Is Inflation Eating Your Paycheque? Here’s How to Ask for a Cost of Living Raise and Actually Get It!


Navigating a conversation about cost of living adjustments requires tact and preparation. By focusing on the economic factors that impact both the organisation and its employees...

In today's economic climate, where inflation and cost of living adjustments (COLA) are critical factors, securing a salary that keeps pace with the market and economic conditions is more important than ever. If you find that your expenses are consistently outstripping your income due to inflation, it might be time to discuss a cost of living adjustment with your manager. Here’s how to approach this sensitive topic effectively. 

Understand the Economic Context

Begin by familiarising yourself with the current economic indicators, such as the consumer price index (CPI), which measures inflation and can demonstrate how the cost of living has increased. This data can provide a solid foundation for your discussion, illustrating that your request is based on objective economic realities rather than personal financial needs. 

Research Industry Standards

Research what other companies in your industry and region are paying. If they are adjusting salaries to match inflation rates, this information can serve as a benchmark for your conversation. Websites like Glassdoor, PayScale, and LinkedIn Salary offer valuable insights into current salary trends and can help bolster your case. 

Schedule a Formal Meeting

Request a formal meeting with your manager to discuss your compensation. This professional approach ensures that both you and your manager have the necessary time to prepare for a meaningful discussion. 

Craft Your Request

Prepare a clear and concise case for why a cost of living adjustment is justified. Highlight the disconnect between salary increments and inflation rates, and use the data you’ve gathered to support your argument. Be straightforward and factual, focusing on the need for the organisation to maintain a fair and competitive compensation structure that reflects economic conditions. 

Be Prepared to Discuss Alternatives

Be open to alternatives if a direct increase in salary isn’t feasible immediately. This might include one-time bonuses to offset inflation or other benefits that could alleviate financial stress, such as transportation allowances or increased flexibility in work hours. 

Prepare for Various Outcomes

Be prepared for different outcomes from the meeting. If your manager is not ready to commit to an adjustment, ask what steps would be necessary to reconsider your salary in the future. Propose a follow-up meeting in a few months to revisit the discussion. 

Follow Up

After your discussion, send a follow-up email thanking your manager for their time and summarising the key points discussed, including any next steps. This not only keeps the lines of communication open but also documents your initiative in addressing salary concerns. 

Maintain Professionalism

Regardless of the outcome, maintain your professional demeanour and continue to perform your duties effectively. Demonstrating your ongoing commitment to the organisation can only help your case when the topic of salary adjustments arises again. 

Navigating a conversation about cost of living adjustments requires tact and preparation. By focusing on the economic factors that impact both the organisation and its employees, you can make a strong case for a salary that reflects the realities of the market and your personal circumstances.