For the first time ever, the average US tech salary hit six figures in 2022 after experiencing a 7% increase year over year. Yet almost half of those working in the sector, 48% to be exact, say that they still feel underpaid and overworked. So what can you do if you’ve yet to feel the benefit of the sector salary increase? Ask, and get, a pay rise. Being paid what you’re worth is as much about tactics and argument as it is about ability.
Here are five ways to ask for, and get, a pay rise.
Do Your Homework
If you left your company and took a job at a competitor right now, what would your starting salary be? There are plenty of online resources that can help you find the average wage for your sector, and the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has an online database that contains the annual mean wage for over 800 occupations.
However, when doing research on your market value be sure to look at and include factors such as experience and education levels, geographical locations and the sector norm. A colleague may have jumped ship and experienced a huge pay bump, but did they have specialist knowledge that was of value to a competitor? Had they recently completed a project your company had pitched for? Similarly, have you done any of those things? If you have, then your market value will increase. Be realistic here.
Choose Your Timing
If you want to convince your boss that you deserve a higher salary, choose your timing well, and do your calculations. Asking for a raise should be done when a project has been successfully completed, when you’ve brought a task in under budget, or when you’ve secured a big deal for the organization. In other words, when you can directly track your contribution to a financial figure. It’s easier to ask for a 10% pay increase when you’ve made or saved the company a similar amount.
Keep It Professional
You may get on great with your boss and socialize together outside of working hours, but when it comes to requesting a salary increase you need to keep it both professional and calm. You are not entitled to a raise because your rent went up or your car broke down, and including personal reasons in your argument makes it easier to turn down.
When making the argument for why you deserve a raise, have a list of prepared talking points each of which are rational, truthful and can be backed up by facts. Also keep your comparisons factual and work-based. Sure, you might work harder than Susan in accounts, but if you don’t do the same daily tasks as her it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Keep it professional and keep it calm.
Think Of No As A Starting Off Point
Okay, so you can’t get a salary increase right now, but is there any other way your overall compensation package could be improved?
Maybe your company can’t increase your financial compensation, but they can increase the contribution they make to your 401K? Maybe they can offer additional paid time off throughout the year. Take time to examine any offers or increases that can be made and look to see how it will impact your personal bottom line. Additional PTO could help to reduce childcare or commuting costs which will increase your disposable income,
Think of no as a jumping off point for negotiations. You can’t offer me more money, so let’s look at other alternatives that will make me feel valued, and less likely to look for an alternative offer elsewhere.
Don’t Make Threats
Especially if you can’t see them through. If you already have an offer from a competitor be careful how you use it. The majority of companies don’t respond well to threats or ultimatums, so if you want to use another offer as leverage do so with tact and care. Explain you have received another offer but are happy with your current role and would like to know if anything can be done to match it.
Be Prepared To Resign
And if, after all your hard work, research and rational arguments your company refuses to alter your package then you may need to resign. This is not reacting out of pettiness and it’s not something you do immediately after your request is declined but if an employer is unable or unwilling to acknowledge your market value and benefits you bring to the company is it the right fit for you?
You know what you’re worth, and what value you can bring to an employer, so take that information and find your dream job.
This article was written by Aisling O’Toole and is part of a collaboration between NextPit and Jobbio. Find out more about the partnership between NextPit and Jobbio here.