January 7, 2019

The Right Way to Ask for More Money

By ThinkingAhead

Have you fallen behind the market value? If so, here’s a fix.

Over the last several months, we have had a lot of conversations with candidates where money is the main motivator for making a career move.  As a recruiter, honestly this can be a little frustrating, leading to you simply getting a raise at your current organization!  With that being said, some folks really are being underpaid and compensated for less than their current value.

Compensation ranges have increased dramatically over the past few years, and the market is STILL competitive.  The easiest way to compete is on price.  For example, if someone leaves their organization today, the current economy dictates a 10-15% increase in base salary for their replacement.  So, at any given moment, someone can feel 10-15% underpaid.  These are the realities.  Ask yourself, “Should 10-15% be the factor that makes me leave a great situation?” Coming from a recruiter this might sound weird, but we don’t think you always should.  Now, if you have a poor work environment, terrible commute that’s affecting your work/life balance, an awful boss, or no room for professional growth, then it’s time to go! But, if that’s not the case and you’d like to stay, you do not have to continue to fall behind the fair market value in regards to your compensation.

Now how to stay current?  A common misconception is that the only time to negotiate salary is at the acceptance of a new job or position.  Instead, use your yearly performance review as a time to discuss your salary.  Instead of just accepting the 2-3% annual raise, make a case for more.

  • Reiterate your desire to stay with the company.
  • Remind them of your above-average performance – assuming it is!
  • Express your happiness with the team, company, and boss.
  • Tell them why you are glad to be with them.

After you’ve shown the deeper reasons you would like to stay, share with them the market trends.  Show them where the market is and where you are currently.  Highlight the discrepancies, and ask for an opportunity to make them congruent.  Be polite, and be willing to help them solve this problem with you.  Remember, this is a negotiation.  If the response is that there is no budget, and they’ve done the best they could for you, keep in mind that you do not have to accept their first offer.  They don’t have a budget for a counter offer, but WILL if you threaten to leave and are a valued employee.  It’s not in their budget to find, recruit, hire, and train your replacement either.  But, somehow they will have to find it if you leave tomorrow. You are providing a solution today, to avoid a more costly problem for them tomorrow.

On the other hand, if the answer is no, accept it; applaud them for their efforts; appreciate their efforts on your behalf…and then call us.  No…kidding…mostly.  Ask again in 6 months or the following year.  If the answer is still no…then you need to reevaluate – is this the place for you? But remember, you will never (or almost never) get what you don’t ask for.  It’s not always their job to keep your salary current with the market…it’s yours.