If salary negotiation were easy, a Google Book search wouldn't turn up 274,000 results on the topic. But last year's Great Resignation has turned into what some call the Great Renegotiation, as record-high quit rates and a tight job market are causing employers to reimagine their retention methods.
If you've been thinking about asking for a salary increase or additional perks at your current job, you may not have to wait until your next performance review. Now might be the time to strike.
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Pick an Appropriate Time
A 2021 WTW (Willis Towers Watson) survey reported that many U.S. companies are budgeting for pay raises in 2022. But if your company is still struggling with layoffs, you'll want to keep that in mind when timing your ask.
In terms of timing, staffing and recruiting company Kelly Services recommends seizing the moment when you've accomplished something notable and being mindful of your supervisor's bandwidth and stress level.
While you are waiting for the right moment, you can build your case and do your research.
Consider also: How Will the Big Quit Affect Your Career Plans?
Know Your Market Value
To ask for a pay raise, you need to know what salary range you are after. Do salary research both inside and outside your company. Not all organizations are transparent about pay scales and salary data, and you don't want to go around quizzing coworkers on their current salaries. There are other ways to find out your market value.
Glassdoor has a "Know Your Worth" feature on its website. You enter your current job title and city to determine the estimated and projected pay for your role. Indeed Salaries and Salary.com offer similar tools.
If you find that a higher salary is being offered for what you do, weigh that pay scale with the new responsibilities you've undertaken as well as your years of experience, recent accomplishments and positive feedback you've received at performance reviews. Come up with a number.
These are things your human resources department will want to know when considering your request. Have a specific salary range in mind and evidence of your excellent work.
Know Your Organization
To strengthen the argument that you are a valuable and engaged contributor to your organization, let your knowledge of the company be known. Be familiar with the goals and strategy of your company and find connections between your work and the organizational mission.
If you are willing and able to take on additional responsibilities, know what those are and choose things that align well with your company's current issues and initiatives.
When you are invested and engaged in your organization, it goes a long way – especially in a tight job market when employers want to hold on to the talent on their teams.
Practice Your Pitch
Think of asking for a raise like going through a job interview. When applying for a new job, you tally your accomplishments and explain why you are a great fit. You also get familiar with the organization and its mission. And, just as you do a mock interview to land that job offer, you should run through your pitch for a raise.
Prepare for potential excuses or rejection. Imagine hearing that a salary increase isn't in the budget this fiscal year. Have a follow-up response ready. Maybe you can negotiate more vacation time, schedule flexibility, remote work or an improved workspace.
Suppose it's not the right time for more money or perks, and you plan to stay with this employer. In that case, you might want to work with your supervisor or human resources department to design a plan for advancement down the road that includes a timeline and an eventual pay raise.
Consider also: 5 Musts When Preparing for an Interview
To ask for a pay raise, you need to know what salary range you are after.
Negotiate, Don't Give Ultimatums
Asking for a pay increase or job promotion isn't about giving your boss an ultimatum. Salary negotiation, like all types of negotiations, is an art. This doesn't mean you need to be a professional negotiator, but that you need to be artful and professional in your approach.
Raise negotiation is a transaction and needs to be kept professional. In most cases, it's not recommended to get into the personal reasons you need a raise but stick to the professional reasons about why you deserve one.
Getting comfortable and confident with negotiations that impact your career will pay off in the long run. According to career advice from Harvard Law School, even the smallest salary increase now can impact your earnings exponentially over a lifetime.
Consider also: What Is the Difference Between Salary & Remuneration?
- Monster: Seven Tips for Using Salary Survey Data to Negotiate a Raise
- Flexjobs: Remote and Flexible Work Are Key Factors in Compensation Packages
- WTW (Willis Towers Watson): U.S. employers ‘again’ boosting 2022 pay raises, WTW survey finds
- Harvard Law School: Salary Negotiation: How to Ask for a Higher Salary
- Inside Higher Ed: Worth vs. Value in Job Negotiations
- NPR: How to Ask for a Raise: Know Your Value (and bring the evidence)