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Sloan

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How do I ask for a raise?

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I'm trying to work my way up through my company. Time and time again, I find myself thinking that I should earn more for my position, but I don't know how to bring up the idea of a pay raise to my manager.

How do broach the topic of a raise to my manager? I really think I'm deserving of the raise, but I don't know how to bring it up, and it's a really nerve-wracking conversation for me.

Discussion (26)

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jeoxs profile image
José Aponte • Edited on

From my experience, I can recommend you the following;

  1. If you need a raise: first, look for a better job opportunity elsewhere. Why? Because you need the money. You believe you need to be paid more for your position and responsabilities, but you don't know if the company have specific salary ranges for that position and won't go above the limit. So, go after the money. Trust me, if you wouldn't need the money, you wouldn't be thinking about a raise.

  2. Once you have that opportunity, you can go to your boss and ask for a raise:
    "Hey boss, is this a bad time to talk?" (works every time you need to talk to someone). And then, you simply say "I need a raise. I've been working hard at this position and I believe I should earn more for this position and responsabilities I have".

Don't go around. Be polite but go straight to the point. Be ready for the "No". If the company says "Yes", then you win. If the company says "No", then you say "Oh, ok. thank you for your time" and go back to your chair. You will then accept the new offer.

You have to search for the thing you want. Do not expect a company will give it to you.

I hope you the best!

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sativ01 profile image
sativ01

There's a problem with this approach - your manager says "i need to check it with my upper management, it's not my call"
Then for 2-3 weeks there's no response, but other company cannot wait. Then you have hope and you decline the offer. Then your manager is going back to you and tries to negotiate. Or they say the promotion is coming next quarter, or something else.

To not let this happen, initially put a deadline on you manager's response. Same as you have from the other company.
If they don't come back to you - leave. No regrets.

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jeoxs profile image
José Aponte

This is something that could happen. I really take your word and what I can say is that this approach might not work on every case. The main message here is that change must come from us (me, you, the author of the post, etc), and not the company. So, to analyze your example:

  • It may not be a good strategy to explicitly put a deadline on your boss/manager's answer because that would trigger an alarm to the superiors telling them that the employee have another proposal. And I always keep in mind that no one is indispensable. Therefore, the employee should keep the deadline for him/herself. Then, when the time runs out, the employee should know what to do (that is: to take the new offer).

  • The hiring process of a company will usually take like 2 weeks (average). From the initial interview with the candidate, the review of the CV with HR and the department that needs the person; to the final offer. This time can be longer if the negotiation takes some detours. And yes, the employee would have to use his sick day or something to attend the interview with the new company.

Considering these points, I would first apply to new jobs and then talk to the boss asking a raise (without having an opportunity). If I get a positive answer from the company soon, then I don't have to switch job. In the meanwhile, I would receive some opportunities and choose.

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sativ01 profile image
sativ01

Maybe i wasn't clear, I'm commenting this part of you advise

Don't go around. Be polite but go straight to the point. Be ready for the "No". If the company says "Yes", then you win. If the company says "No", then you say "Oh, ok. thank you for your time" and go back to your chair. You will then accept the new offer.

Other than that you advice is pretty solid.

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jeoxs profile image
José Aponte

Oh! I see! Sorry for not getting that at first. But I took your feedback to make a new analysis. I really like to dive in into this trains of thoughts 😅

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lukeocodes profile image
@lukeocodes 🕹👨‍💻

In my career, in my experience over the last decade...

No carrot has ever been delivered. Even with the best and nicest managers, making the best and nicest promises, the company undermined that relationship by removing their ability to deliver on pay rises and promotions, even after they were agreed.

Disconnect your career asperations from company growth asperations. No company will promote you the way you can promote yourself. Seek a more senior role elsewhere.

You'll only realise your value as you move through the industry, capitalising on the experience you gain along the way.

Eventually you'll have comfortable remuneration in a company that values your work life balance. Then you can rest.

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jackmellis profile image
Jack

1000% agree. This is (after much disappointment) how I've progressed my career. Most companies won't help you up, you need to go diagonally!

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theaccordance profile image
Joe Mainwaring

A lot of folks here are advocating for finding another job, and while I respect their experiences, you can get meaningful comp adjustments internally. In the 8 years I’ve been with my company, my comp adjustments have totaled 300% of what I started at.

You read that right: I tripled my salary without leaving my company.

How did I do it?

  1. I found a company that valued me as a participant and rewarded its team members accordingly based on performance.
  2. I performed at what I was given, and was eventually given chances at new opportunities which I turned into ongoing responsibilities. I’ve repeated this cycle several times over the years.
  3. I held regular feedback cycles with my manager. Our cycles consisted of reviewing current tasks/responsibilities as well as mapping out how I could grow.
  4. I built an understanding of the company’s financial health. No point in asking for a raise if the company is in a spending freeze.
  5. I would start comp conversations early. If the company adjusted salaries in July, I would start a conversation in January. That gave my manager time to work with finance to allocate funding, and gave me time if necessary to grow if there was a disconnect between what I wanted and my current performance.

Last but not least - there has been an element of luck with my situation. Not every startup has an exit, and not every tech company grows. If I hadn’t been in the right spot at the right time, I would have missed out on some of the most significant increases to my pay.

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sativ01 profile image
sativ01

I have been doing the same at my 1st company, until one day the promotion wasn't fair. I have left and tripled my salary in 5 years following the advice that's popular here.

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jeremyf profile image
Jeremy Friesen

One thing you can do that should be nominal risk is to say approach your supervisor and say:

"I am looking to make 10% more than my current salary. What would that look like for me to get that here? And what's the timeframe?"

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dimitarstbc profile image
Dimitar Stoev

I think that is a bad idea.

With this kind of approach, the most you can get yourself is more work or more responsibilities.

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theaccordance profile image
Joe Mainwaring

Asking for 10% might be too big of a stretch for a single comp adjustment, but otherwise it’s a sound strategy that I coach my own team members to undertake when they feel their performance justifies a raise.

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isaacdlyman profile image
Isaac Lyman

In my experience 10% is on the low end of tech salary adjustments, especially during your first five years.

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theaccordance profile image
Joe Mainwaring

Fair point, it really depends on the base that 10% is being applied to.

10% of 70k is 7k, very reasonable adjustment

10% of 300k might be harder for a SMB but probably not a FAANG

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jeremyf profile image
Jeremy Friesen

The purpose is to open the conversation, telegraph you want more money, and listen to how your boss will act with that info.

Many raises come with more responsibility.

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sheikh_ishaan profile image
Ishaan Sheikh

I agree with others who are saying that you should start looking for other jobs who pay you higher. And if your company really want to work with you they will surely give you a raise when you told them that you are looking for a job change. If they don't give you a raise then just switch the company. Switching companies is not bad, as long as you are not doing it too frequently (maybe 1+ year atleast).

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isaacdlyman profile image
Isaac Lyman

Your company probably won't give you a raise. And if they do, it won't be because you asked nicely. They will only give you a raise if the alternative is more expensive.

What's more expensive than a raise? Losing an employee who does good work and knows the ropes. So bring the proof: offers from other companies, examples of work you've done, your impact on various processes or clients. Say "I really enjoy working here and I'd love to stay, but I have to do what makes sense for me, my family, and my career. Are you able to make this work for me?"

Don't accept promises or threats or peace offerings. Get what you're worth or move on.

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natescode profile image
Nate • Edited on
  1. Apply for other jobs
  2. Ask for the salary you want
  3. Accept offer
  4. Give notice

In 10 years, I've gotten ONE very late raise and immediately left afterwards for a $25k raise.

The biggest raise you'll ever get is on your first day

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dvddpl profile image
Davide de Paolis

I hope you have yearly feedbacks at your company, that is the place to negotiate salary raise. When you do so, come prepared, I suggest (not only for salary negotiations but also for your own personal growth and to fight imposter syndrom) keeping a so-called Brag Journal: list the tasks you worked on, what were the challenges, how you solved them, what was the positive impact for you team / project / company?
This helps you build confidence have arguments to prove your point.

Salary negotiations are hard and when you are there, we all tend to be humble - and forgot all the good and hard work we have done.
Of course this does not guarantee a salary raise. If that does not happen, or not in the range you expect, then the only way is, well, finding another job.
Once you have it, if you really like your current company, and they like you a lot, they might make you a counteroffer. Don't bluff though! Or you risk not getting the salary and losing your job!

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scottshipp profile image
scottshipp

Does your manager already discuss pay with you? In most companies, raises for existing employees come from a fixed amount that the manager or director (or both) of the team must split up between everyone. The percentage possible is also often prescribed. These decisions happen a long time ahead of when the employees themselves find out.

You can tell your manager that you'd like to make more, and discuss how to make that possible, but it generally only happens when you are promoted. The conversation is likely not going to consist of the exchange, "I think I'm underpaid" followed by the manager saying"OK how much?" but instead, it will look like, "I think I'm underpaid," followed by the manager saying, "OK let's talk about how we can help you do things over the next year that can result in a promotion for you."

Because this process is long and vague, the standard advice is that if you find yourself underpaid, you will want to find another job elsewhere. And this is actually the only logical conclusion. If you absolutely feel dedicated to your current company, you can take any offer you get from another company to them and tell them your new market worth and that you would rather stay, and see if they will counteroffer. But be prepared for no counteroffer or one that is not as good. That can be pretty common.

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tqbit profile image
tq-bit

From the idea of José, given you're in good terms with your boss, you should also ask for a job reference. You don't even have to be actively looking for a job.

This often breaks the ice and gives an opportunity to speak about your past performances and a raise.

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andyh_dev profile image
andyh-awk

In my experience being direct and honest is the best approach, however some planning is required. Unfortunately this is not necessarily fair but a-lot of business and corporations fail to see someones value so you need to sell it a little.

  1. Review other offerings of your role to get a benchmark, this will allow you to set a price. This will help you get what you want, it will never go down well refusing a pay-rise because it was not good enough, so set expectations early and clearly.
  2. Write down a list of your roles responsibilities and review whether you fulfil them all to the best of your ability, also take note of any thing you do above and beyond that helps the company commercially. This will help build a solid foundation for a case of what you are worth.
  3. Gather some ideas on how you can take on some more responsibility in return for a higher wage, this shows the employer they will be getting something in return. This includes anything you are already doing above and beyond.
  4. Remember your value is not just in your skill but your attitude and approach. Someone that is good at learning and picking up new things with a positive attitude is normally worth more than someone who is an expert in their field with a bad attitude.

There are also some things you should avoid

  1. Don't compare yourself to the people around you during any salary negotiation. You want to make it about you and what you can do for the employer.
  2. Try and not moan this will make any conversation about the problems rather than the positives you provide in your role.

If the above did not work, then talk to your manager about putting together a personal development plan and organise regular meeting to get feedback, this will allow you to work on the areas the you might not be as good at. It also allows you both to track progress and make your contributions, attitude and effort more noticed. Don't make this all about the things you are not so good at, make plans for things you want to learn and improve. Try and find a commercial project, and agree on a salary increase if you complete it on time and on budget.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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jwp profile image
John Peters

Unfortunately, the best way to get a raise is to take another job somewhere else.

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raguay profile image
Richard Guay

The company I work for, TutsPlus.com, is going to have a video on YouTube about this topic that is great. When live, you can view it here: youtube.com/watch?v=A3wbKxrBkuk