Only 19 percent of employees are happy with their rate of pay, according to a 2018 survey of employees by job search giant Indeed. Luckily, a 2014 Australian study showed that 20 percent of men and 15 percent of women who ask for a raise, get one. Those that don’t ask don’t get.
While some companies simply apply a flat increment year after year, most startups do not. If you feel that you’ve been performing at a high level at work, it’s completely reasonable to revisit your pay rate once a year.
Do You Have What It Takes?
First, however, let’s take a look at what managers will likely be expecting from you. Employees that consistently finish tasks on time at a high level of quality will be in a better position to ask for a raise than those who do not. Even better, an employee that continually exceeds these basic expectations can ask for a higher increase in their rate of pay.
For example, a coder who finishes tasks on time is valuable to any company, of course. A coder who takes initiative for enhancements and product improvements, on the other hand, might be seen as even more valuable. Learning new techniques, mentoring others, solving potential customer problems, and being a team player are all solid strategies to help your case when asking for a raise.
Having a Conversation
Asking for a raise can be uncomfortable, but there are some things you can do to make it easier and more successful. Preparing a list of examples of your own high work ethic and specific things you’ve done that bring value to the company is helpful to you and your manager as you talk through your reasoning.
Remember that your current salary is what you receive for fulfilling the basic duties of your job. Raises happen when your exceptionally good work is recognized and appreciated. If you can show how you’ve raised the bar and brought additional value consistently over the past year, you’ll have a better chance to get that raise.
When preparing your list, think about what you contributed a year ago and how you’ve ended up contributing since then. Are you performing at a higher level? Is your work more efficient or of a higher quality? Do you get more done in less time? These are all good things to bring to the table when negotiating a new salary rate.
While every company might like to keep highly valued employees around by offering them more money, it isn’t always the right time. Do some research both within your own company and in your industry outside. Take a look at sites like Glassdoor that do comparisons of salaries across various industries and job titles. Pay attention to job requirements, not necessarily titles; not every company gives similar jobs the same title.
Be aware of your own company’s budget cycle. Raises may happen at a certain point each year. If so, be sure to make your request during that time window. Be aware of any crazy deadlines your team or manager might be involved in; try and find a moment when you’re not expected to be focused on an important delivery date.
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To be clear: You may not get the raise you want. There may be specific reasons due to your own performance, or there may be a business reason. Either way, you can politely ask for some constructive feedback. It’s reasonable to ask your manager to help you identify specific things you can do to make it more likely you’ll receive a raise the next time you ask.
It might also be helpful to document the “above and beyond” things you do at your company to help inform your next salary discussion. If you help make a workflow 40 percent more efficient without being asked, write that down. If, for example, you decide to take on an analysis task to find out why a specific developer breaks a code build, keep a copy of the analysis to show your contribution later.
You Still Have To Ask
While you can’t expect a raise just for showing up and doing your job, you can definitely (with a little prep and practice) negotiate a higher salary rate when you’ve been contributing at a higher level than expected, consistently and often.
Don’t be shy about documenting and sharing your contributions; your company most likely values employees that can bring extra value to their workplace and bottom line. The best way to not get a raise, of course, is to not ask in the first place.