Of course, at this point in my life, the biggest source of income for me is my salary. While I’m actively trying to diversify my source of revenue, I can’t ignore the fact that an overwhelming amount of my income comes from selling my skills and labor. So in order to increase my income, I have to increase my salary as well. The two options I have are to negotiate for a salary increase on my next performance review, and to apply to jobs outside of my company in the hopes of landing a better job with a higher pay and comparable or better benefits. These two are not mutually exclusive. I think people should ask for a raise even if they’re planning to leave the company within the short term. Here’s why:
- Practice makes perfect– The salary negotiation is probably one of the most awkward conversations you’ll have with whoever’s on the other end. For me it feels really awkward because I feel like I’m being arrogant or entitled when I request additional pay. I also feel like I’m antagonizing my boss by asking for more. I know this is a sentiment that many people have and have to get over because nothing can be further from the truth. Companies start their salary negotiation from the lowest end of their pay range for that position. Which means that they have room to move up if you ask for it. But they’re not going to give it to you out of the kindness of their heart. So why not practice making a case for why you should be paid more by asking for a raise? I’m not saying that you should be relentless and bothersome by asking without being prepared to defend the amount you request. Don’t bring it up every time you get some one on one time with your boss. Limit it to conversations related to your performance/accomplishments. But do your best to normalize this conversation in your mind by figuring out the best way to make your case and maybe, succeeding in getting an increase. Practicing in real life situations will help you workout the jitters, build your self confidence, and learn to see yourself as the desired employee the company would be lucky to have.
- You’ll determine what your skills/experience is worth ahead of time –Asking for a practical raise requires a lot of research. In order to ask and receive the salary raise you request, you need to know the salary range for your current position, determine where on that salary range your experience/education lands you (little to no experience being paid towards the lower end and progressing upward to the higher end of the salary range as your experience and skill set grow) and provide comparisons in other companies for the same position you currently occupy. You probably have access to this information on whatever payroll service your company is enrolled in. If not, get in touch with your HR specialist and ask for it. You should also look on sites such as Payscale, Glassdoor, and Salary.com. Salary.com actually has a salary wizard with thousands of jobs and their pay ranges listed so you can compare yours pretty accurately. This research is essentially what you need to do when you negotiate your salary for a new position. So even if you’re denied it based on whatever reason your current employer provides, you can utilize that research when you’re in talks with another company. Having data that backs the amount you request is critical to getting what you are asking for. Knowing this information in advance will mean the difference of thousands of dollars in salary and benefits.
- It increases the chance of you getting a higher salary when you leave– If you ask for a raise and your request is granted, you’ll have a higher spring board to propel yourself from. If you’re looking to make a lateral move (get into a similar position in a different company/department) you can make the case that the new salary you negotiated for your current position should at least be matched if not exceeded by the new position you’re taking on. If you’re applying for a higher position you can factor in the higher amount you recently negotiated as a point of reference and make the case that you should be paid 15-20% more than that amount. You should not be asked to take on the learning curve as well as other costs of taking a new role without being adequately compensated. And when you ask for a raise ahead of time, you put yourself in a better position to make more money. The higher the number you start from the higher your new salary will be.