People with my skills and experience are generally getting paid more money than I am currently, based on what I have discovered from free salary web sites.

I want to ask for a raise but I don't know how to approach the subject because I know my boss doesn't make very much more than I do.

My boss is much more skilled and experienced than I and a great boss - but, for whatever reason, he makes a much, much lower salary than the industry standard for his position.

I am extremely happy where I work and I would like a raise. How should I approach this?

  • 2
    Does your manager do a similar kind of job as you with the added responsibility of managing you, or is your manager an all out manager?
    – Oded
    Sep 11, 2012 at 20:00
  • 1
    Do you know if the manager has asked for a raise and if so why he didn't get it?
    – user8365
    Sep 11, 2012 at 20:07
  • 1
    I dont know about that
    – Quinma
    Sep 11, 2012 at 20:13
  • 13
    Remember that technically you're not supposed to know what your boss or anyone else makes; don't let that cloud any completely reasonable request for a raise that you might ask for.
    – jcmeloni
    Sep 11, 2012 at 20:17
  • 1
    Keep in mind that most salary websites consider total compensation, meaning bonuses, benefits, higher than normal PTO, etc. In the United States you are legally entitled to know what your employer is contributing towards your health insurance. Add that amount to your gross pay plus the estimated cost of other benefits to get a true comparison for salaries in your area. Sep 12, 2012 at 0:12

1 Answer 1


Your manager's salary is irrelevant (just as your manager's salary would be irrelevant if it was much higher than the industry norm).

If both you and your boss are drastically underpaid because your organization's approach to compensation is to pay below market rates in order to keep payroll costs low and to incur the corresponding productivity costs of dealing with employee turnover, it's rather likely that the company will turn down your request for a raise and that you'll need to leave the organization to get a fair wage.

If, on the other hand, your boss is underpaid simply because he doesn't particularly care about making more money or the job has other benefits that are more important to him, that's a personal choice your boss has made that has no bearing on your compensation. Perhaps your request will prompt your boss to do some research on the going rate for folks in his position and will prompt him to ask for a raise for both of you. Perhaps your boss is perfectly happy with his compensation package and will simply deal with your request to see if the company can increase your salary.

  • 2
    I think this is correct and it will probably result in option 1, my having to find a new company which is really too bad. Many business' will not pay the market price for an employee if they hired them at a lower price which is really too bad. I appreciate the input.
    – Quinma
    Sep 11, 2012 at 20:26
  • 5
    sometimes people are paid more than management simply because they don't want to move into management as well.
    – Rarity
    Sep 11, 2012 at 21:20
  • @Rarity: Yep. Management is not always senior; these days I often have many more years of experience than my manager. Management is a different set of tasks, with its own pay scale. Some companies make it easier to reach higher pay in a management track, some don't; depends on the nature of the business and how much they care about retaining tech types.
    – keshlam
    Dec 15, 2014 at 18:21

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