How to Ask for a Raise at an Hourly Job (5 Tips)

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Whether you’re an hourly employee or a salaried one, starting a salary conversation is one of the most challenging things to do. It requires you to be both vulnerable and assertive, which can be a tricky balance. You don’t want to make your boss angry, but you also want to get paid what you’re worth.

Not to forget, you are also dealing with the awkwardness of asking for more money.

If you’re paid hourly, you may feel like you don’t have much leverage to ask for a raise since your employer can simply cut back on the number of hours you work if they don’t want to give you more money. And even if you’re doing a great job and bringing in new business, it can be hard to justify a raise when you don’t have specific numbers to back up your request.

But hourly workers are entitled to raises just like anyone else, and if you think you deserve one, it’s important to approach the conversation in the right way. Here are a few tips on how to ask for a raise at an hourly job.

Can You Negotiate A Higher Hourly Wage?

This is one question that plagues a lot of hourly workers! And the truth is, it depends on the company and your individual situation. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a higher hourly wage, especially if you have a specialized skill or if you’re being paid below the industry average.

However, if you’re paid minimum wage, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to negotiate a higher hourly wage since employers are legally required to pay at least the minimum wage. In this case, your best bet may be to ask for a raise in the form of more hours or a higher salary if you’re promoted to a salaried position. 

Research has it that the majority of people who work hourly jobs are actually paid minimum wage. However, if this is you, don’t think that a raise is out of the question – there are other ways to get more money. In fact, even if you are paid above minimum wage, it’s still worth doing some research to see what the average hourly wage is for your position and in your area. This will help you know if you’re being paid fairly and give you some ammunition if you decide to ask for a raise.

So to answer the question “can you negotiate a higher hourly wage,” the answer is – yes, you can negotiate a higher hourly wage. Still, it depends on the company and your individual situation. Plus, it’s always good to do your research!

Why Asking For A Raise At An Hourly Job Is Different?

Generally speaking, asking for a raise while working hourly can be slightly different from asking for a raise as a salaried employee. And while the endgame is practically the same (getting more money), requesting a raise as an hourly worker might require a different strategy altogether.

Here are a few reasons why asking for a raise at an hourly job can be different:

May not have the same leverage as salaried employees

When you’re paid hourly, you may not have the same negotiating power as salaried employees. This is because salaried employees tend to be more valuable to their companies and therefore have more negotiating power. 

This is backed up by a recent study that found that the more leverage you have, the more likely you will get a raise. So, if you’re an hourly worker with little negotiating power, you may have to get creative when asking for a raise.

You’re more likely to be paid minimum wage

Statistics show the average hourly workers in America are in the minimum wage bracket. This means that your employer isn’t legally required to give you a raise, no matter how great of a job you’re doing. 

So, if you’re an hourly worker and you’re paid minimum wage, it may be more challenging to get a raise. In this case, your best bet may be to ask for a raise in the form of more hours.

May have less job security

Hourly workers also tend to have less job security than salaried employees. This is because hourly workers can be easily replaced and are often seen as expendable. As a result, companies may be less likely to give raises to hourly workers since they can be replaced relatively easily. 

How To Ask For A Raise At An Hourly Job?

Before you ask for a raise, it’s essential to understand the nature of your position and whether or not there is room to negotiate. If you are on an hourly wage,  your employer may be more open to negotiating since they know that they can always cut back on your hours if you get too expensive.

So how do you go about asking for a raise at an hourly job? Here are a few tips you should keep in mind when approaching this conversation.

1. Do Your Research

It’s always a good idea to do your research before asking for a raise. This way, you can go into the conversation armed with the knowledge of what other people in your position are making. Find out what similar jobs in your industry pay and use this information to negotiate a higher wage.

You can do this online by searching for salary data or asking people you know who work in similar fields.

2. Know Your Worth

In addition to knowing what other people in your field are making, it’s also important to know your own worth. 

How much value do you bring to the company? Are you an essential part of the team? How much would it cost to replace you?

Answering these questions will give you a better idea of how much you should be asking for. A study by Harvard business review found that people who asked for a raise based on their worth to the company were more likely to get it.

3. Timing is Everything

When it comes to asking for a raise, timing is everything. You want to make sure you approach your employer at a time when they are more likely to be receptive to your request.

For example, if you just completed a big project or helped the company save money, this would be an excellent time to ask for a raise since you have fresh evidence of your value to the company.

You can also time your request with the annual salary review process or after you’ve received a positive performance review.

4. Make a Case

Once you’ve decided to ask for a raise, it’s time to start preparing your case. You’ll need to explain to your employer why you deserve a raise and how much you would like to receive. When making your case, be sure to emphasize your value to the company and how you have contributed to its success. If possible, provide concrete examples of your accomplishments.

You should also have a specific number in mind when you make your request. It’s often best to start high and then negotiate down from there.

5. Be Prepared for Negotiation

Once you’ve made your request, be prepared to negotiate. Your employer may not be willing to give you exactly what you want, so be prepared to compromise.

Be firm in your negotiation but be open to hearing what your employer has to say. If they can’t meet your demands, ask if there is anything else they can do to help you, such as providing additional benefits or more flexible hours.

Related reading: What to Do When You Don’t Get a Raise [5 Actions To Take]

Example Script Of What To Say When Asking For A Raise At An Hourly Job

Asking for a raise can be a difficult conversation to have, but if you do your research and prepare ahead of time, you’ll be more likely to get the wage increase you’re asking for.

To help give you an idea of what to say, here’s an example script of what you could say when asking for a raise at an hourly job:

“Hi, boss. I was hoping to talk to you about my salary. I’ve done some research, and I know that people in my position make an average of X dollars per hour. I also know that I’m worth X dollars to the company and have contributed X amount to its success.

Based on this, I would like to request a raise to X dollars per hour. I understand if you can’t meet my exact request, but I would appreciate anything you can do to help me earn a fair wage. 

Thank you for your time.”

How Much Of An Hourly Raise Should I Ask For?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the amount you should ask for will depend on a number of factors, including your experience, skills, and the current job market. 

According to various resources, the average national base pay for United States residents is anticipated to increase from 4.5 to 5.86 percent in 2021. If you’re paid hourly, you could potentially ask for a raise of up to 5.86 percent.

Of course, it’s always best to do your own research to see what people in your specific industry and region are being paid. This will give you a better idea of what an appropriate raise would be. A good rule of thumb is to ask for a raise that would bring your hourly wage up to the median hourly wage for your region.  

See: How Much Is Too Much to Ask for a Raise?

What Is A Decent Hourly Raise?

A decent hourly raise varies depending on a number of factors, including your experience, skills, the current job market, and the industry. The law already has the minimum wage capped at $7.25, so if you make less than this, you’re legally entitled to a raise up to this point.

The average hourly raise is expected to be around 5.86 percent in 2022, so this is a good starting point when asking for a raise. Plus, if you’re paid hourly, you’re legally entitled to receive overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours in a week.

For example, if you make $20 an hour and work 50 hours a week, you would be entitled to $30 an hour for the 10 extra hours you worked.

The best way to find out what a decent hourly raise is for your specific situation is to do your own research. Look at the current job market and see what others in your field are making.  

Don’t Shy Off From Asking For What You Deserve!

Even though it can be a difficult conversation to have, asking for a raise is important if you feel you’re being underpaid. To increase your chances of getting the raise you’re asking for, do your research ahead of time and be prepared to negotiate.

Be sure to also take into account the current job market and what others in your field are making. This will help you determine what a decent hourly raise would be.

Go get that raise!