you need to ask for more money

When’s the last time you asked for a raise at your job, or negotiated a higher salary when taking a new job? If you’re like a surprising number of people, the answer is never.

I’m frequently startled by how many people confess to me that they’ve never asked an employer for more money. They just … hope their employers pay them fairly because they find negotiating to be too nerve-wracking and they don’t think it’s worth all the anxiety. This makes me want to jump out of my skin, because it almost definitely means they’re leaving significant amounts of money on the table.

I recorded a piece for the BBC about why people don’t negotiate, why they should, and how to do it. It’s four minutes long and you can listen here.

{ 220 comments… read them below }

      1. Fabrica*

        Me three. I am torn between waiting to see if they will pay us more (there are talks happening with higher-ups, but nothing in writing yet) or just jumping ship (requiring me to move out of state) to a higher paid position. *Sigh*

        1. Justme, The OG*

          Luckily the benefits I get are really good. I’ve looked elsewhere and the health insurance alone is enough to keep me here.

          1. The New Wanderer*

            Some of us don’t have a situation where we can up and move, even if it means that our careers will stagnate. Sometimes, it’s just not an option. And I say that as someone who moved to five different states across the US solely for my career when I was capable of doing so.

          2. Frank Doyle*

            First of all, no one said it was “the end of the world,” and secondly, there are SO MANY reasons why moving out of state wouldn’t work for someone. Because their spouse has a job they don’t want to leave, or their kids are in state college getting in-state tuition, or just generally are doing well at their school, or maybe they have parents they need to be near so that they can take care of them, or the parents can take care of the kids. Or maybe they love their friends and community and don’t want to leave. There are like a thousand more legitimate reasons someone wouldn’t want to move a significant distance just to get a pay raise. Jeez.

            1. Inquiring minds*

              But then this poster shouldn’t complain about being underpaid. Mobile people who are willing to move will always have more opportunties than those unwilling to move.

              1. Justme, The OG*

                But they’re still underpaid no matter their ability to move. I don’t get the idea that they shouldn’t complain about their situation.

                1. Inquiring minds*

                  There is a market rate for employees like anything else. If you live in a company town without options, and refuse to move, you’ve pretty much set the market rate. The only real competition for your labor is perhaps fellow employees in a similar job.

              2. Rez123*

                I’m all for telling people to stop complaining if they are not willing to do changes. But I’m not sure moving is in this category. There are so many reasosns why people won’t/can’t move. It’s a bit harsh to say that people who won’t move across the country for a raise leaving their wife and kids shouldn’t complain.

              3. Not everyone can move.*

                I would argue that you have *more* leeway to complain about being underpaid if you currently have no ability to change it.

    1. Angelinha*

      I think this is kind of the point of discussions like this, though. All salaries are “set” and I think it’s very common for employers to say “Sorry, no room for negotiation, this is the salary.” Negotiation happens in spite of that.

      Obviously government positions may be different because there are fixed pay scales (same with some universities, I think?) but you can still negotiate your starting spot among them.

      1. Labradoodle Daddy*

        We’d have to negotiate as a group (we’re receptionists with a USELESS staffing firm), and they’ve already made it clear how little they respect us. It ain’t happening.

      2. Justme, The OG*

        Not always. Positions here are listed with a salary, not a range, and they are literally not negotiable per HR.

        1. Brett*

          Then it is time to leave.

          I had an exit interview at last job where I said, “I believe that this organization needs to be punished for their pay practices, and that punishment is to lose as many good people as possible.”

          1. Labradoodle Daddy*

            That’s what I’m trying to do. If I could afford to quit and job search full time, I would.

            1. Brett*

              Last job was just that bad in how they were treating employees. I still took 3+ years to get out (and probably built up enough animosity in that time to say something like that).

        2. Angelinha*

          Everything’s negotiable, though. Not all negotiations will be successful, of course!! But I think people often refrain from trying to negotiate because the employer or HR says up front that they shouldn’t. (And of course they’d try to discourage it – it saves $$!)

          1. AVP*

            I mean…I get this but sometimes it really is just set and that’s it. At my company we will tell you the salary upfront in the job ad, with the caveat that it’s not negotiable. We go over this again on the phone screen. If people STILL try to negotiate after that I’m just like, did we not go over this?

            I do make sure that this is all very upfront, and we name a number first and no one gets lowballed as penance for being different on this than most companies tho!

            1. Darren*

              But how set are we talking? If you get someone with double the experience you are looking for, who massively impresses you are you still going to try to pay them exactly the same as you would have the person with half the experience?

              The entire point of negotiation of salary is to cover the fact that what someone can bring to the table is worth more than what you initially wanted but you can definitely use what they are going to bring to the table and are willing to pay that extra to cover it.

              My work has pretty strict bands for roles based on levels, and they were looking to fill a role at a specific level which would have had a salary inside a band, but I negotiated more than that band would have allowed when I was hired because I knew I was worth more and stuck to my number during negotiation. In the end my company got the best of it (I was promoted twice in two years because I was constantly outperforming the expectations of the level) and didn’t regret their flexibility on salary.

              1. Rez123*

                In my office the 22 yo that graduated yesterday gets the same pay as the one with 30 years experience. That is what is paid for the position. No matter who does it. Public sector has no room negotion here. Only way is that if everyone goes on strike and then representatives and unions negotiates with the board.

          2. Chocolate lover*

            If it’s not successful though, doesn’t it suggest that it’s not actually negotiable? Sometimes people say it’s not negotiable because it’s really not (though there are plenty of times where that’s not the case, and ultimately it couldn’t hurt to ask.) Our budget it is what is, so while we may have a little wiggle room, it’s not much.

            1. Darren*

              Not necessarily it could just mean that they don’t feel that what you bring to the table is worth more. That doesn’t mean someone else with more experience, or experience in something specific they’d love to have wouldn’t be able to get more money out of them.

      3. Ahead Fish*

        At my university, I managed to get a really good raise (staff position, almost doubled my salary). Here’s the ridiculously convoluted process for how I got it.

        1. Started off with a very under market salary after basically finagling my way into turning my graduate student position into an actual position after I graduated.
        2. I add a significant amount of responsibility to my plate, by essentially speaking up whenever there was a project no one had time for.
        3. Get my boss on my side for a raise , put together a proposal for how much I should be making
        4. Boss goes to grandboss, and there’s general agreement that I deserve a raise but no movement. Wait six months.
        5. Boss manages to get the ear of some higher up executive, and gets me into a meeting where I basically show executive what I can do. And also make myself into a real, physical underpaid person which makes me harder to ignore.
        6. Wait six months. There is an occasional flutter of movement, but nothing solid.
        7. Boss drops hints to higher ups that I might quit at this salary, and that I have a lot of institutional knowledge.
        8. Grandboss and executive decide I indeed need a raise. HR needs the sign off from basically the highest ranked person available, extensive documentation, etc.
        9. I get my raise!

        I’m obviously very happy with the raise. I’m now at the higher side of market rate. But of course, next time I need a raise I’m going to have to go through all this again, so I don’t think I see myself here in the long run. And I basically had to have an incredible boss who can maneuver the giant slow beast that is higher ed like no other.

        1. ket*

          This is inspiring to hear, as I’m trying to do it myself…. but dang, if I have to wait a year for the raise? I could have that and more if I moved out of academia, and much more quickly. Hard to decide.

          1. Ahead Fish*

            Yeah, I stuck with it because the job offers me a lot of flexibility, and my husband can work weird hours. It’s nice to be able to work on his schedule occasionally. I also love the people and the work.

            But yeah, nothing happens quickly. If you have no reason to stay, ditch. Every time I want a raise the whole dance will have to start again.

        2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          Yeah but it shouldn’t have taken a year.

          That’s a year that you worked for a lot less than you’re worth.

          In my working life, I’d give three months max, then start looking, then resign, and then wait for any counter offers. Historically, I’ve learned that these things often can be fixed quickly with a phone call.

          If and only if management truly wants to resolve the problem. There are exceptions – if a company is in TRULY dire straits, then this might be impossible. But you’ll often hear “(parrot squawk) no money in the budget, no money no money” — often there’s an off-budget slush fund for situations like this.

          If the management’s willing to go to the wall for you. And yes, it’s very tiring to have to go through that rigamarole just to get what you deserved and have earned.

    2. Brett*

      Last job had strict rigid rules on salary that made it absolutely set (public sector).
      Until I found out that someone else hired after me with less experience and less education was paid almost double what I was paid.
      Then it was just “well we have discretion when hiring, but raises are suspended”.
      Until I found out (thank you public records) that there was a real process to get raises, but no one above me was willing to go through that process anymore.

      Then I left and got another job.

        1. Brett*

          Last COLA was 1986. Merit raises were suspended in 2007 and slated to be reinstated in 2020 (but they have pushed that back twice before). The only raise I had while I was there was a 2% raise to offset when social security went up 2%. The Great Recession really screwed up local government, and may have changed it permanently.
          (The suspension of COLAs for employees points to a more insidious practice: suspending COLAs for retiree pensions.)

    3. Redshirt*

      Yup, I’m in the same position. For (government) reasons too complicated to describe, my salary is set. There are cost of living increases, but the funder has not approved more money. Period. In fact, the company decided to reduce my caseload because the funder was unwilling to increase program resources. The company that I work for is fantastic, and I’m not sure what other non-financial perks I could negotiate for. The position already offers everything that I could want.

      Other than an Office Cat….I’d love an Office Cat.

    4. Rez123*

      Yep, same. Public sector job. The salary is set and can’t be negotiated. Everyone gets the same pay. The whole department. After 5 years you get 3% raise and after 10 years you get 5%. You can’t negotiate and there is no starting spot salary or anything.

    5. Professional Merchandiser*

      Mine, too. Haven’t had a raise in 6 years. So why do I stay? Merchandising companies as a rule don’t offer paid vacations and paid holidays and this one does, so I stay. I probably won’t be working more than one year anyway, so it’s not worth seeking a change. (Of course, if I got a call out of the blue offering me great money and benefits….) :-)

    6. Old Cynic*

      My second job out office I worked in a small group of 5 customer service reps. I was paid 10% more than the rest on average. Based on speaking with recruiters, I knew we were all underpaid significantly. I tried negotiating because I did really like the job and the company but their response was they get they paid market rate. I made a move for almost a 30% jump. My coworkers, who were mostly older than me by some 20 years, worked there until retirement, at continuing low washes.

    7. Emelle*

      Same. I love my job, I have great coworkers, I have delightful kids I work with, but my salary and steps are set, yay public schools. The private schools pay more, but most of them nearby are religious schools and I am not willing to compromise on who I associate with outside of work for more money. (And I would never get through their screening process to be interviewed )

      1. Brett*

        Some religious schools are better than others about considering teaching over how teachers live their lives.
        One of my neighbors lives quite openly with his same sex partner, and teaches history at a prominent independent Catholic high school. (I think people associated with the school and parents were initially more concerned that his partner is significantly younger than him and they are not married than they were about the same sex aspect.) That would probably be an issue at a archdiocese or diocese school, but at this independent school associated with a specific order, it is not.

  1. anoni*

    Does this still apply if you are given a yearly raise? I work for a non-profit, every year we are given a raise (non-performance based), but my position is still under paid compared to the market rate.

      1. Anon for this one*

        I’ve just made a case for a merit based raise after our fixed 2.5% increase was given in october instead of January. I only found out because there was a note in my payslip about the increase. I hope I didn’t shoot myself in the foot by waiting until after, but I was trying to time it right (as per your advice) and prior to October was NOT good

    1. Aveline*

      My husband works as an executive at a company that gives yearly raises. He tells me that is surprising number of people just take whatever raise they’re given and never negotiate.

      He takes great pains to ensure that he has pay fairness across races an genders. But he always has some discretionary funding left. He hold that back for people who get other offers, but the company needs to keep and for people who make it clear they will only stay of their pay is increasing.

      Also, he tries, but simply can’t be aware of the workload of every employee of their skill set of their ambitions. If someone comes to him and says they were given a set of new responsibilities but no pay increase or they say they need higher pay so they can get a degree useful to the company, etc., there is room in his budget for that.

      1. AnnaBananna*

        And while I can appreciate that, most middle managers in my experience make it ridiculously difficult to meet their expecations of what constitutes worthy of a raise. I say this as someone who was both a first tier manager who went to bat for an incredible team of contributors, and an individual contributor myself. In most instances there were always reasons why the justification used wasn’t worthy enough, even if it’s completely obvious by supporting metrics.

        Unfortunately I have now found that the easiest way to move up/increase pay is to move around in roles, whether that’s internal or external jumps. I really wish it wasn’t like this, but so far my experience hasn’t shown anything else. Maybe it’s a middle-management training issue? Or rather, that the middle managers get to keep the leftover budget so, therefore, their discretion is actually not entirely unbiased? I guess it depends on the company.

      2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        So, in other words, if you’re willing to threaten to quit, you’ll get a better raise.

        Sounds like IS/IT. Often, as I said, in larger organizations there’s an “off budget” slush fund that can be used for situations like this…

        Scenario – Anon-2 wants an increase/promotion, he’s earned it. He takes the plight to his manager. Manager appears to be concerned but humors Anon-2, “well you’ve made a good case, really, but there’s no money in the budget.” So Anon-2 goes, finds a comparable position (more money, too) and brings his notice back. Cites disparity in pay, market value. One of four things is gonna happen.

        1) Boss accepts your resignation and tells you not to let the door hit your rear end on the way out.
        2) Boss tries to negotiate with gee-whiz or maybes, next year, etc. (similar to 1) above). Basically giving the appearance of reconciliation, but he’s not going to do anything for you at this time – and at this time often becomes “well I tried by golly maybe in the future”.
        3) Boss tries to negotiate with you for real, gets on the phone to try to get things done quickly.
        4) Boss pulls out pre-prepared counter-offer and presents it to you on the spot.

  2. Is there an exception?*

    Does this apply when they tell you flat out “Our range is X – Y, are you ok with that?,” you say yes, and they offer you the exact “Y” amount?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If you can point to something you’ve learned about the job since agreeing to that range that warrants more money, you can have that conversation. But if you agreed to a range and they offered the top of it, you’re going to look like you were operating in bad faith if you then say, “no, never mind, I want more.” But one way around that is that when they first ask about that range, you can avoid committing to solid numbers by saying something like “I think we’re in the same ballpark.”

      1. 1.5 years til Retirement*

        When I started here they asked for me to pick what salary range (A, B, C, D) I was looking for. I was currently being paid in C, but picked B.
        After two interviews they offered me the job and I told them that B was not enough, I needed C and I needed more vacation (I had had 5 weeks and they were offering 3, I asked for 4)
        They wanted to know why I had said B. I told them that during my interviewing and research since filling out the form I had learned that my skills were worth C and they gave it to me. Gave me the extra vacation too.
        I knew I had a rare combination of education and skills and they were looking for exactly that, so I was very sure they would not want to lose me over a few thousand dollars

        1. AnnaBananna*

          But I still don’t understand why you said B in the first place. Didn’t you already know you were worth C? Or was that only after you did the research?

    2. Nope.*

      I’m currently in negotiations, and I’m in that situation. I felt license to ask for more than I originally agreed to because the retirement is demonstrably worse than what I currently have. I’ve been making a point to differentiate between “salary” and “total compensation” each time I talk to HR.

  3. LSP*

    I’ve worked almost my whole career in government jobs, where raises were either put on hold due to budget issues, or could only be achieved via an unfair civil service system that did not take into account merit.

    I am now 3.5 years into a private sector job, and while my pay is considerably more than it was previously, I have researched and found I am being paid about $10k below average for my experience in my part of the country, so this year during my evaluation, I am going to be asking for a raise. I don’t expect them to jump up $10k all at once, but previous years I’ve received only the standard company-wide raise, which has been lower than cost of living increases.

    I’m a little anxious to be sure, but I also know that my work has contributed to to company getting additional contracts, so I am a valuable employee. wish me luck!

    1. Is pumpkin a vegetable?*

      I did this, and it worked. Just go in with confidence, and armed with facts! Good luck!

    2. SarahKay*

      LSP, apologies if you’ve already thought of this, but it may be worth checking with your manager how pay rises are tied into evaluations, particularly with respect to timings. (Assuming you feel your relationship with your manager allows for this, of course.)

      At my company the budget is given to the site and managers agree in advance where/who it’s going to. After that they give the annual eval and tell people what their raise will be that year, all in the same discussion. If someone thinks that a significant part of their job has been under-valued, it’s basically too late for that year. Ideally if someone is being badly underpaid they need to discuss with their manager a month or so before the formal evaluation is given. Well, actually, ideally if someone is being badly underpaid their manager has already spotted this and has included a ‘market-value’ pay-rise in the plans already, but some managers are not good at this….

      1. LSP*

        Thanks. I’ve actually spoken to the HR Director about this. I work in a very small office, so it’s easy to have these kinds of informal discussions. The HR rep said that raises are tied to the budget, but are not decided until after evaluations are complete. Most of the time, however, discussions with managers on evals take place after raises are already set (which is ridiculous, IMO). I will be meeting with my manager early, due to her taking an extended vacation, so it gives me an opportunity to get this plug in. I honestly don’t think most managers at my company have a clear idea of what their staff are being paid, and that it’s all dealt with at the corporate level.

    3. Brett*

      You might be surprised. I made it clear early on at new job that my pay history was affected by bad practices in my public sector job (very much like what you describe).
      My boss pushed that I needed to be paid on my performance, not my previous pay, and I was pushed to an above market salary.

  4. Amber Rose*

    It’s been a while since I asked, but that’s because I have reason to believe my boss thinks I do nothing all day and doesn’t think I’m worth more.

    That said, I’m reasonably well paid and I get 2 bonuses a year so I don’t stress about it.

    1. Abbey*

      Yes, same for me, so it seems. I feel like it’s the field I’m in. As an editor, I’m often made to feel “lucky” I even have a job at all.

    2. Hope*

      Same. There is zero chance of ever being able to negotiate a raise. It’s a good year if we get 1% for cost of living (which we did not get this year, and have already been told we won’t get next year).

      1. statey*

        Yeah, this. No cost of living this year, either. Not saying there aren’t plenty of good perks, there are, but… cost of living will go up regardless of if salary does.

      2. Inquiring minds*

        Is someone forcing you to stay in these jobs? The economy is good amd if you are underpaid and they won’t budge you should leave.

    3. Brett*

      I suggest looking for the public records of employee salaries for the state. Odds are someone has it published (like the main newspaper in the state capital).
      You might find it shocking how wide the pay ranges are. Those differences are almost certainly from negotiation and not just from experience/seniority bands.

      1. Hope*

        Oh, I’ve done this. And most of the pay differences that I know of are from negotiation that happened when the job was initially offered, not negotiation that happened once someone got in the job. Once you’re in, you’re stuck unless you change jobs or are lucky enough to be in a position that allows for advancement.

        1. Brett*

          That is sadly common for state and local jobs.
          There normally _is_ a procedure for out of band raises, but it is so difficult that it takes a really motivated department head to get through it.
          But yeah, the negotiation has to happen when you sign on. Lateral transfers are one way around this though.

    4. clunker*

      Is it possible to make an argument for a change to the pay range for a given job? I’ve known social workers who have been successful negotiating for the entire pay scale for social workers to be adjusted using evidence about market rate being much higher, with the reasoning being “this will help us keep our most valuable workers and attract good candidates when we have openings”. To be fair, this was a once-in-twelve-years event which involved a lot of research about how people with the same licensure/experience were being paid in other openings in the same location. (I believe there were other gov positions with much higher salaries in the same city while also being eligible for student loan repayment, while this location was not).
      I have to admit, I don’t know the details about that negotiation, but I think it was following an unusually long job search where they had a very hard time finding someone willing to take the salary.

  5. Abbey*

    Every time I’ve asked for more money, I’ve been turned down. When hired for a new job, at reviews, etc. Nothing’s worked. I’m always told it’s because the department is underfunded, they’re a nonprofit, etc. I find it horribly depressing and feel like it’s not worth the effort anymore.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      It might be time to reconsider the places you apply to. It might be difficult because of whatever type of work you do, but if making more money is important to you (and that’s totally normal!) you could focus your next application efforts on profitable companies (Fortune 500 and such) and consider how to work in more traditionally profitable departments.

      1. Green*

        Lolololol though. Many Fortune 500 companies have stripped bosses of being able to give raises without degrading and a million people from HR signing off. I asked for one earlier this year, my bosses were supportive, and HR said that according to their calculations my salary was “correct” for my position and years of experience. No mention, of course, of my disproportionate contribution…

        1. Inquiring minds*

          Again, if HR is “incorrect”, what’s stopping you from applying to positions where you are paid more?

    2. Who the eff is Hank?*

      Same here. I think this might be par for the course with nonprofits. My current company operates in the black but still tries to keep costs as low as possible. We get our 2% COL every year but that’s that. No one gets penalized for asking for a raise, but we all know the answer already.

    3. School Inclusion Specialist*

      I worked at a charter school early in my career. I was talking to someone I viewed as a mentor about salary. He said if I asked for more money, I’d be taking money away from the kids. I never understood that statement because (1) we didn’t pay the kids, (2) teachers don’t trade time for good feelings, no matter what our culture says and (3) paying the value of an experienced teacher is worth it. No wonder the school had a lot of early career teachers. They didn’t want to pay more and clearly placed little value on experience.

      1. Backroads*

        This isn’t unheard of in education. Some teachers really are martyrs and think teachers ought to be volunteers.

  6. NerdyKris*

    I was out of work for a year and took a low pay contract position that was essentially “we just need someone who can pass a drug test and run through a computer setup checklist”. After four months, they talked about how they wanted me on full time, but couldn’t this year. I asked if it was possible to renegotiate my salary with the temp agency, and they did!

    I got a nearly 25% raise to hold me over until the following fiscal year.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      Yeah, I mean back in 2009-10 it was hard to get pay equal to what I got before and I had to suck it up for a couple of years to survive. But never let that stop you from getting what you’re worth when things turn for the better.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      This. We had to cut hours for a few employees and aren’t replacing some who left. And we know that our pay is at the low end for what we do.

      I’m not sure where else I would look but I’m starting to resent nonprofits.

      1. BurnOutCandidate*

        This sounds like my job this year — no pay raises this year (maybe in April, 30 months since the last), not replacing people who leave — and we’re definitely not a non-profit. Hell, one of the jokes in the office is, “Non-profits pay better.”

    2. Please, sir may i have more money?*

      Yeah… last time i was able to negotiate a raise benefits were removed on the DL. Which actually made me less compensated.

      Then they cut my hours. This continued, less benefits, less hours, less ideal days off every year i was there. It was not a coincidence that this only started after our HR person died and they didnt replace her. She really busted her ass to get us amazing benefits. 401ks for part time at a non profit museum! Too bad my pay plus student loans didnt allow me to contribute.

      The president was especially tone deaf and would complain furing bad weather she couldnt drive her convertible sports car to work. I literally ate rice and beans for my typical meal and a coworker collected cand for scrap.

      But hey, it was 2009 and i should feel licky i have a job!

  7. Mythea*

    What are the best places to find salary ranges – It is hard to know what to ask for if you don’t know what others are making

    1. Zombeyonce*

      While Glassdoor might have some insight, I’ve found it to be pretty far off in certain areas. What does seem to be useful is actual data from the government: It’s been accurate for me so far, and it’s filterable by location.

  8. Girl from the North Country*

    When I started my job, I negotiated and got a slightly higher salary, and I think I’m paid a fair market rate. However, the hours are much longer than what they led me to believe, which makes my salary much lower when you look at it from that angle. I want to bring this up before for my year-end review, but it’s difficult since I’m also going to be transitioning into a new role before the end of the year, and I don’t know what the hours will look like then. Should I wait and possibly miss my chance, or bring it up now even if it might not be as relevant later?

    1. Rocinante*

      Do it before your new role starts. Ideally your bosses should be taking account your compensation when moving you into the new role, but if they aren’t this will bring that up. Plus, a new salary is a lot easier for your managers to justify (to HR or upper management) when you’re taking on new work.

  9. Hyacinth Bucket (Pronounced Bouquet!)*

    I’m very early in my career, so I feel like I don’t have a lot to negotiate with. I have three years of experience and am halfway through my law degree, but I’m not near the top of my class. How do I negotiate a higher offer when I don’t feel like I’m qualified?

    1. BRR*

      For an offer, often times you just need to ask if they can go higher. I know it feels like there should be more to it but it’s really just asking. I think for a raise you might have to provide a little more but for an offer just ask.

  10. dreamingofthebeach*

    Before this role, I would never have asked for a raise outside of “normal” processes…but I came into something broken, replacing someone years in role that should have been out most of those years, and I documented impacts of what I was implementing – whether to bottom line, savings from risk of fines for compliance misses, income gneerators, improvements to processes now in place, etc — and then I looked at both my industry and others with similar titles or roles, determined value of role in market, and then I asked. I asked one time in earnest, with my documentation, and got the raise.

    Then, I was requested to do a similar study for other departments, and upon completion, my boss actually came back and gave me another one as they felt I was still not at market value. In between those, I still got the “normal” process merit increase as well.

    I know I am very lucky to be in this role for this company at this specific time…but I would tell anyone – document value, detail impact, determine market and ask. Worse that happens is they say no, but they understand better afterwards what you provide them…and what they could potentially lose if someone else sees the value in you.

    1. Not Gary, Gareth*

      Genuine question here, not rhetorical: How does one calculate value to the company when the work you’re doing is in the vein of customer service?

      This is something I’ve struggled with for a long time, and I admit I’m getting jaded and bitter about it. It seems impossible (or at least, implausible) to attach a real dollar value to things like customer satisfaction and retention. It’s one of those ‘invisible’ contributions where the best sign that it’s being done well is that no one notices it. After all, a customer who has a bad experience will tell ten people – a customer who has a good experience might tell one.

      Which, in turn, seems inevitably to lead to the attitude that the customer service department is expendable, does nothing, and could be staffed by anyone with a pulse. I’ve been flat-out told to demonstrate my value in order to get a raise, and the best I can come up with is “See what happens if I leave.” (That answer hasn’t been given out loud…. yet…)

      Any recommendations?

      1. zaracat*

        Perhaps look at it from the point of view of what those satisfied customers are spending with your company, versus what they could be spending instead with a competitor if they are dissatisfied.

      2. Elfie*

        What about if work in a support function, like IT (totally a cost centre?). And your job is trying to convince the company to spend more money to do things properly, not less money to just get it done quickly? Nobody keeps statistics on how much money we spend doing things twice, or undoing things later on, and even then, you’ve already spent that money so all you can do is predict how much money you may save in future – which then won’t be attributed to you, it’ll be attributed to the project manager who delivers the project, not the guy who designed the solution – no, I’m not bitter, why do you ask?!

  11. Dust Bunny*

    I understand that negotiating for raises, etc., is a thing and we all have to do it but it still makes me angry. I’m already doing a good job for you, I shouldn’t have to ask you to compensate me fairly for it, as well.

    1. Toxicnudibranch*

      I’m right there with you. Whether or not fair compensation for labor is given shouldn’t depend on whether an employee has enough “gumption” or negotiating skills to lobby for it.

    2. Lightening*

      Yep, and some of the people providing the most value to a company and society (scientists, engineers) are usually not that great at negotiating and many of them are socially awkward. Also, Dunning-Kruger effect is real. So those that are best at overstating their value end up being paid more and humble, productive people are paid less.
      Thankfully, AAM exists and this article is very valuable. I was so proud of myself when I got a $2/h increase for an offer, even if I ended up turning it down eventually.

    3. Dust Bunny*

      I mean, they know enough about my work to put me through me a performance review, so they bloody well know enough to know when I deserve a raise.

  12. Jessica*

    I recently took a new job, and told them my range was $X-Y/year. They offered me $X, and I asked for $X.Y. The hiring person was VERY taken aback at this request, stammered a lot saying “well, this is what the managers think the job is worth” and then asked if it was a deal breaker. I told her no it was not, and she said “Well, I guess this is what you’re supposed to do.”

    Then she called back the next day and very uncomfortably reiterated the $X/year. I’m OK with this number, but found it odd that she was so surprised that someone would ask for more. This is a large, international firm with thousands of employees–surely people negotiate during the hiring process all the time?

    1. The New Wanderer*

      I got an offer from a large, international company and it was framed as “take it or leave it, you have 24 hours to decide” with no apparent opportunity to negotiate. So, rather than push it I declined, but I think the response from the HR rep would have been similar. The offer itself was pretty good (I would only have asked for a few extra personal days) and if I’d been interested and hadn’t had the unreasonable pressure to respond, I would have accepted after negotiating. But the pressure + attitude turned the yellow interview flags into red flags.

    2. Old Cynic*

      I interviewed at a company once and was told the range was 50-60k. I was fine with it because I earned 45k at the time. The offer came through at 48k because grandboss thought that was enough of a raise for switching jobs. I accepted because I hated my old job but only lasted 364 days before moving on.

  13. anonymousandbored*

    Allison – I would love your opinion on a situation that recently happened at my company:

    My mangers recently proposed making one of us a “lead senior” over a department. This person would take on a lot more responsibility, work wise and hours wise. It was pitched as basically redundancy planning, this person would be equipped to take over for the manager of that department.

    There was an official job description write up, and applications were taken, with interviews, very formalized.

    The problem, they are not giving the person who takes on this role any additional compensation, not even a guarantee of larger annual raises. The last person to be promoted from “senior” to “manager” was a decade ago, and not likely to happen in the near future.

    So essentially, the managers got a lot of interest in this “promotion” but then back peddled, saying there was no money attached. Obviously the interest evaporated, the mangers got mad and one person was strong armed into accepting the role.

    So what do you do when you explicitly ask for more money, get told no, and are still required to take on the “new job”?

    1. pcake*

      I’m not Allison, but it seems to me if you’re basically forced into taking a mandatory new job with no increase in pay, you have two options – take the job with no increase in pay or quit. Or take the new job, start sending out resumes and quit when you have another job.

      1. Yay commenting on AAM!*

        I’d recommend declining the job, then beginning a job search immediately. Because if you’re taking on additional responsibilities at no additional pay, you will not have the time to job search once you accept it. In declining it, you’re essentially passing the trash to someone else who’s less likely to stand up for themselves, but sometimes that has to happen at work.

        1. anonymousandbored*

          +1 this is exactly what I did. I withdrew my candidacy and my work bestie got stuck with the trash.

      2. Autumnheart*

        or option C subsection 1, take the new job, do it for a year, make some accomplishments that look like good resume fodder if possible, then job search with your shiny new experience. But don’t stay in the job forever giving away your additional labor if you don’t have to.

        1. anonymousandbored*

          Yeh – that seems to be what the “winner” has decided to do. The mangers are very obstinate that this is an amazing “opportunity” and seem dumb struck that they didn’t get the reception they anticipated.

  14. NewJobWendy*

    This is timely! I’m soon to under-go my first round of performance reviews at my new job, since I was hired late in 2017. I love my work and I like my company but I definitely want more money! I’ve achieved one of the 2 major goals outlined when I was hired. I have other accomplishments but I’m not sure how to position asking for a large raise (9%) given I haven’t achieved the 2nd goal.

    I received a 5% raise in Q3 because we laid off some staff and their workload was distributed among existing staff, myself included. It was specifically explained the reason for the increase in salary was to match the increase in responsibilities. If I ask for a raise (or a bigger raise than they offer) and they try to counter with “We already gave you one?” am I on firm ground to remind them that was because I’m doing more work, and so it shouldn’t be counted as part of a merit review?

    I think my current salary is fair for the position and the market, but not great. I wouldn’t be asking for a raise that would put my salary above the market, but I’m regularly receiving ads for similar positions paying at or above what I’m looking for.

    I will be completing a degree this year that is directly relevant to my job. (I’m an accountant – in May I will complete my Associates in Accounting, though I already have a BA and an MA in unrelated fields). I also recently completed training on SQL programming, which improves my productivity because I can now complete work independently instead of having to ask co-workers for assistance. (Work paid for the SQL training, but I’ve paid for my degree). Can I include this in reasons I’m now worth more? It was hard to get an accounting job with no degree and no experience, and as of May, I will have both.

    I have asked for a raise before, but that was after a period of going 2 years without a review or raise. It’s not quite the same here – and while I feel my performance is strong, 9% is a huge raise and if pressed why I *deserve* it (as opposed to why I *want* it), I’m not sure if my justifications are strong enough. (I mean, I think they are, but I have to convince management of that).

    1. fposte*

      There are accountants here that will know more, but to me the key isn’t that you finished SQL training/your degree, it’s what people with SQL training/your degree get paid in your field. If people with those qualifications generally get paid much the same as your current rate, then I think it’s a hard sell because you’re being paid at market. If they get paid 10% more than your current rate, then you’re now below market. Basically, if you walked to the firm next door with your current qualifications, what could you get?

  15. Did You See That?*

    I’m currently fighting tooth and nail for a well-deserved raise at work based on my skill set, my workload, other pay in the department, and averages for the area. Despite providing all of this information, it is taking forever and I doubt I’ll get what I asked, even though my market value could be even higher. There are a few reasons I’d like to stay, but this struggle and the reasons behind it (the Big Boss is never there and has no idea what’s going on, my boss takes credit for my work when talking to the Big Boss, etc) have me looking for a new job. I don’t understand why companies fight so hard against paying valuable employees what they are worth.

    1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      Force the issue. The ball is in your court. If there is truly a market in your region for your skills set, go out and find a decent offer and then press for your raise then.

  16. Ok_Go_West*

    I haven’t had a raise in more than two years. Every time I’m gathering up the courage to ask for a raise, there’s some kind of fiscal crisis at my non-profit–like staff being asked to delay recieving their paychecks, or having to put all expenses on our personal credit cards to be reimbursed later because the organization is out of money for the month. My boss’s solution to people wanting to be paid more is to offer them more hours or health insurance since most of us work part-time. I don’t want more hours at low pay because I can make more doing side jobs, and I already have health insurance through my partner. I want to be appreciated for the work I do–I’m responsible for implementing a lot of large grants that are extremely important to our bottom line. Thoughts on asking for a raise even when there’s a constant money squeeze?

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        A+++ when a company starts missing payroll, bail out if you can.

        Forget the altruism. You still have to pay to put gas in your tank, food on the table.

        And at some of these “non-profits” – the guys and gals at the top of the food chain are being taken care of.
        Taken care of VERY well.

        That should not be done by taking food off of your table and out of your kids’ mouths or having you drive on four bald tires.

    1. Ann O'Nemity*

      Same, and I’ve considered leaving because of it. It seems out of touch to negotiate hard when budgets are being cut. But on the other hand, I could make more if I got a new job. Heck, I think if I were applying for my current position as a new external candidate they’d offer me more.

      1. Ann O'Nemity*

        Well, I shouldn’t say “same” because our financial situation isn’t so dire. But we are cutting expenses and unfilling some positions to save money. There’s even talk of cutting one of our bigger programs. But it’s the same in the sense that it’s hard to negotiate when you know your org is struggling.

    2. fposte*

      I have two thoughts. It sounds like you’re worth more money, and the org’s failure to run well shouldn’t keep you from asking for it. But I do think it should make you start looking elsewhere. Asking staff to delay paychecks is HUGE. Either there is something wrong on the accounting side or this is an org with ambition beyond its actual resources.

      1. Autumnheart*

        IIRC (lawyers, please correct me), it’s illegal. And being asked to put business expenses on your personal credit cards is outrageous, if not illegal. A company can’t ask its employees to float its business expenses on employees’ personal bank accounts. The IRS would have a field day with that.

        A company that can’t meet payroll or business expenses is circling the drain. Get out of there.

        1. Aveline*

          Illegal in the states in which I have practice. One of them is a fairly conservative state with respect to labor rights.

          California has very strict rules and punishments in this.

          The Fair Labor Standards Act requires “prompt” payment.There was a case not long ago, I believe it was called Martin, where the federal government was late in paying employees. They invoke this provision and won. The court said that late payment is the same as not being paid.

          1. Aveline*

            Addendum: this was because of the government shut down in 2014. The court said, sorry, not an excuse for late payment.

          2. Aveline*

            Also, this is not to say that it is illlegal in this case. I’m nit an employment lawye and I don’t know where OP lives.

        2. RNL*

          Completely agree, all raise issues aside.

          Think about it this way: employees paying business expenses personally are extending credit (their own, high-interest credit!) to a borrower who apparently can’t, or won’t, qualify for that credit with a bank. RED FLAG RED ALERT NOPE NOPE NOPE.

  17. HailRobonia*

    I heard this advice on the AAM podcast recently. Shortly afterwards one of my colleagues told me he was job-hunting and had an offer but hadn’t accepted yet. I passed along the negotiation advice from the podcast* and later he reported he tried it and was successful!

    *I summarized the advice, but then introduced him to the AAM website and podcast because I am a firm believer in giving credit where it is due.

  18. Random Commenter*

    I’m fairly new at my job. Recently, when discussing difficulties in filling a new role in the team, it went like this:

    Boss: Well it’s hard to fill because we’ve found that people with the level of experience we need are already working and we have a budget about the type of salary they are getting. But in order to switch jobs people are going to want a significant raise, otherwise why switch?
    Me: Hm. Maybe.
    B: What is it?
    M: No, nothing, you’re right. Often people will want higher salary to switch jobs.
    B: No, tell me.
    M: Well I didn’t. I’m earning about as much as I’d be earning if I’d stayed in my previous job. The salary is marginally higher but once you account for all the bonuses and perks and such that I don’t have here, I’m actually losing money in comparison now. But I still made the switch because wanted to get out of there.
    B: Oh. Right, you just wanted to leave. [Pause] Well don’t worry about it, performance reviews are coming up in November [Smile]

    [During performance reviews here, people don’t get bonuses but are informed of their new salaries for the semester. Everyone gets a salary raise because we live in a country with high inflation, but the % is different for each person based mainly on performance.]

    I was left wondering if I’ve successfully subtly negotiated a better salary for myself.

  19. Jenn*

    I always try to negotiate. At my current job, I negotiated a $5,000 increase to my starting salary, which in the long run turned out to be very important because after three years at this job, I’ve increased my salary by another $5,000. So it would have taken me three years to finally hit my starting salary – not bad for a five second conversation.

    But now that I’m trying to move into a different field, I’m getting a lot of push back on salary negotiations. I hear a lot of ‘well, that’s what we pay everyone in that role so it would be unfair for your salary to be higher than theirs’ or (my favorite) that I have to understand because they’re in the non-profit sector, salaries will be lower than industry. Hmmm that reason might work if you’re a small non-profit, but it doesn’t sound genuine when your ‘non-profit’ is a top university that routinely pulls in $500M+ per year via philanthropy.

    Anyways, know your value and be willing to walk away.

  20. Mel*

    I was so excited to finally have an offer that I didn’t negotiate at all. The salary isn’t amazing, but it’s market rate and more than I was making before. I do wish I’d negotiated more vacation time though. I took a big hit there and I think they would hy ave given me more if I asked.

  21. alienor*

    Does anyone else worry that earning more money would make them a target for being laid off? I’ve been working for 20+ years and have been with my current employer for a while, so I’m pretty well paid, and I can easily imagine someone deciding it would be cost-effective to get rid of me. I know it’s not supposed to happen, but I’ve seen a *lot* of layoffs where the main victims just happen to be people with a lot of tenure, and probably higher salaries to go with it.

    1. ThankYouRoman*

      I’m thankful my only experience with layoffs are trimming the assistant jobs and last in are first out. But I’ve seen people forced into early retirement in the 2000s when the economy took it’s dump. So yeah, I’m always well aware that nobody is ever safe in these instances but there are so many variables to know where the axe will fall if the day comes.

    2. Gyratory Circus*

      I do. The company I work for is being bought by a larger company, for the third time in the last 15 years. So far I’ve managed to avoid being on the chopping block, unlike the vast majority of my co-workers. I’m in that sweet spot where my position isn’t one that the newer company can easily get rid of, and they can’t have anyone on their side just walk in and take it over. It’s very very tempting to lay low and try to stay out of the line of fire.

    3. TardyTardis*

      The only time I felt truly safe was when the RIFs were going around, but I realized how much I had in the ESOP and how likely it was the company wanted to write a check that size as I was going out the door.

  22. ThankYouRoman*

    After living through the great recession, I’m still too scared to tread into that territory. Thankfully I’ve moved forward into a world where I’m still getting over the shock I’m making top of the market rating for what feels like much less than I’m used to doing.

    1. ThankYouRoman*

      In totally forgot the part where during this time I knew the numbers inside and out. So I knew I was paid as much as possible. That’s a vantage point most cannot know in the for profit world.

      I’ll ask for more money if I find myself in a place who isn’t adjusting my wages and I know they’re just rolling in it.

    2. Aveline*

      Or depends. Are you a middle aged white dude in a managerial (but not executive) position? That’s a bad place to be “overpaid.” (*as the company defines it, not reality).

      However, if you are young and have something to offer the company, that’s not a bad thing.

      I hate to say it, but there is a lot of age discrimination in layoffs when it comes to salaries.

      I’ve also listened to a lot of C-suite men talk about layoffs. The worst place to be is in management but not good enough to be a director or other executive.

      If you are in a non-management/substantive role or are younger and have “promise,” you are less likely to go.

      1. ThankYouRoman*

        I’m an uneducated white woman millennial. I quasi apprenticed into becoming a staff accountant/controller and operations manager hybrid.

        And I just realized I’m responding to a nesting fail lol but this did make me feel better despite the original confusion.

  23. punkrockpm*

    Wages have remained stagnant since the 1980’s. The only way to get that bump in pay is to move on and negotiate for a higher salary. When was the last time anyone got a significant raise – and bonuses and cost of living doesn’t count!? I’ve heard this happens, but I think it’s like a unicorn.

    1. ThankYouRoman*

      I got a 10% raise my first annual review and by knowing the standards around here, seeing the records and all that, inner circle crap due to my role, I’ll get another 10% next year.

      My first real long term boss also used to come to me and say “I want you to take more on…if you are okay with that, I’ll pay you more.” and he did just that. Or when he noticed that I took things on myself, he thanked me and adjusted my wages again.

      But I’ve often been likened to a unicorn (for real), so we do exist.

      This is also why I’m pro-small business. All these adventures are micro sized. Shocking to many, I know.

    2. hermit crab*

      Once I got a nearly 30% raise after the company did a market study and raised the floor on my position’s pay band — I didn’t even have to ask for that one!

    3. MissDisplaced*

      It depends on the company, good ones do give bonuses and raises. But sometimes you may be better to do some strategic job jumping. A lot depends on the field you work in too.

    4. SL #2*

      I got a 10% raise at my nonprofit after my first year because I was promoted two levels up. My yearly raise is closer to 4% now. If I went into for-profit, I’d probably make an extra $10k-$20k, but a lot of the benefits at my (well-funded and well-led) nonprofit are worth nearly as much as that.

  24. Anon Because of the Level of Detail*

    This is such a complex calculation in the nonprofit world.

    My organization has transparent salary ranges for each classification. I’m misclassified by at least one level, so I’m underpaid by about $10,000. But even if I ever win my fight to be correctly classified, it’s not a great situation… it’s just another $10,000 I have to raise on a budget that’s always teetering on the brink of deficit. :/

  25. Ali G*

    When I accepted my most recent position, I was so ready to negotiate salary. When I talked with HR during the phone screen, she told me the salary range was $x-y, where y was about $5k less than my last job. I figured I would try to get y+$3k and see where it got me. This job is at a non-profit and my previous position was a for-profit where I was very highly compensated (increased my salary by $25k in 5 years).
    After 2 sets of interviews, the CEO call me (he is my boss) and offered me y+$2k. I took this as an acknowledgement of my previous salary (they knew it) and as a reflection of how excited they were to offer me the position, so I decided to just take it.

  26. Lauren*

    I’ve never been prouder of myself than negotiating myself to the next step of the pay scale for my new job. It meant the new job was a 10% increase from my old one and I had never in my life asked for MORE money, but I made the case that I was coming into the job with really valuable experience for them and they agreed. It was one of the most satisfying moments of my career.

  27. LCH*

    after two stellar annual reviews, i did request more. my boss said he was glad i had asked, but the people actually in charge of salary decisions declined. but then about 6 months later after deciding to extend my employment, they offered more. i don’t know if they would have done that if i hadn’t asked about it earlier. getting declined at the time may still help you later.

    1. LCH*

      the reason for the original denial is that it would remove money available to pay other people. so i dunno where it came from later!

  28. Bookwormish51*

    It’s important, as in so many things, to bear in mind company culture, whether management is largely fair, whether you are highly valued, and whether you are happy in your job overall. If the company is paying pretty well for your role and sector, a raise request may be poorly received and also not reflect well on you. Or, if you know you are highly valued, you may be better off telling your manager gently that you want to stay but may have to start looking for financial reasons. It depends whether salary negotiations are typical or not, and if not, why not. At my job, salary negotiations are very rare and poorly received. If someone had an exceptional year, it wouldn’t be too bad. Otherwise, it just isn’t done. But people get decent raises every year and larger raises if they are doing very well.

  29. ThatITPerson*

    I work for the state, specifically a State University, and we are all based on Pay Grades. And specifically within IT when you are hired there is a matrix. Only IT experience and certifications get you a raise in pay. It’s supposed to me be more fair; we all start out at the base of our pay grade scale, and your IT experience and certifications are what raise you higher. And then after that raises are a percentage of your current salary. They take all the negotiating power away. But the perks of working for the University are the things like the excellent insurance we get. But vacation is predetermined and earned at a specific rate so you can’t ask for more vacation time when hiring on.

  30. KillItWithFire*

    I found out that the person who had been brought into my group, had the same title as me, but could not do the work required, was being paid substantially more than I was.

    I got a 10% bump and higher bonus than most, he will be gone end of the year. Which they told me about long before they told him.

    Basically I was incredibly angry and ready to full out quit. That’s why I got a raise.

  31. Argh!*

    The first time I did this, I was told that to make more money I would have to look for a new job. I did, and found one that paid double what the cheapskates were paying me.

    The second time was three years ago, when I asked what I would have to do to get a bigger raise (like even $40 more). I was told that “I was lucky to get any raise at all,” and to prove that point I received no raise at all the next two years.

    Yeah, they showed me! Apparently they haven’t heard about

  32. Adlib*

    I don’t understand this at all! I’ve had several friends and coworkers say they won’t ask for more money. They act as if they’re afraid they’ll be fired over it. I always tell them the worst that could happen is they’ll get a “no”. Then they can decide whether or not they are okay with that. (That was also me 10 years ago telling much more senior coworkers this.)

    I’ve asked several times at different employers and got it. The only difference with my current job is that my previous team lead told my boss 2 years ago to give me regular raises or else I’d leave too (after he asked her how to keep me). So far, so good.

    1. Tired*

      A simple no would be fine. Silent treatment and a bunch of crap-work tasks to punish was what happened when I asked. (yes, I was nice about it)

      1. Argh!*

        When I asked at CurrentJob, the authoritaraian overlords whom I had previously mistaken for reasonable human beings ™ were evasive, obfuscating, dismissive, patronizing, and in the end, yes, punishing.

        Lesson learned: ask around before you ask for more and be sure you really need the money.

    2. ThankYouRoman*

      I’ve seen people punished and eventually pushed out of places. Some management will view you as difficult (unfairly of course) and that you’re only in it for a check (well yeah duh). It’ll be stepping on grubby toes.

      It depends on how replaceable you are.

      You sound like a good worker. If you’re viewed as marginal or in a position with a low cap on earning potential, you’ll be easily removed for someone who makes less waves.

  33. anon for this one!*

    I have in various cases negotiated or not negotiated salary, depending on circumstances. But I am in a role where I negotiate financial stuff one-on-one with people outside my organization (being deliberately vague here) and here is my most important piece of advice: the person who is uncomfortable talking about money almost always leaves money on the table. Don’t be that person. Get comfortable talking about money. Start with a trusted friend or family member or an internet community or whatever. It’s a practice, a habit, you’re not going to just be good at it the first time you try, but that’s okay.
    Money is a tool. It lets you do other things. It’s not a measure of your worth as a human being, so don’t tiptoe around it like it is. Money is very much not the only thing I look for in a workplace, but I’d rather have more of it than less of it, all else being equal.

  34. PantsExploder*

    Yesterday! And thanks to Alison for all her wisdom over the years that gave me the guts to do it.

    I’m a woman, and I just started working at a small consulting firm. I report to one of two male owners, and they just hired one other man at my level. It turns out they offered him a salary which was 50% higher than the hourly wage I negotiated (albeit I get overtime and he doesn’t).

    So I told my boss yesterday that I was happy to work part time for my currently negotiated wage, but if he wanted me to come on full time, he’d need to match what he was paying the other professional who has similar levels of experience and education to me, as there didn’t appear to be a reason for the disparity.

    He said he’d never even compared the two salaries as we were considering me at hourly and the other at salary, and that I was right, and that my wage would be made equivalent to the other professional’s immediately.

    I don’t think for a second that any sexism was at play, we had both negotiated our pay based on our previous employers. But it sure was nerve wracking to be like “pay me the same as the men.” Thanks Alison!

  35. Professional Shopper*

    I went into my bosses office (a month before we were due to get out Cost of Living raises (1-2%) and explained that I really like my job and my duties, but due to changes in my job description, an average salary for my position is 20% more than I was making. I pointed out I hadn’t advocated for myself properly when I took on the duties, and I asked if my boss could request a larger raise for me this time.

    I got a 10% raise two weeks later, and a promise to request the next 10% in December after we complete a project.

    It was terrifying, but I was only looking for a new job for $$$, so I didn’t want to leave only to find out they would’ve given me more money if I had just asked.

  36. Tired*

    I have asked for a raise the last two years and received a terse “no one is getting them”. I then get silent treatment/attitude for a week because I had offended by even asking. I get the economy was bad, but the bosses seem to think it is a privilege that they allow me to work for them. Not that I work really hard and deserve fair compensation. Economy seems to be improving and I am looking for a new job where they can respect the work I do.

    1. Tired*

      To be clear, I would understand if they can’t give a raise because of the economy. I just really didn’t like the attitude I got when I asked, and I was nice about it. I didn’t think it “entitlement” to ask for cost of living when I was working more hours with more responsibility (to compensate for not hiring a replacement when someone left).

      1. Argh!*

        I had the same experience, but with more and longer-lasting punishment. At least now I know what kind of sub-humans I work for. How hard is it to respond to a straight, respectful question with a straight, respectful answer? Apparently, shedding your ability to respect people who make less than you is one of the job duties of being in the upper tiers of a bureaucracy.

  37. Mike*

    My challenge is that I work for a public school where each position is assigned a range and then there are a number of steps and I’ve maxed out my steps. Last year they did re-range my position to a higher one and they added an additional step so this year got a bump and I’ll get one next year but after that I’ll be capped. And, I can’t pitch for more based on my job performance.

    Also, HR if you are going to say that the organization doesn’t give step increases based on prior experience make sure that the new employee isn’t married to an employee that received that very thing. Or that other employees that they know also didn’t receive step increases.

  38. MeMaw*

    I’ve been doing this for 4 years. And now I’m kicking myself. I finished my masters degree a few months ago and thought that my company would magically bump my pay. They didn’t of course, but it made me start researching only to find I’m underpaid by almost 10K. Pretty shocking, but it shook me enough to really evaluate what I’m worth at my company. That and my two closest friends recently went through job hunts and salary negotiations and were successful in asking for more. I told my boss I need 15K more to be satisfied. There was no disapproving look, laughter, disappointment. I was an employee asking for a raise. I don’t know yet if it will be approved, but we’ve had a lot of departures recently and I believe strongly that my boss will NOT want to let me go because he couldn’t meet my requirement.

    Just ask for the damn raise!

    1. Argh!*

      Congratulations for trying and not getting blown off, lied to, or given a talking-to. This is a sign that even if you don’t get a raise, you’re at least not working for jerks. I did not have that experience, sadly. I discovered the true nature of grandboss & my manager when I asked for a raise. They are *not* nice people.

  39. Folklorist*

    I’m stupidly underpaid, and just asked for a raise this year. I laid out everything I do, all of the new responsibilities I’ve taken on, all of the awards I’ve won for our company, and proof from salaries across my geography and industry that I’m stupidly underpaid. My boss loves me and really wants me to stay, but just got word that the higher-ups are not approving the raise.

    So. My first order of business this weekend is updating my resume. I’m too far advanced in my career and too good at what I do to need to be constantly working second and third jobs. It’s a shame–I really like this job and have grown here a lot! They’re going to spend a lot more money hiring and training someone new to do everything I did. Too bad they don’t care to retain good talent.

  40. whyaren'tIanon*

    I recently asked for a raise. It was the first time in my 15 year career that I’d asked. I knew I was being underpaid, so I took advice I’d learned on this site and did research on my position at my company and competitors within our field. I went to my boss with my research, and I even found a recent interview with our (female) CEO urging women in our field to ask for what we are worth. I was paid quite a bit below the average salary in my position, because all of my raises and promotions were based on my starting salary in an entry level position in the field 15 years ago. New folks coming into an entry level in my field were actually often making as much as, if not more than me. I was able to negotiate a 20% raise with the possibility of my normal (up to 5%) raise at my end of year review. My manager and her manager both told me how impressed they were with the way I entered into salary negotiation. It felt great and it reinvigorated the way I feel about my direct supervisors and the company I work for.

  41. White Walker From The Wall*

    No negotiation possible here–public university with a strong union and pay rates set by contract. Yearly raises are possible if you’re not at the top step of your pay range….but other than that, nope, sorry, not going to happen cause of contract. If I want more money, I have to try to get reclassified to the next higher position (XXX 4 instead of XXX 3), which isn’t guaranteed and we have to prove how my job has grown to match what the provincial government job classification standards say someone in the XXXX 4 range should be doing.
    I’ve never been in a job where something like negotiating salary was possible.

  42. EH*

    I asked for more money with my current gig, largely from reading AAM and encouragement from a friend. Long story short, they met me halfway between my lower number and the upper bound of their budget. The team wanted me enough that they went up the chain until they got a yes from the CFO.
    It was nerve-wracking as fuck, because I’d been on unemployment for about six months and was starting to feel desperate. I’m glad I did it, though.

  43. Pikachu*

    I’ve never asked for a raise before. This extra kick in the pants today was just what I needed. Just scheduled a meeting with my boss to review salary data next week and he plans to support me in making the case for a raise to the powers that be.


  44. Buffay the Vampire Layer*

    This is actually pertinent to me, thanks Alison! I didn’t get my annual review last year (thus no raise) because I was on medical leave. Then mysteriously it didn’t happen again this year. I’ve been letting it slide because I had been thinking I would get another job, but for various reasons that doesn’t make sense anymore, so I now have to address this with my boss. Have to just get over the awkwardness and say it’s been 2.5 years since I got a raise we need to bring me up to market. This is just what I need to psych myself up!

  45. Galahad*

    Does the fact that the owner is trying to sell the business matter to the timing?

    DH is underpaid. He works at a small company with under 25 staff, for nearly 5 years now. He received one raise when he went to full time 3 years ago, then 1-2% “Cost of living” increases each year. He likely earns 20% less than average for our market area.

    Should he wait to ask for a raise, knowing that the owner is trying to show a stronger “sale” position for the company?

    1. ThankYouRoman*

      Why is it up for sale?
      Is it older ownership wanting to retire? Or are they tired of bleeding money and wanting to cut losses?

      Now you may not know of course. But having seen this scenario often due to ownership drowning and wanting something for a skeleton…there may just not be money.

      You say “trying” so assuming it’s not in the process of being bought, he should approach it. Otherwise hopefully a new owner will come in and be appalled the staff is underpaid by 20% and fix it. Especially if they inject cash into a rebooted image and such.

      1. Galahad*

        Owner is 70 and looking to retire. It has a solid cashflow, profit, on $5 Million of sales.
        One sale fell through, after they realized larger cultural differences from their larger organization, especially around the sales teams… a second offer from another company within a few months may be likely.

  46. Llellayena*

    In 6 years at my company, I haven’t received a raise less than 5% and I never had to ask. We get informed of the increase at our yearly review. But I do have an annoyance about the research to figure out if you’re getting a good salary (or what a new job should offer). As far as I can tell, the salary calculators and research websites seem to show results for the nearest city area, which inflates the range due to city level cost of living/salary competition. How do you adjust for companies based in rural areas? I had this problem when starting here: my research suggested X, the company offered X-$15,000 and we’re in a tiny town in the middle of farmland.

    1. ThankYouRoman*

      Former rural person who jumped up 20k moving into the “expensive” city. It depends on your COL over all.

      My rent went from 600 to 1000 to put it into perspective there.

      Their cost of doing business is less but so is their overall prices to compete with the big city firms etc.

      Salary calculators are also based on farmed data that is so skewed…

  47. ragazza*

    A few years ago I put together a proposal showing why I deserved a raise. My job duties had expanded, tolls had increased (people had to drive to work), and the state tax rate doubled. I also had labor data showing that I was paid significantly under market rate for my job and skill level in my region. I actually got like a 17 percent raise, which was/is pretty unheard of at my company without a promotion. This would never happen now, as we were bought by a giant company and managers don’t have much flexibility on salaries, but I’d be being paid far less today if I hadn’t gone for it.

  48. Turnturn*

    So at my job we have a very rigid structure for raises. Basically it is based on on your score at the year end performance review. Everyone that gets x/50, for example, will recieve x% of their salary raise and bonus, no matter their level or title. This percent is decided by the board
    I’ve been here two years and always assumed this was not up for negotiation. Is it at all possible to negotiate a higher raise? The percents are always on the lower end (tho my starting salary was already slightly above the market rate).

  49. HailRobonia*

    I negotiated a raise many years ago when I was an ESL teacher. The school had a “scientific” process for raises; you were evaluated in 20 categories, with a scale of 1-10, and the final score calculated your raise. The problem was that there were so many categories that even if you got 9 out of 10 in every category, you ended up with an 80 which was a rating of “meets expectations” and resulted in an almost insignificant raise.

    We banded together to explain how wrong this was and got it changed to be somewhat more fair.

  50. Anon yet again*

    I am all for negotiating, but in my experience negotiating starting salary can also prevent pay raises later, or at least that’s used as an excuse. So in that case, time to move on to another job (it’s always been for more money).

  51. Cats Cats Cats*

    I had a pretty successful negotiation with my last job. I was interviewing internally from a salary role/bonus role, for a salary/commission role. The new job has a lower base, but the potential to make a lot more money in commissions. In doing my research, I knew the boss needed a very specific set of skills and a willingness to travel, the team was struggling, and they had been interviewing for weeks. Before the formal interview, I was clear that I refused to lose any money from my base.

    So I crushed the interview, and was offered the role at the highest base salary level (10K less than current base). I was able to speak to my skill set, listed accomplishments, and why I was the best candidate for the job – and reiterated that I refused to take any sort of financial hit. 30 minutes later – the offer was higher than where I needed it to be! I was very lucky that I was able to know the company policies, people in play, and what the specific team needed – it allowed me ace the interview and be in such a strong negotiation position .

  52. Former Retail Lifer*

    I once had a job offer pulled because I tried to negotiate. It wasn’t even for more money – I was just asking for the same money that they originally said the job paid! I also referred a friend to a job in my current company, and they pulled the job offer because she tried to negotiate both hourly pay and commission. Hourly pay may sometimes be negotiable if you’re way overqualified (which she wasn’t), but commission rates never are. That was apparently so offensive to the recruiter that he and management decided to pull the offer instead of just saying no. So no, I probably won’t ever try to negotiate again unless I know I have a TON of leverage.

  53. MissDisplaced*

    I negotiated a higher salary in lieu of PTO that was less than I currently had. Strangely, I’ve found many companies more willing to pay you more than give you more PTO. Guess they’re attempting a ‘one size fits all’ benefits package. So never be afraid to ask for more if the PTO isn’t great.
    I’ve never shied away from negotiating salary or walking if it was too low, but it took some years and experience to get that way. Girls, Don’t give up!

    1. The New Wanderer*

      I wonder about that. People usually don’t talk salary numbers but are probably less secretive about vacation days. So if you negotiated a higher starting salary, most people are unlikely to know. But if you walk in with three weeks vacation and every other new person has two weeks, it could become obvious when you don’t have the same limits in planning your days off.

      I negotiated for a higher starting salary, got a $2k bump just for asking, and that manager also arranged for me to get a really high annual raise my first year (I’m sure I don’t have to say he was the Best Manager Ever, but yeah he was). I’ve never seen a big company budge on its vacation/PTO policy though, because they’re usually set up to reward tenure at the company.

      1. MissDisplaced*

        It really did used to be that you could negotiate additional vacation time! Especially if you were coming in at a manager level. Many companies had tiers in what some employees go versus managers (same with bonus programs). So there was definitely room to try and negotiate some of this.
        But in the last 2 years or so, whenever I’ve got to salary packages, the vacation and PTO is off the table. I’ve been told by HR that everyone, no matter the level, get 10 days and that’s that. But I really wonder? I highly doubt a C-suite level would accept 10 days PTO.

  54. Afiendishthingy*

    I asked for more money and got it when I took my current job a couple months ago. We’re paid on a salary step scale based on years of experience + education, it’s kind of confusing and their offer had me starting a step lower than I should have been- I think it was a genuine accident. I would probably before have been to anxious to say anything but I’d just listened to the AAM podcast about how easy it usually is to ask for more money. I emailed them and said I got my masters in 2014 and should be starting at step M+5 and they responded “my mistake, sorry about that, I’ll send you a revised offer letter.” Not traditional negotiating but I did ask and receive!

  55. Database Developer Dude*

    I’ve had a verbal offer pulled because I wanted more than a half-second to consider it.

  56. Anononon*

    So I’ve never negotiated pay (bad AAM reader) but I do work somewhere where there’s a pay review once a year. I’ve generally been ok with the pay but recently a) I got a load more responsibility and hours and b) quite a few people have left to go to other companies that pay literally double for the same level of experience. The next review isn’t til May so I am considering asking for a raise. But wary of coming across badly.

    1. Cosette*

      It won’t come across badly if you have something to substantiate your request. When I was hired at a private company, they offered me what I was making and I countered. They seemed hesitant but ultimately gave me what I asked for. They told me they normally start low and then compensate based on performance. Well, they were true to their word and just a few years later I was making almost double what I started at… and that didn’t even count bonuses and profit sharing (I loved that company). When we moved to the “Big City” I went to work for the government. I don’t get merit increases per se, but they have been known to put me in for monetary rewards after a big project. They do what they can, and I appreciate it!

  57. Boo Hoo*

    The last raise i received i asked for. I told my boss pretty frankly that i needed more money and I need to find something else that will pay more. He said how much, I said a number, maybe 25 and meant yearly. He said “ok so how about $3000 more a month.” Of course I didn’t correct him. So that worked out well.

  58. Kitty*

    … Or that’s just not the way things work in my chronically underpaid industry, and talk like this just makes me feel worse about it.

  59. purple otter*

    I asked for a raise last year and I got it. It was a 10% raise, but considering how little money I’m making overall, the 10% was less than $5k. I’m still proud for asking and getting it, since the previous time I asked (at a different firm), I was told there was a salary freeze. That salary freeze was BS, since I was effectively losing money as our healthcare premiums went up.

  60. Ehhhh*

    I’m a state gov union employee so I get a step and COLA annually if they are in the contract. I’m well compensated, which is nice. It’s a little silly when bosses make a big stink about rating me “outstanding” on my annual review because “that means the commissioner has to sign off on it.” Ummm, so he gets more paperwork? Ok. I appreciate that they recognize my contributions and the union’s protections allow me to advocate for changes that end up being successful without fearing my job. I work my ass off cause I love my job and I have the room to do it well because I am in a union. Would it be cool to get merit raises? Sure. But I like the job security, autonomy, and colleagues who are also treated well.

    (I actually just revised my post as I was writing. I realized just how lucky I am despite a lack of merit raises and frozen COLAs).

  61. MB*

    I’ve never negotiated salary in my life. I broke into my current field about 6 years ago, and started at what I later learned was market value for my field and city. I stayed there for 4 years, earning promotions and raises on a pretty regular basis. From what I could tell, I was still being paid close to market value when I left 4 years later for non-salary reasons.

    My next job started me at the same salary I made when I left my first job (again, didn’t negotiate), but then only gave me one 1.5-percent raise over two years. I loved my boss and co-workers, but I wanted something closer to home and was a little pissy that my salary had stayed so stagnant.

    I interviewed over the summer, and when they asked me what salary I was looking for, I tried not to answer but eventually gave them what I thought was a fair number based on my research and previous job-hunting experience. Imagine my shock when they came in $15,000 OVER the high end of my range! If I had asked for that in my interview, I would have walked away thinking, “Why the hell did I say that? I completely blew this.”

    I now make way more money than I’ve ever made, and it’s a fantastic salary for my city. I’ve doubled my salary since breaking into the field. I’ve pretty much done it all wrong every step of the way, and I would never advise anybody to do what I did. I’ve gotten very lucky.

    1. The New Wanderer*

      I did negotiate salary one time, but otherwise I’m the same – very lucky that I’ve almost always been paid extremely well for doing work that I genuinely enjoy and feel like an expert doing.

      I was underpaid once, in my first job out of college. I had applied for an internship and they offered me a full time role, so I just jumped at it. Apparently the company as a whole had been having a hard time attracting/retaining talent and about 6 months into my job, they raised salaries across the board. I got a 16% raise to put me in line with the market, which was totally unexpected as I had no idea what kind of salary was typical for what I did (pre-Internet).

      The unintentional effect was that everyone else in our office talked openly about what a “waste of time” it was to have to chat with the manager 1 on 1 about this salary adjustment business (the process was that everyone met with the manager to prevent identification of the few who got adjustments). Apparently I was the only one who accepted the initial offer outright and therefore benefited from the adjustment! I loved that job and honestly spent zero time thinking about the fact that I’d been underpaid until that point, but I definitely kept the situation in mind the next time I saw an offer I thought could be improved.

  62. Rachel*

    Anyone have experience asking freelance clients for a higher rate? I’ve previously just told clients my rate was increasing, but now I’m asking for a pretty big increase from the client who makes up about 50% of my workload. I’m asking for what I make from my other clients, and less than I charge for short-term jobs… should I share that? Just ask? Or just tell them it’s happening and cross my fingers they go along with it?

  63. MsChanandlerBong*

    I am fairly certain I am underpaid for what I do, but it’s difficult to tell because I work for a small company, which means everybody wears a lot of hats. I’m not just someone who manages a team of freelance writers; I edit, I train new writers, I recruit writers, I handle some HR functions (interviews, screening, onboarding paperwork, etc.), I write technical documentation whenever we do a major system upgrade or release a new system module, I come up with ideas for improving the back-end system to make it faster or more efficient, etc.

    On top of that, I’m afraid to negotiate because I have health issues and absolutely need a job that allows me to work at home and gives me a little bit of flexibility. I have to be at work every day, but if I have a doctor’s appointment, it’s no problem to come in late or leave early and just make up the time. It’s not like I can just say, “Well, I’m going to go elsewhere” because there aren’t a lot of jobs that allow full-time telecommuting and pay what I make now (even though I do think what I make is low for what I do).

  64. Hannah*

    I asked for a promotion/raise. I got told “no.” I asked again. “No.” I asked again. “I’m working on it, but it’s doubtful.” I prepared a case, scheduled a meeting. “This is a good case for one, but it’s unlikely to happen.” I brought it up again. “I’ll take it to my boss again.” I said it was impacting my decision to stay at the job. “Ok, we’re working on something.” I applied for other jobs and let my manager know I was doing so. “Maybe in a few months.” I brought a competing offer. “OK, OK, you are promoted with a 15% raise starting today.”

    Don’t give up!

    1. TV*

      I almost got a job with a different company that would have been a lateral but the pay was $12,000 more a year. That really helped change my bosses mind about whether my pay was at market rate.

  65. Pudgy Patty*

    I think I’ve internalized the notion that unless I have gone above and beyond and am in the top 1% of people at my company, I don’t deserve more than a standard raise that the company gives across the board. I am really, REALLY bad at going to bat for myself, and generally just leave my company for a new place to get a raise. I’m in a position now where I really should advocate for myself, but I’m dragging my feet.

    The other part of this is asking for raises generally comes hand in hand with seeking a promotion, and I don’t want to be promoted. In many ways, at a manager level (at least in title), I don’t really see wanting to go higher than this. I know this limits my earning potential, but I guess – I’m okay with it?

    I wish I had more stones, for sure!

  66. TV*

    After two years of working outside my classification and one year of my boss working very hard to get my director’s attention that giving me a raise will keep me working for them, I am expecting 10% at the end of the year. I will still be underpaid given my classification but it gives me some hope that I can get another raise in the future. We had someone walk out and receive a raise as a result, so I suppose there is that strategy too…

    1. Rachel*

      Thank you for what you do, and I’m sorry that doing it means you are likely way underpaid than other professions with your same experience, education, and performance! I wish teacher salaries mirrored at all how important the job is.

  67. TechLady*

    I recently had a very positive experience with salary negotiation after changing careers. Originally I had a career in the non-profit sector. My employers fostered toxic cultures that devalued staff and made people feel disposable, so for a long time I felt like I didn’t deserve much and wasn’t very competent. I had experiences of living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to pay student loans and stressing over small purchases like coffee because of this.

    Then, after some convincing from a few close friends, I took a few online courses in a totally different field. I fell in love with the specialty, and enrolled in an online program. After the program, I got a job offer for an entry-level role in the new industry. The job offer was a 50% raise from my previous role (!!!), but it was still slightly below average market value for my new position. I sent a thoughtful email to HR explaining how cost of living and salary research led me to feel that I needed $Yk instead of $Xk. I reiterated my passion for the work, and my genuine interest in joining the team. Soon after I received a revised job offer with a higher salary that significantly closed the gap for the market value of this role.

    It really was a transformative, empowering experience, because it helped me realize I had a voice and I deserved to use it. After my previous non-profit experience, I realized that employers will exploit their employees, so I’d be better off asking for more money to account for the late nights, early mornings and weekend projects. It was totally worth it — whenever things get fast-paced, I think about that experience and it motivates and empowers me to stay on track.

    Women deserve to be paid more — we’re not donating our time. We’re educated, smart, capable professionals. Salary negotiation is an important experience I feel like every woman should have.

  68. CastIrony*

    I have a question: How do you negotiate a good salary if you have no experience in the work you’re going into?

  69. LabTech No More*

    This is timely! I just managed to get a higher salary in a … moderately contentious negotiation. I was changing my career from science to tech, so I was ready to accept anything at the bottom of my range. Only for this position, I got fed up with the progressively more ridiculous hoops I had to jump through pre-offer. First, requesting my salary expectations while playing coy about their range. Second, requesting my salary history despite it not being legal in my state. Third, and most absurdly, stating in the offer letter that the benefits won’t be discussed until acceptance of the offer. And, fourth, the HR representative treating my requesting for pushing back the start date as some huge burden, complete with snippy attitude. And, finally, giving an offer at the very bottom of my range, complete with mediocre benefits.

    Since they treated my asking for literally nothing as though it were a negotiation (pushing back the start date four days is nothing), I figured I might as well properly negotiate, asked how they came to their salary offer, including requesting their range for this position, and countered with the top of my range when they gave a vague response about the salary range. At this point I was sufficiently put off that I was ready to walk away, and I think that came through in our email correspondences and in the very contentious phone call I had with the hiring manager.

    The call was tense. The hiring manager stated they had gotten approval from the big boss to approve a raise … after a three month performance evaluation… Which they didn’t want to put in writing. Needless to say, I pointed out that I would need something more concrete than a three month review potential raise, and we eventually compromised on the midpoint of my range, citing the benefits as the reason for requesting hiring than my low point. After some back and forth, they stated they’d need approval from the big boss, and how there’s a good chance they won’t get the approval for it (though I suspect that their apprehensiveness was more negotiation theatrics than anything). They said they’d call back after hearing the answer, and sure enough, I got it!

    While I definitely wouldn’t recommend making things contentious with your new boss to be, it was the easiest 5K I made. I start in two weeks, and the boss actually said he applauded my negotiation skills. (Though, looking back, it might mean there was more money on the table, but I got the middle of my range, which is substantially higher than I was making in the sciences, so I’m happy!) And I have Alison and the AAM community to thank for it!

    Thanks for all the helpful salary negotiation articles, Alison!!

  70. Kat in VA*

    My current job was, by all standards, an odd negotiation.

    Him: How much do you want for salary?

    Me: $X a year salary.

    Him: Nope, can’t do it, and if you say one thousand less than that, I’m hanging up on you right now and not calling you back.

    Me: FINE, X-$5000

    Him: Nope, still too high. Can’t do it, although I would if I could.

    Me: FIIIINE, X-10k….and anything less than that is gonna be a f**k off from me.

    Him: Agreed! When can you start?

    Backstory – this was a temp job that ended up rehiring me permanently after the lady I was backfilling for decided to quit after returning from the maternity leave I was filling in for in the first place. (That’s a really unwieldy sentence.) I have phenomenally good rapport with my boss (he’s delighted that I “get him” because a lot of people…don’t) and while we are generally very professional at work (when others can hear us), he wasn’t my boss at the time of this negotiation. It all worked out well. I should note that the final number of X-10k was still nearly $30k than I was making temping in the exact same job, so I was over the moon (and still am). The reason for my initial high ask was because I knew we’d end up negotiating for top pay (to me) because he was very clear about wanting me to come back.

    Obviously don’t try this with a recruiter *snort*.

  71. nnn*

    Can any British readers out there comment on whether this advice is appropriate to your real-life experience? It seems like the sort of thing that could potentially differ between countries, so it’s interesting to me that the BBC had an American do this piece.

    (I’m neither British nor American so I have no insight myself.)

  72. Doctor Schmoctor*

    Nope. Where I work, they have a budget for the next year’s salaries. A certain budget is allocated to each manager, and they decide who gets what. If they give me more, it means someone else gets less. There is no negotiation. I have never worked for a company where anybody has the chance to negotiate about money.

  73. Fluff*

    Need hive mind wisdom here. I often talk with other co-workers (usually women, POC, etc.) @ salaries, negotiation and more; we build each other up and encourage each other for job searches and more. Often, when a senior person joins the group on this topic, they often say things like “I don’t need more money,” or “It’s not the money,” or “I don’t need more, just want to stay where I am at” for leadership type promotions, when we are discussing salaries that are CLEARLY far below industry standard. And yes, often those very below industry standard are for companies in our town or nearby city that those folks may work for. Most recent example, a leadership position paid at least $20K below the 25th percentile, and paid 50K below the median and average (median was the same as average in this case) for this region.

    How do you best respond to the “guilting” from co-workers, equals, etc. when we discuss salary – this is not necessarily during the actual negotiation? What are a few good lines to use in response?

  74. DogTrainer*

    I don’t ask for a raise in my current role. It’s partially because I didn’t ask for a raise in my first 1-2 years, and then my manager gave be a bigger annual bump because (his words), “You didn’t ask for a raise, and I like that. Other people asked for a raise, and I don’t like it when people do that.”

    This makes no sense to me whatsoever (why be offended when people ask for raises?), but I guess I can play that game, too.

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