I've been with my company for almost a year now so pay review should be coming up. However, I know my boss will most likely avoid it. He promised during my interview that after passing probation my salary would increase, yet after the 6 month probation he refused to citing lack of funds.

We're a startup and last month we received a large investment, the company is splashing out on marketing, refurbishments, new hires and events. I'm thinking of requesting a pay review next month.

I want a raise for a number of reasons:

  • I have worked very hard for this company and proved myself
  • more money is obviously nice
  • I'm more valuable to the company now than a year ago since I've learnt their systems

But I also need a raise because of my financial situation. I have repayments on a loan which will take 9 months to pay off. Each month I'll be paying back roughly half my wage to do this. This leaves me with very little money to pay for rent, bills, travel, food etc.

My question is what is a better reason for requesting a raise?

Should I mention both why I need and want a raise? or is it weak/bad to say I need a raise?

If my request is refused I will have no other option than to go out and find a higher paying job, I have checked the market and I'm certain I could secure a role which pays at least $12,000 more which would resolve my problem.

  • 3
    If my employee came to me and said, "I need a raise because I took out a huge loan" I would say, "that's not my problem. Your pay is based on your value to the company, not your personal financial decision making process."
    – dwizum
    Jan 17, 2019 at 14:22
  • 1
    Do you have a strong reason for staying where you are? There has got to be a reason why you haven't gone out for the additional $12K. Jan 17, 2019 at 21:56

5 Answers 5


It only matters to you

Whether you just want it or absolutely need it might effect how you approach (or even if you do approach, depending on your personality) getting a raise. But it should not be a factor one bit for the company.

The only things that should matter to them are:

  • Are you worth the money you are asking for?
  • Do they have the funds to give that to you?

Negotiating a raise is a business deal. Leave your personal matters out of it. If they can't or won't give you what you think you can get then look elsewhere for it.

  • 2
    Must have answered at the same time, just noticed this excellent answer, absolutely correct, it only matters to the OP.
    – Kilisi
    Jan 17, 2019 at 1:10
  • if you need a job, that literally means they can pay you less than you are currently getting. Because you "need" the job, they know you won't leave. Letting it be known that you "need" a job is exactly literally equivalent to saying "I will work here for less."
    – Fattie
    Jan 17, 2019 at 13:34
  • 1
    @Fattie The question is about getting a raise from the current employer, so needing a job isn't a factor. Also I am advocating keeping mum so I believe we agree in the end, even if we got there different ways.
    – Summer
    Jan 17, 2019 at 13:51

You do not need any reason to request a raise. You can mention your problems if you think the boss will be sympathetic, but it's not a requirement. Anytime you discuss money there is always a possibility that you will job hunt if you're denied, so that is already implied.

If you're sure you could land a job that pays 12,000 more, I can't understand why you are still at your current one. That is probably your best option.


The specific answer to your question is simple:

Never, ever mention, for any reason, that you "need" a raise. It is the kiss of death.

Negotiate salary only from a position of total strength.


"I'm certain I could secure a role which pays at least $12,000"

If that sentence is factually correct, you should literally walk out the door of your current company after you read this.


[Boss] promised salary increase during my interview probation [period but he didn't] citing lack of funds.

"We don't have it" is a valid reason for a startup to break that agreement.

last month we received a large investment... I'm thinking of requesting a pay review next month.

Next month?

You want to wait until after they already have budgeted how they will spend it to bring this up to them?

Assuming that you're doing a good job...
And assuming you are necessary to the functioning of the company...

Go into your boss's office Monday (Tuesday if you aren't working Monday) and say something like:

  • Boss, you said I would get a raise after my probation period, but you weren't able to give it to me because of the lack of funds.
  • Now that we have funding, I want to discuss my salary.
    Current market rate for my position and my experience is X.
    I think an appropriate raise would be Y.
  • I would like for it to be retroactive to the end of my probation period.

Fix the above wording to suit your interaction style.

Negotiate from there.


You never want to do anything out of need, as it makes you react rather than act.

Doing something out of want is action.

I want this, there for I will do that.

Doing something out of need is reaction.

I need this therefore I MUST do this.

You never want to do something because you must. Update your resume, post it, see if you get any nibbles, and go in with the understanding that you can move on if you want to. That way when you go into the meeting with the boss, you will go in with the confidence that you can move on at a moment's notice.

Believe me, people can pick up on that, and you'll be taken a whole hell of a lot more seriously when you ask. You don't need to mention if you have counter offers, you don't have to threaten to leave. Just going in with the confidence that you have knowing that there are options makes people treat you with respect.

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