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 Post subject: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:19 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:29 pm
Posts: 1562
Location: Seattle, WA
A friend (no, really) overheard a conversation at work where he learned two things:
  • (At least one person) thinks he is "all about the money" because of the previous time(s) he asked for a raise.
  • They are hiring a new employee for the same role as he, with less experience (and obviously less tenure) at a 10% higher salary.

He really likes his job/coworkers/etc and says that if he couldn't get a raise, he would probably stay there anyways. But (me speaking) at some point, getting a lower salary than someone junior to you has to start feeling insulting. And of course, he has financial goals and a responsibility to his family, and all the other reasons that asking for a raise does not mean a person is "all about the money."

The time(s) I faced a similar situation, I just found a different job. But in those cases I didn't like the job as much as my friend likes his.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:46 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1569
Seniority isn't all there is to compensation. At some point, experience starts to matter less. A person with 6 years of experience isn't really all that different from a person with 3 years of experience in some jobs. When that happens, sometimes a new person with less experience will bring a different skill set to the same job, or have more experience in a technical qualification that the company in transitioning to.

Bottom line: it's not necessarily an insult.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:41 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:05 pm
Posts: 1274
I also think it depends strongly on the type of work and the sector. Plus, if someone's been working at a place for a long time and just getting periodic cost of living and merit increases, their salary may not have kept up with industry standards for that position; to attract a new person they might have to offer that person a more competitive salary. Frankly I think your friend's best justification for a raise would be to see if his salary is still competitive in the industry and if not I think he'd have grounds to ask for one. Asking for a raise because you have financial goals and a family to support doesn't usually cut it; the company needs to understand why it should give you a raise, not why you need one.

In some fields, experience matters a lot; I work in a field where someone with a bachelor's degree and 25 years of experience can and does earn more than someone with both an MBA and a PhD but only 10 years of experience. But it doesn't work that way in every field so it's hard to generalize.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:29 pm
Posts: 1562
Location: Seattle, WA
True enough. So how does one break that cycle? Or is it a (mostly) inevitable side effect of the inertia of employees?


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:30 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:05 pm
Posts: 1274
Good question. From the company's standpoint of course there's no reason to give someone more money if they seem to be willing to stick around for less. It's probably safe to say that many people are unaware of what the "industry standard" salary is for their type of position unless they're monitoring the job ads regularly. If an employee sees that they could get 10% more elsewhere they could bring the ad to their employer and ask for price-matching. If the employee's worth enough to the company they should cough up the extra dough. If not, they won't. I think in a case like this if the company refuses it's a signal to the employee that they wouldn't be missed if they jumped ship.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:52 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 810
There are also salary surveys. But, the important thing is to make a case WHY you should be paid over what the survey says as average. Also, you have to look at things from the perspective of the employer. will your boss go to bat for you to keep you if you quit? There is a cost to loosing an employee. This also represents risk. Perhaps they get someone better than the employee they just lost. Perhaps they get someone much much crappier. Who knows. We all like to think the interview process tells a lot about a person, but it doesn't and many people interview well, but can't walk the talk.

Personally, I would get your friend to pull a salary survey (may have to pay a few bucks for it). Then take it into their boss and have a good 4 or 5 examples* of what they have done and make their case for why they deserve to be paid above average. Preface it with, "I really enjoy working here, but I've got a family to think about..." etc etc.

It's a lot easier to talk about it than do it. At the end of the day, while I've had success asking, I prefer to just jump ship. I'm working a move right now that would bump me up about $60k in total comp + a company vehicle. We'll see how it all plays out, but I'd be laughed at if I asked for that kind of bump in comp from my current company.

*The examples should NOT be, "I did x and I did y." It should be, "I did x and that generated $xxx,xxx,xxx,xxx,xxx value for the company." In essence, point out the value your achievements have created, not just the achievements.

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"If you only have 1 year to live, move to Penn...as it will seem like an eternity."


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:18 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:38 pm
Posts: 78
Some observations and my .02:

Based on your description, I get the sense that your friend is not very ambitious. He may be someone who does his job fine, but doesn't seek to do more for the company or grow beyond his current role. There's nothing wrong with that, but he shouldn't expect to get significant raises. Compensation is about potential as well as performance.

"I have a family" should not enter into the conversation about a raise. Merit increases are about what you've done to benefit the company. Saving them time or money, increasing revenue, moving the needle on customer satisfaction, employee morale, PR, new markets, etc. Come armed with solid examples as well as knowledge of your going rate (right now) in the market. Also be ready to negotiate for other benefits if the salary offer is still too low. An extra week paid vacation, more stock, an MBA paid for by your company, etc.

If they won't meet any of your needs, you should start looking.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:35 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 810
Cely wrote:

"I have a family" should not enter into the conversation about a raise.


I sort of agree, but disagree at the same time. I don't think having a family should be the reason you get a raise, but it can be a good way to connect and have others understand it is the reason you are ASKING for a raise. Especially when others may already think you are greedy guts to begin with. JMO.

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"If you only have 1 year to live, move to Penn...as it will seem like an eternity."


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:44 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:29 pm
Posts: 1562
Location: Seattle, WA
Cely wrote:
Based on your description, I get the sense that your friend is not very ambitious.


Hehe, now I know what it's like to have message board regulars make assumptions and (arguably) insults. Do keep in mind that I wrote the post, not my friend, so the words are my own.

Cely wrote:
Compensation is about potential as well as performance.


I think that's only true for outside hires (which is perhaps part of the reason this kind of situation comes up). In my experience, more often than not someone internal has to prove their worth BEFORE they get a raise.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:54 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:05 pm
Posts: 1274
stannius wrote:
I think that's only true for outside hires (which is perhaps part of the reason this kind of situation comes up). In my experience, more often than not someone internal has to prove their worth BEFORE they get a raise.


True to an extent, but I think a raise says two things: 1) we like what you've done so far, and 2) we think you have the potential to bring good value to our company, so we'll give you more money as an incentive for you to stay here.

If a raise was only about "we like what you've done," you could send the same message more cheaply with a bonus, which is a reward for a job well done. Instead, a raise is a bigger commitment -- it's saying we think you're worth more to us than what we've been paying you.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:46 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:38 pm
Posts: 78
At my current company, employees are rated on performance (low, medium, high) and potential (at, some, high). Bonuses go to high performers. Raises (above cost-of-living increases) go to high performers/some or high potential. But high potential implies that you are proving your worth; you're not only great at your job, you're proving you can do more.

However, it hasn't worked this way at some of my past jobs.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:46 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
I think what your friend needs to do, unless he is ready to walk, is prepare for his next annual evaluation. I think most companies do this, and if they don't they should be. He should prepare for the next one by recording what he does above and beyond, what skills he's learned, also pulling what are comps for his job and relevant job skills/experiences that make him at that level or above.
So for his next evaluation put his best foot forward, bring that aboard and request that his payrate be more aligned with this. And he can even say, he values working with this company, feels he is a good fit and understands the company's objectives, etc.
If it is during a typical evaluation, rather than as a stand alone meeting, it won't come off as money grubbing or some kind of ultimatum but more opening up a conversation about it.
I'm not the best about how to frame it all, but maybe others can chime in.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:59 pm
Posts: 21
Location: India
It is not about how much years you have worked in a field, rather it is about how much you have learnt from being in that profession for so long, a person with a good knowledge may or may not have an experience but, due to his knowledge he can get more pays than the seniors to him in a new organisation.
There is nothing about feeling insulted in any case if the salary of yours is less than the new joinee.
All of us at a certain stage face a need to expect to get a raise from the company we are working for many years, it is natural, but if the company values money more than the employee, it may always try to drag the employee to the lowest of the pay possible for them, but if the company respects the member and his work and contribution, then pay-check may not be one of the problems for the company.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:10 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:31 pm
Posts: 405
Ill preface by saying I might not be the best person to ask. I've gotten raises at work, but I generally have had contentious relationships with managers and higher ups at the companies I work for.

I have demanded a raise once, been offered a pretty big raise once, and jumped ship a couple of times.

The first thing is to know what kind of financial situation your company is in. If your company just made record profits, thats important to know. If they are on the brink of bankruptcy, also important. The better off the company is, the more likely you are to be heard out by a manager. It sounds like it cant be that bad if they are hiring new people and giving them nice starting salaries. Remember, though, its 1000 times easier to negotiate higher starting salary than it is to get a raise. Ridiculous, but true.

I would suggest your friend evaluate his own performance relative to his peers, and be honest and truthful. How hard would it be to replace him? Being well liked and moderately productive isnt enough to merit more than a COLA. Does he consistently get high marks in his evaluations? If so, then he should walk in tomorrow and demand a raise. More likely, he is probably seen as an average worker who is relatively well liked, but not seen as all that important. If thats the case, then he might need to jump ship to make more money.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting a raise
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:06 pm
Posts: 81
Well, in my company, it's not *that* uncommon for salaries to get out of line temporarily with annual raises. However, once the promotions kick in (i.e. big, non-normal raise), everything gets rebalanced to where it should be. If your company is like that, wait for the promotion. If not, get the resume ready.


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