In this article

The Chinese value the idea of 羞耻心, translated as a sense of shame.

What this means is that when asking for something, you can’t appear to be ‘shameless’, and ask for more than what you deserve, otherwise tongues might end up wagging.

But on the larger picture, it also affects how we perceive ourselves, and our being deserving to ask for something. And in the professional sense – that’s about asking for money.

Since I don’t have any personal experience in how to ask for a raise, I decided to ask around. Who better to ask from than those in charge of giving those raises?

Here, I reached out to 4 individuals, Johnathan Chua (Business Director, GRVTY Media), Ian Gregory (Co-founder, Witching Hour Studios), Alaric Choo (Co-founder, Secretlab) and Bess* (Chief Operations Officer, a multi-national F&B company).

*Name has been changed to protect her identity.

What You Should Do

1. Give A Heads Up

A face-to-face meeting is best and make sure they know it’s about a raise request.

This will give your boss time to consider your value, both in and outside of your job scope.

2. Ask Nicely

Don’t be afraid and ask politely. You’re likely to get a more favourable response by being reasonable and calm, as opposed to being “overtly aggressive”.

3. Pay Attention To The When

Although there might not be a ‘best’ time, Bess advices that scheduled salary reviews are a good time.

“The minds of the decision makers are open to rewarding team members who deserve raises.”

4. Prove You’re Ready To Fight The Good Fight

No employer will approve a raise for an employee with low morale and who appears to be on the brink of quitting.

Show that you’re ready to take on more duties, and convince your boss the raise would be a strong motivator for you to do so.

One thing to have handy would be statistics, says Bess.

“Ensure you have been doing more than your job scope for at least 3 months. The management will definitely take notice of those who go above the call of duty.”

5. Accept A (Potential) Rejection With Grace

A rejection doesn’t come easy, and it can sting more than you want to let on.

However, do not justify acting out on your being upset, because the rejection also teaches you 2 important things, says Johnathan.

“One, you learn where your areas of improvement are. Two, you know if there’s a pay ceiling limiting your growth with the company.”

“In that case, consider leaving.”

What You Should Not Do

6. Compare Yourself To Others

When you ask for a raise, make your case without making comparisons, Alaric says.

You do not make a good case for yourself when you put others down. Focus on your own positive contributions to the company.

7. ‘Exploit’ A Win

Asking during a ‘high point’ might not be advisable as well as your boss can tell you are trying to “exploit the moment”.

“I love how so many articles about raises assume bosses are stupid.”

Of course, there are also definite wrong times to ask, “such as after a f**k-up,” says Ian.

8. Sob Stories

The “Mother has gone to Heaven” plea

Your problems are most likely part of why you need a raise but it isn’t your boss’ responsibility to solve them.

“It’s never nice to be emotionally blackmailed for more money – don’t do it.”

9. Corner Your Boss

People think they need leverage to ask for a raise but this might end up “poisoning” the relationship.

“You can say you were offered so much more by someone else. You might get the raise, but your boss might think you’re gonna leave at some point and start looking for your replacement.”

Your Boss Isn’t Your Enemy

However, when you ask for a raise it does require delicate strategy and planning.

The tips distilled here are merely from 4 individuals – your boss might not share their mindset.

Regardless, these words come from people who have ‘been there, done that’, so it would still be prudent to take them into mind.

Do you have any other tips to share?

Featured Image Credit: shazbyshaz / Vulcan Post

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay updated with Vulcan Post weekly curated news and updates.


Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)