human resources expert Emine Yilmaz. For example, if you have developed new processes in your department, saved time, money and materials or removed the need for an external service provider through your project, these are good reasons for asking for something extra in your salary. Important: document all progress during the project – and also the period in which the cost savings were made, for example.

3. More responsibility and new tasks

Tasks are defined in the employment contract, but in the best case, these tasks evolve constantly, and often without being noticed. “Many employees take on a few additional tasks from a colleague, perhaps one who is retiring – and develop extra skills because the business area is being expanded”, Yilmaz says, mentioning a few examples. Managers and supervisors do not always notice such changes. But they offer a great opportunity to talk about money.

4. Cover during maternity leave or holidays as manager or project/team leader

A team leader has been on vacation for several weeks – and you have completed some or even all of their tasks smoothly during their absence? Or you have covered the management responsibilities of a colleague during their maternity leave over a period of several months with flying colours? Best of all, you have also proven that you have what it takes to take on additional responsibility. “If there are stand-in opportunities in the company, employees should grab the chance to show they have more to offer”, says human resources expert Yilmaz. Successful representation is not only a good opportunity to ask for a salary increase, it can also be a stepping stone to your next career move.

5. Satisfied customers/business partners

You also have a realistic chance of a salary increase if, for example, you have landed a new major order or have been able to negotiate favourable conditions with suppliers. “Positive feedback from customers or business partners is also a good argument for more pay”, says Yilmaz. Therefore: collect the relevant e-mails – and document all activities in which the employer has saved money through your commitment.

In general, the following applies: if you would like to talk to your boss about a salary increase based on one of the situations mentioned above, you should prepare yourself very well in advance and have arguments, figures, data and facts ready at hand and clearly documented, and then arrange an appointment for a salary discussion. “Don’t discuss the subject in passing, give your supervisor the opportunity to prepare”, advises Emine Yilmaz, director at Robert Half. And then, hopefully, nothing will stand in the way of a future salary increase.

About us

Your German Mortgage is not only a mortgage broker - we are trusted advisors from MLP, Germany's leading independent financial consulting company based in Berlin. We have more than 25 years of experience in financing property, and we are the first consultants to offer an online mortgage service for expats in Germany.


+49 30 28 39 3136

Mon - Fri 8.00 - 18.00

Saturday and Sunday closed